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M74: Face-on Spiral Galaxy in Pisces

RA = 1 hrs 36.6 min; Dec =15 deg 47 min.

Date & Site:

September 19, 2015; Mount Palomar

Conditions: very good seeing; 70 degrees; calm


Telescope: DSI RC10C (fl=1867mm at f/7.3

Mount: AP1100 GOTCP3
Camera: ST-10XME; CFW10; Hutech OAG5 with autoguider

Astrodon RGB filters


Exposures: 2.5 hrs of Lum, 70 minutes each of RGB for a total of 6 Hrs.

In 2005, NASA announced that the Chandra X-ray Observatory detected an “ultraluminuous X-ray source"  in M74, radiating in periodic intervals of around two hours.  It has an estimated mass of around 10,000 suns.  This is an indicator of an intermediate-mass black hole (source: Wikipedia)

M74 has the second lowest surface brightness of all the 110 Messier objects (the lowest is M101) making it difficult to see unless the sky is dark and clear.

Field of View = 23 x 15 arc minutes

32 million light years away

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