NGC 253, the Sculptor Galaxy   HOME INDEX BACK NEXT

Spiral Galaxy in Sculptor

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Also known as the Silver Coin Galaxy or Silver Dollar Galaxy, this large and impressive galaxy can be found low in the southern sky during late autumn evenings for Northern Hemisphere observers. Although it is large, the galaxy is not especially bright, and it takes careful observation under dark skies to see its detailed structure.

Galaxies tend to cluster in groups. Our own Milky Way Galaxy is a prominent member of what is called the Local Group. The nearest group of galaxies to our Local Group is the Sculptor Group, of which NGC 253 is the brightest member.

If you look carefully at this image (or, better yet, at the larger version), you should be able to spot several small and very distant galaxies in the background. They can be distinguished from the dim stars because the galaxies are fuzzier, and some have oblong shapes.

Magnitude 7.6
Apparent Size 27.5' x 6.8'
Distance (light yrs) 9.8 million
Right Ascension 0:47.6
Declination -25 17
Field of View 35' x 27'

Image details:  Exposure times of 30 minutes each of luminance, red, green and blue, taken with an SBIG ST-8300M imager and a 12" Meade telescope at f/5.6.

December 2011