Friday, April 03, 2009

Arp 274 is a winner!

Howdy folks. Welcome to our much neglected Arp blog. I was motivated to post this press release from the Space Telescope Science Institute celebrating the IYA with a terrific image of Arp 274. Check it out!


On April 1-2, the Hubble Space Telescope photographed the winning target in the Space
Telescope Science Institute's "You Decide" competition in celebration of the International
Year of Astronomy (IYA).

The winner is a group of galaxies called Arp 274. The striking object received 67,021 votes out of the nearly 140,000 votes cast for the six candidate targets.

Arp 274, also known as NGC 5679, is a system of three galaxies that appear to be partially overlapping in the image, although they may be at somewhat different distances. The spiral shapes of two of these galaxies appear mostly intact. The third galaxy (to the far left) is more compact, but shows evidence of star formation.

Two of the three galaxies are forming new stars at a high rate. This is evident in the bright blue knots of star formation that are strung along the arms of the galaxy on the right and along the small galaxy on the left.

The largest component is located in the middle of the three. It appears as a spiral galaxy, which may be barred. The entire system resides at about 400 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Virgo.

Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 was used to image Arp 274. Blue, visible, and infrared filters were combined with a filter that isolates hydrogen emission. The colors in this image reflect the intrinsic color of the different stellar populations that make up the galaxies. Yellowish older stars can be seen in the central bulge of each galaxy. A bright central cluster of stars pinpoint each nucleus. Younger blue stars trace the spiral arms, along with pinkish nebulae that are illuminated by new star formation. Interstellar dust is silhouetted against the starry population. A pair of foreground stars inside our own Milky Way are at far right.

The International Year of Astronomy is the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first observations with a telescope. People around the world are coming together to participate in the IYA's 100 Hours of Astronomy, April 2 to 5. This global astronomy event is geared toward encouraging as many people as possible to experience the night sky.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

For images, videos, and more information about Arp 274, visit:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Exhibit based on Arp galaxies in Oregon

Like all good blogs, this one has fallen into disrepair. Just a quick updating note to say that the Arp atlas book has been turned into an art exhibit at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, with exhibit dates January 15 to March 29, 2009. More information is at

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Arps in the UK

Greg Parker of New Forest Observatory has some nice things to say about the new Arp book here. He calls it "the most beautiful and information astronomy book I currently own - and I own quite a few!" He's also got tips for purchasing it from the UK.

Regulus review

Regulus, the newsletter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - Kingston Centre, has a thoughtful review of the new Arp book here. See page 7 for Jan Wisniewski's review.

Hubble image of Arp 87

The Hubble telescope has taken a fabulous image of Arp 87, and with a great backstory at that. Check out Zolt Levay's tale of why it took seven years for Hubble to image this galaxy pair. It was supposed to have been imaged by the ACS camera on Hubble, but that instrument failed before they could complete the task. Fortunately that freed up a bit of time for observations with the WFPC2 imager, and the Hubble Heritage team got some time for Arp 87.

And a beautiful use of time it was, too.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sky & Telescope review

"A handsome tome designed by two knowledgeable observers who know what they're doing." That's the subhead of the 'Arped and Ready' review of the new Arp galaxies book, in the September 2007 issue of Sky & Telescope.

With an intro like that, you know we've got to be happy with the article. Reviewer Ken Hewitt-White calls it 'a welcome reminder that niche-market observing guides are still possible in the Internet Age'. He singles out the 'colorfully-written history' of Arp's contributions to astronomy, then walks through the observing guide for all 338 Arp galaxies.

We're particularly happy that he notes that many Arps can be seen through smaller telescopes, even 3- and 4-inch scopes under less than optimal skies. Remember: Arps aren't just for large telescopes. There's an Arp out there for everyone!

Arp authors to speak in Socorro, NM, in October

Jeff and Dennis, authors of the new Arp atlas of peculiar galaxies, will be the keynote speakers on October 12 at the 2007 Enchanted Skies Start Party in Socorro, NM. Come to the beautiful dark southwestern skies for a fabulous time.

More details are available at

Thanks to Dave Finley for the invite!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Rob Gendler review

Astrophotographer Rob Gendler has weighed in on the new Arp atlas book with some unofficial but glowing comments, including the following:

"This book will be a major contribution to all of astronomy and will no doubt be used for decades to come. In addition to the many fine images it's packed with an impressive amount of information about Arp's 338 peculiar galaxies. It will be an incredible resource for imagers, observers and armchair astronomers."

Thanks Rob! We're glad you liked it.

Review from the Houston Astronomical Society

The April 2007 newsletter of the Houston Astronomical Society features a Q&A with local author Dennis Webb regarding the Arp galaxies. The new Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, the reviewer says, is 'informative' and 'a must-have'.

Check out the review here:

NEAF talk

Jeff and Dennis spoke very successfully this weekend at the Northeast Astronomy Forum in Suffern, NY. Thanks to Jim Burnell and the whole NEAF crowd!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Upcoming talk in New York/New Jersey, April 28

Jeff and Dennis, authors of the new book on Arp galaxies, will be speaking at the NorthEast Astronomy Forum in Suffern, NY, on April 28. We've got some more details on the event now - check out

They'll speak from 2:15 to 3:45 pm - Jeff on the 'Legacy of the Arp Galaxies' and Dennis on 'Observing the Arp Galaxies'. Come by!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dennis Webb Speaks!

Dennis will be speaking, selling, and signing copies of the Arp Atlas of Pecular Galaxies at the Fort Bend Astronomical Club February 16, 7 p.m., at the Houston Community College Southwest Campus.