Messier 74

Messier 74 (also known as NGC 628 and Phantom Galaxy) is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Pisces. It is at a distance of about 32 million light-years away from Earth.[5] The galaxy contains two clearly defined spiral arms and is therefore used as an archetypal example of a grand design spiral galaxy.[6] The galaxy's low surface brightness makes it the most difficult Messier object for amateur astronomers to observe.[7][8] However, the relatively large angular size of the galaxy and the galaxy's face-on orientation make it an ideal object for professional astronomers who want to study spiral arm structure and spiral density waves. It is estimated that M74 is home to about 100 billion stars.[5]

Messier 74
PESSTO Snaps Supernova in Messier 74
The spiral galaxy, M74 (in the left bottom corner the supernova 2013ej)
Observation data (J2000 epoch)
Right ascension 01h 36m 41.8s[2]
Declination+15° 47′ 01″[2]
Redshift657 km/s[2]
Distance30 ± 6 Mly[3]
Apparent magnitude (V)10.0[2]
Number of stars100 billion (1×1011)
Size95,000 ly (diameter)[4]
Apparent size (V)10′.5 × 9′.5[2]
Other designations
NGC 628, UGC 1149, PGC 5974[2]

Observation history

M74 was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1780. Méchain then communicated his discovery to Charles Messier, who listed the galaxy in his catalog.[8]


Three supernovae have been identified in M74:[2] SN 2002ap,[9] SN 2003gd,[10] and SN 2013ej.

SN 2002ap has attracted considerable attention because it is one of the few Type Ic supernovae (or hypernovae) observed within 10 Mpc in recent years.[11][12][13] This supernovae has been used to test theories on the origins of similar Type Ic supernovae at higher distances[12] and theories on the connection between supernovae and gamma ray bursts.[13]

SN 2003gd is a Type II-P supernova.[14] Type II supernovae have known luminosities, so they can be used to accurately measure distances. The distance measured to M74 using SN 2003gd is 9.6 ± 2.8 Mpc, or 31 ± 9 million ly.[3] For comparison, distances measured using the brightest supergiants are 7.7 ± 1.7 Mpc and 9.6 ± 2.2 Mpc.[3] Ben E. K. Sugerman found a "light echo" – a reflection of supernova explosion that appeared after the explosion itself – associated with SN 2003gd.[15] This is one of the few supernovae in which such a reflection has been found. This reflection appears to be from dust in a sheet-like cloud that lies in front of the supernova, and it can be used to determine the composition of the interstellar dust.[15][16]

Galaxy group

M74 is the brightest member of the M74 Group, a group of 5–7 galaxies that also includes the peculiar spiral galaxy NGC 660 and a few irregular galaxies.[17][18][19] Although different group identification methods may consistently identify many of the same member galaxies in this group,[19] the exact group membership is still uncertain.

Star formation

M74 3.6 5.8 8.0 microns spitzer
M74 as observed with the Spitzer Space Telescope as part of the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxy Survey. The blue colors represent the 3.6 micrometre emission from stars. The green and red colors represent the 5.8 and 8.0 micrometre emission from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and possibly dust.

Suspected black hole

On March 22, 2005, it was announced [20] that the Chandra X-ray Observatory had observed an ultraluminous X-ray source (ULX) in M74, radiating more X-ray power than a neutron star 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. This would be a rather uncommon class of black holes, somewhere in between in size of stellar black holes and the massive black holes theorized to reside in the center of many galaxies. Because of this, they are believed to form not from single supernovae, but possibly from a number of lesser stellar black holes in a star cluster. The X-ray source is identified as CXOU J013651.1+154547.

