M77


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By
Catalog
Obj Type
Location
Date Taken:
Gilbert
Messier 77
Galaxy
CTIO, Chile
12-13-2007
Description

Messier 77 (M77, NGC 1068) is a conspicuous spiral galaxy situated in constellation Cetus.

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:
LRGB with 15 x 180 second L and 9 x 300 seconds for each color
Camera:
Apogee Alta U47
Telescope:
RCOS Carbon Truss 16 inch f/11.3 Ritchey-Chretien
Mount:
Software Bisque Paramount ME
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Used with permission, No reproduction of these images are permitted without written approval from Gilbert.