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Wildrik Botjes Planetarium
Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr110 Photography Projects, Fall 2004

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M77, Karis Medina


M77 is a galaxy located approximately 60 million light years away in the constellation Cetus. It is one of the largest of the largest galaxies in Messier's catalog. On October 29, 1780 Pierre Mechain discovered this object but described it as a nebula, it was later classified as a cluster with nebulosity. In Lord Rosse, an Irish astronomer and telescope maker, listed M77 as one of 14 "spiral nebulae" in 1850. M77 appears as a giant spiral with broad structured arms reaching out to nearly 170,000 light years.

In this photo of M77, we see the spiral galaxy surrounded by many nearby bright stars. The center of this galaxy has a high mass of 27 billion solar masses and the whole galaxy measures 1 trillion solar masses. The giant gas clouds that surround the center of the galaxy are spinning at a rate of several hundred km/sec.


Right Ascension (J2000) 02 : 42.7 (h:m)
Declination (J2000) -00 : 01 (deg:m)
Filters used clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 300seconds in C

November 4th,, 3:27 UT (C)