Interacting Radio Galaxy 53W003

This color-composite CCD image shows the bizarrely formed radio galaxy 53W003, a 16th-magnitude object at redshift z=0.05 in northern Hercules close to the border with Lynx. The designation means that it is the 3rd object detected in the 53rd survey with the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope in the Netherlands, in this case a survey done as part of Rogier Windhorst's dissertation work. Its apparent neighbor 53W002 is better known, having proved to be part of a rich grouping of active nuclei and star-forming objects at redshift z=2.4 (see the HST press release and my background page). This picture is a byproduct of further ground-based observations of the extended neighborhood of 53W003. There is a paper submitted for publication by Chip Arp claiming that the superposition of these two objects is no coincidence, though I don't think the distribution of further objects found in this field supports his contention.

This color composite is from B and V images (with synthetic R) taken with a Tektronix 2048x2048 CCD at the prime focus of the 4-meter Mayall telescope of Kitt Peak National Observatory. North is at the top and east to the left, for direct comparison with a chart or eyepiece view. This presentation uses a logarithmic intensity transformation to preserve information across a wide dynamic range. This image shows a region 120 arcseconds across.

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Last changes: April 19979