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Astronomical Observatory: Cool Images

Astr110 Photography Projects, Fall 2006

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M74, Leah Salazar


M74 is a face on spiral galaxy. A spiral galaxy is composed of a central bulge surrounded by a disk. It is located in the constellation Pisces.M74 is 30 plus or minus six million light years away. It is an example of a grand design spiral galaxy, contains two clear spiral arms. The spiral arms are more blue because they are newer stars being formed. The center consist of older stars which tend to be more yellow or red. The dark lanes are made of dust which are from the new stars which have been formed. The galaxy has a low suface brightness. The problem with having a low suface brightness is that it makes it more difficult for some telescopes to capture its true beauty. There are two supernovaes identified in M74, SN 2002ap, and SN 2003gd. The supernovaes are not always able to be seen.

It was discovered by Pierre Michain in late September of 1780. He then told his friend Charles Messier about his discovery. Messier included the position in his catalog on October 18, 1780. Lord Rosse listed it as one of 14 "spiral or curuilinear nebulae" discovered before 1850. M74 is the brightest member of the M74 group. The M74 group consist of five to seven galaxies that also includes the peculiar sprial galaxy and a few irregular galaxies.

"M74 spiral galaxy in Pisces." Messier object index. 16 Nov. 2006 <>.

"Messier 74." Wikipedia. 16 Nov. 2006 <>.

Right Ascension (J2000) 1:37:05
Declination (J2000) +15:49:15
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds BVRC
Date observed

October 19,2006 (BVRC)




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