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.
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