M77


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By
Catalog
Obj Type
Location
Date Taken:
SSRO
Messier 77
Galaxy
Mayhill, NM
10-15-2006
Description

Messier 77 (M77, NGC 1068) is a conspicuous spiral galaxy situated in constellation Cetus. With its bright Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN), it is the prototype of an active galaxy, and a famous group of these objects called "Seyfert Galaxies," after their discoverer.

When Pierre Méchain discovered this object on October 29, 1780, he described it as a nebula. Charles Messier included it as No. 77 in his catalog on December 17, 1780, and misclassified it a cluster with nebulosity, perhaps because of foreground stars, or possibly mistaking some of its knots for faint stars. M77 is one of the first recognized spiral galaxies, and listed by Lord Rosse as one of 14 "spiral nebulae" discovered to 1850.

This magnificient galaxy is one of the biggest galaxies in Messier's catalog, its bright part measuring about 120,000 light years, but its faint extensions (which are well visible e.g. in the DSSM image) going perhaps out to nearly 170,000 light years. Its appearance is that of a magnificient spiral with broad structured arms, which in the inner region show a quite young stellar population, but more away from the center, are dominated by a smooth yellowish older stellar population.

Technical Details
Exposure Time:
RGB with 90 minutes per channel
Camera:
SBIG STL-11000M
Telescope:
RCOS 16 inch f/8.7 Ritchey-Chretien
Mount:
Software Bisque Paramount ME
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