Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

Previous image Up to Astr111 Index Next image ASTR 110 Photography Projects, Fall 2016

NGC 134 & NGC 3031 & NGC 5907
Marissa Hielkema & Jake DeDoes & Conner Veenstra

NGC 134 NGC 5907
NGC 134- Marissa Hielkema NGC 5907- Connor Veenstra

NGC 3031  
NGC 3031- Jake DeDoes  

Imagine you’re peering through a telescope, staring at a milky stream of stars. You see the stream spiral towards a bright middle point that is a pale sort of yellow. The object you are gazing at is a spiral galaxy. Let’s break down what you see a bit more: spiral galaxies often have a central bulge surrounded by a flat, rotating disk filled with stars. A fun fact about this bulge: it is thought to contain a supermassive black hole, though this hasn’t been proven.

The arms that you see are made up of young stars and a lot of dust, which explains the milky appearance. This large amount of dust and gas in the spiral galaxy allows for new stars to be formed. The galaxies themselves were formed, scientists believe, as a result of density waves traveling through the outer disk. These waves are caused by collisions between two galaxies.

The resulting spiral galaxy can be anywhere from a billion to a trillion times as massive as the sun. As these monstrous galaxies burn through their dust and gas, the amount of stars created slows down significantly.

NGC 134 is a spiral galaxy located in the Sculptor constelation. Our unique angle from Earth gives us an interesting, tilted view of this particular stellar object. It has large "arms" of gas, planets, stars and other interstellar objects stretching and wrapping around the the bright core.

Another name for NGC 134 is the Giant Squid Galaxy. This spiral galaxy is barred and is approximately 60 million light years away from us. Something to look for in this galaxy: it has a warped disk so when you look at it sideways, the galaxy does not seem to be flat. The makeup of the galaxy consists of ionized hydrogen which makes it appear red. This galaxy was discovered by Sir John Hershel in the 1800’s.

NGC 3031 is a spiral galaxy that is located 11.74 million light years away from earth and has a linear diameter of 90,000 light years. It is largest galaxy of group called M81 which contains 34 other galaxies and is a part of the Ursa Major constellation. It was discovered by Johann Elbert Bode on December 31, 1774 and has adopted the name of "Bode's Galaxy." This galaxy has also gained a lot of popularity from young astronomers because it can be seen from earth with just basic binoculars.

NGC 3031 is made up of over 250 billion stars and its nucleus contains a super massive black hole that is calculated to have a mass of 70 million solar masses. The galaxy contains two distinctive arms that are composed of interstellar dust. Due to the size of NGC 3031 it has stripped the hydrogen gas from the two closet galaxies of NGC 3077 and Cigar Galaxy. NGC 3031 experienced a super nova in 1993 and was recorded as the second brightest supernova of the 20th century.

Bode's Galaxy has arms that actually wind all the way back to the center and are made of hot, blue stars that seem to only recently been formed. It was discovered in 1774 by Johann Elbert Bode. Bode's is the largest in a set of 34 galaxies known as the M81 Group, located in the Ursa Major constellation.

NGC 5907 is an example of a galaxy in relative isolation, meaning there are no other galaxies in its relative vencinity. It was discovered in 1788 by William Herschel, an astronomer known for discovering infrared radiation in sunlight.

The first comparison between these three is obvious: they're all spiral galaxies. All of them have light emitting from their cores, which is provided by older orange and red stars.

Though the first two are structurally similar, the third differs by being the only one with retracting arms, which, as stated before, lead back into the core. They also have varying colors, with the first being almost blank white, the second being plainly blue and the third being a very pronounced orange. These different colors come from many reasons like using different filters in the taking of the pictures, to the age of galaxies and material that the galaxy is made up of.


Admire, . (2015, August 8). Messier 81: Bode's Galaxy . In Messier Objects. Retrieved November 30, 2016, from

Astronomy Picture of the Day. NASA, 4 Mar. 2016. Web. 15 Nov. 2016. <>.

"Fossils of the Hierarchical Formation of the Nearby Spiral Galaxy NGC 5907." N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016. <>.

Jacobsen, Dean. "Messier 81 (NGC 3031) - Bode's Nebula." N.p., 2010. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

"Picture Album: Hubble Photographs Grand Design Spiral Galaxy M81." HubbleSite. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016. <>.

"Spiral Galaxy Facts & Definiton.", edited by Nola T. Redd,, 15 Aug. 2013. Accessed 28 Nov. 2016.

Wikipedia contributors. "NGC 134." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 3 Nov. 2016. Web. 3 Nov. 2016.





Object NGC 134 NGC 3031 NGC 5907
Right Ascension (J2000) 00:30:21 09:55:33.50 15:15:53
Declination (J2000) -33:14:41.99 69:04:01.996 56:19:49
Filters used B (Blue), C (Clear), R (Red), V (Green) B (Blue), C (Clear), R (Red), V (Green) B (Blue), C (Clear), R (Red), V (Green)
Exposure time per filter B, V (420s); C (150s); R (210s) C, R (100s x 2); V (200 x 2); B (300s x 2) C, V, R (80s x 3); B (160 x 3)
Image dimension 821x519 pixels; 17.79x11.25 arcminutes 1092x736 pixels; 23.66x15.95 arcminutes 635x557 pixels; 19.5x21.2 arcminutes
Date/time observed October 4, 2016, 8:13 UT October 7, 2016, 2:25 UT October 17, 2016, 9:02 UT


Secondary content.


Side content.