M74 Galaxy / by Conor Cunningham

I finally got around to processing a set of images I took of a galaxy called M74. The M stands for Messier who was an astronomer who compiled a list of objects which he identified as 'comet impersonators'. The list is known as the Messier Catalogue and comprises 110 objects ranging from naked eye star clusters such as the Pleiades to objects only visible with largish amateur or greater telescopes.

I'll hopefully image this galaxy again and obtain a smoother set of data. It is estimated to be 32 million light years away and at magnitude 12 it requires quite a large aperture telescope. For this image I used a 17" telescope and exposed for roughtly 45 minutes.

I also mentioned the Pleiades above. This is a gorgeous naked eye star cluster visible in both the southern and northern hemispheres. Try and find it for yourself; it is visible tonight in a location near you (look north if you're in the southern hemisphere and south if you're in the northern hemisphere).

The Pleiades (M45)