Image of outer space

The first images using the robotic Faulkes Telescope South were taken by CTC students during National Astronomy Week 2014.

Students have since been attending a Physics extension class, selecting their own deep sky targets and controlling the telescope via an internet link to Australia. These sessions were performed during lunchtime sessions – when it was the middle of the night in Australia. Below is a selection of some of the students’ work.

Images are copyright of Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network. Powerful, free, image processing has been produced by Liverpool John Moores University’s Astrophysics Research Institute. Support for the use of the Faulkes Telescopes is provided by the University of South Wales.

NGC 2997

The beautiful spiral galaxy, known as NGC 2997, is very similar to our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Younger stars are in the bluish spiral arms while older stars are in the central reddish bulge.

This galaxy is 40 million light years away (200,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles!) which means that it is quite near by astronomical standards, and is moving away from us at about 900 miles per second, due to the expansion of space.

The nucleus of this galaxy contains a giant black hole, though not a very active one.

This galaxy is in the constellation of Antilia (the water pump).

The telescope operator was Yuan-Yuan Sun (Sarah) from China, who is currently studying physics at Oxford University.


NGC3201 is a globular cluster – a giant collection of hundreds of thousands of stars, all held together by gravity.

With an age of about 10,200,000,000 years, this star cluster is one of the oldest objects we are likely to see in our lives. The Earth is only about 4,600,000,000 years old.

The orange coloured stars are red giants, enormous (400,000,000 mile diameter) stars which are nearing the end of their lives. The Sun will become a red giant in about 5,000,000,000 years.

This star cluster is in the constellation of Vela (ship’s sail).

The telescope operator was Anton Vorushylo from Ukraine who is currently studying electronic engineering at Sheffield University.

NGC 2659

NGC 2659 is an open cluster of young stars.

These stars are in our Milky Way galaxy and are only 6500 light years (40,000,000,000,000,000 miles) away, almost in our backyard by astronomical standards.

Each star formed when a giant cloud of gas and dust collapsed under its own weight and heated up until the temperature was high enough to fuse hydrogen to helium.

This star cluster is in the constellation of Vela.

The telescope operator was Alan Yeung from UK/Hong Kong who obtained outstanding  A level results at CTC.

NGC 3242

Planetary nebulae NGC 3242 are dead stars consisting of a small, hot white dwarf (the old star’s core) surrounded by a beautiful shell of gas which has been blown out from the star’s outer envelope.

The gas blown out by the star will be recycled to make new stars.

This planetary nebula was discovered by William Herschel who also discovered infrared radiation and the planet Uranus.

NGC 3242 is in the constellation Hydra, the water snake.

The telescope operator was Xinghao Cheng from China, who is currently studying engineering at Oxford University.
click on any of the thumbnails below to view slideshow