Second look at The Eyes

I had a few hours before moonrise, and wanted another stab at NGC 4435 & 4438.  I  thought I had good focus, and was getting about 5.5 FWHM on the focus run, but it looks like the focus drifted quite a bit during the run. NGC 4435 and 4438; 5 x 300 with 12" LX-200 at f/10 and ST-10.

NGC 4435 and 4438; 5 x 300 with 12″ LX-200 at f/10 and ST-10.

And for some reason Maxim refused to connect to the mount, so the exposures are unguided.  I got 5 sort of acceptable 300 second frames.  NGC 4438 is one abused galaxy.  It seems likely but not certain that NGC 4435 is responsible.  From ESO (http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1131/) :

“NGC 4435 could be the culprit. Some astronomers believe that the damage caused to NGC 4438 resulted from an approach between the two galaxies to within about 16 000 light-years that happened some 100 million years ago. But while the larger galaxy was damaged, the smaller one was significantly more affected by the collision. Gravitational tides from this clash are probably responsible for ripping away the contents of NGC 4438, and for reducing NGC 4435’s mass and removing most of its gas and dust.”

The dark patches on 4438 are enormous clouds of visually opaque dust.  I believe the fuzzy patch just to the right of 4438 is a small companion galaxy.