A Grand Design Galaxy

NGC 7424This galaxy is the beautiful multi-armed NGC 7424, seen almost directly face-on. It’s around 40 million light-years in the southern sky constellation Grus (the Crane). It’s an example of a “grand design” galaxy, intermediate in form between normal spirals and strongly barred galaxies; it has rather open arms with a small central region. Ten young massive star clusters whose size span the range from 1 to 200 light-years have been identified. NGC 7424 is approximately 100,000 light-years across, about the size of our own Milky Way galaxy.

Because of its low surface brightness, this galaxy demands dark skies and a clear night to be observed in detail. When viewed in a small telescope, it appears as a large elliptical haze with no trace of the many beautiful filamentary arms with a multitude of branches revealed in this image taken by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope.

Image Credit: ESO

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