M74: a face on spiral galaxy

M74 with the Ha signal enhanced in red.

See a full quality image here, doing justice to the dataset.

Messier 74 (NGC 628 or Phantom Galaxy) is a large spiral galaxy in Pisces. It is about 32 million light-years away from Earth, so relatively close, but still outside of the “local group” that extends to only about 10 million light-years. The galaxy contains two clearly defined spiral arms and is visible perpendicular to its galactic plane, making it a typical representative of the spiral galaxy class. It hosts about 100 billion stars.

The data has color and Ha frames, to experiment with Hydrogen clouds enhancement in galaxies. Acquisition was challenging (seeing, high wind messing with guiding) and I initially thought the quality I was hoping for could not be achieved. Some users, however managed to process this dataset to a very nice outcome.

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