Messier 74, more commonly known as M74, is described as one of the most picturesque galaxies. It was first discovered in September of 1780 by Pierre Méchain, who showed his discovery to Charles Messier later. Messier in turn included the galaxy in his catalog about a month after the discovery of the galaxy. Although it is not easy to find this galaxy, the M74 galaxy can be found in the Pisces constellation, about 35 million light-years away from Earth. A galaxy is defined as an area of stars that are separated from similar areas of stars by vast regions of space.
The photo says something about the age, mass, and the temperature of the M74 galaxy. The yellow light in the center appears to show that the galaxy is filled with cooler, older and low-mass stars. Also, if you look closely enough you can see a very dim blue light surrounding the galaxy. The faint blue light suggests that the stars there are not as old as and hotter than the stars closer to the center. Within the arms of the galaxy you can see dark areas between the arms of the galaxy, which could mean that there is dust swirling around the center. The linear size of the M74 galaxy is approximately 53,000 light years.
Frommert, Hartmut, and Christine Kronberg. "Messier 74.". Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. Web. 9 Dec. 2010. <http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m074.html>
Nemiroff, Robert and Jerry Bonnell. "M74: The Perfect Spiral" Astronomy Picture of the Day. 1 Dec. 2007. Accessed 6 Dec. 2010. <http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap071201.html>
|Right Ascension (J2000)||1:37:19|
|Filters used||blue(B), green(C), red(R), and Clear (V)|
|Exposure time per filter||300 sec BCRV|
October 25, 2010