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Phantom Galaxy Revealed

Phantom Galaxy Revealed
The galaxy Messier 74 ("The Phantom Galaxy") lies at a distance of over 30 million light years. In this latest image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope the enormous swirls of this stunning spiral galaxy arc across space, lit by newly formed stars.


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Posted by nova on December 18, 2009
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Comments

Posted by nova on December 18, 2009 at 10:15 am
Hubblecast 11: M74 (NGC 628) - A Grand Design In A Galactic Festoon.

The galaxy Messier 74 ("The Phantom Galaxy") lies at a distance of over 30 million light years. In this latest image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope the enormous swirls of this stunning spiral galaxy arc across space, adorned with glowing pink regions of hydrogen gas and lit by the pale blue light of millions of newly formed stars.

Messier 74 (also known as NGC 628) is a face-on spiral galaxy in the constellation Pisces. The galaxy contains two clearly-defined spiral arms and is therefore used as an archetypal example of a Grand Design Spiral Galaxy.

The galaxy's low surface brightness makes it the most difficult Messier object for amateur astronomers to observe. However, the relatively large angular size of the galaxy and the galaxy's face-on orientation make it an ideal object for professional astronomers who want to study spiral arm structure and spiral density waves.

M74 was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1780. Méchain then communicated his discovery to Charles Messier, who listed the galaxy in his catalog.

M74 is the brightest member of the M74 Group, a group of 5-7 galaxies that also includes the peculiar spiral galaxy NGC 660 and a few irregular galaxies. Although different group identification methods may consistently identify many of the same member galaxies in this group, the exact group membership is still uncertain.
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