Amateur astronomy observation

Messier 74 is located 1.5° east-northeast of Eta Piscium.[7][8] This galaxy has the second lowest surface brightness of all the Messier objects. (M101 has the lowest.) It may be very difficult to see unless the sky is dark and clear,[8] and it may be difficult to see in locations affected by light pollution.[7] This galaxy may be best viewed under low magnification; when highly magnified, the diffuse emission becomes more extended and appears too faint to be seen by many people.[8] Additionally, M74 may be more easily seen when using averted vision when the eyes are fully dark adapted.[7][8]

See also


  1. ^ R. W. Sinnott, ed. (1988). The Complete New General Catalogue and Index Catalogue of Nebulae and Star Clusters by J. L. E. Dreyer. Sky Publishing Corporation / Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-933346-51-2.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database". Results for NGC 628. Retrieved 2006-08-12.
  3. ^ a b c M. A. Hendry; S. J. Smartt; J. R. Maund; A. Pastorello; L. Zampieri; S. Benetti; et al. (2005). "A study of the Type II-P supernova 2003gd in M74". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 359 (3): 906–926. arXiv:astro-ph/0501341. Bibcode:2005MNRAS.359..906H. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2005.08928.x.
  4. ^ "Messier Object 74".
  5. ^ a b Nemiroff, R.; Bonnell, J., eds. (2011-04-06). "M74: The Perfect Spiral". Astronomy Picture of the Day. NASA. Retrieved 2011-04-07.
  6. ^ A. Sandage; J. Bedke (1994). Carnegie Atlas of Galaxies. Carnegie Institution of Washington. ISBN 978-0-87279-667-6.
  7. ^ a b c d S. J. O'Meara (1998). The Messier Objects. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-55332-2.
  8. ^ a b c d e f K. G. Jones (1991). Messier's Nebulae and Star Clusters (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-37079-0.
  9. ^ Nakano, S.; Hirose, Y.; Kushida, R.; Kushida, Y.; Li, W. (2002). "Supernova 2002ap in M74". IAU Circular. 7810: 1. Bibcode:2002IAUC.7810....1N.
  10. ^ R. Evans; R. H. McNaught (2003). "Supernova 2003gd in M74". IAU Circular. 8150: 2. Bibcode:2003IAUC.8150....2E.
  11. ^ P. A. Mazzali; J. Deng; K. Maeda; K. Nomoto; H. Umeda; K. hatano; et al. (2002). "The Type Ic Hypernova SN 2002ap". Astrophysical Journal. 572 (1): L61–L65. Bibcode:2002ApJ...572L..61M. doi:10.1086/341504.
  12. ^ a b S. J. Smartt; P. M. Vreeswijk; E. Ramirez-Ruiz; G. F. Gilmore; W. P. S. Meikle; A. M. N. Ferguson; et al. (2002). "On the Progenitor of the Type Ic Supernova 2002ap". Astrophysical Journal. 572 (2): L147–L151. arXiv:astro-ph/0205241. Bibcode:2002ApJ...572L.147S. doi:10.1086/341747.
  13. ^ a b A. Gal-Yam; E. O. Ofek; O. Shemmer (2002). "Supernova 2002ap: The first month". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters. 332 (4): L73–L77. arXiv:astro-ph/0204008. Bibcode:2002MNRAS.332L..73G. doi:10.1046/j.1365-8711.2002.05535.x.
  14. ^ S. D. Van Dyk; W. Li; A. V. Filippenko (2003). "On the Progenitor of the Type II-Plateau Supernova 2003gd in M74". Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 115 (813): 1289–1295. arXiv:astro-ph/0307226. Bibcode:2003PASP..115.1289V. doi:10.1086/378308.
  15. ^ a b B. E. K. Sugerman (2005). "Discovery of a Light Echo from SN 2003gd". Astrophysical Journal Letters. 632 (1): L17–L20. arXiv:astro-ph/0509009. Bibcode:2005ApJ...632L..17S. doi:10.1086/497578.
  16. ^ S. D. Van Dyk; W. Li; A. V. Filippenko (2006). "The Light Echo around Supernova 2003gd in Messier 74". Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 118 (841): 351–357. arXiv:astro-ph/0508684. Bibcode:2006PASP..118..351V. doi:10.1086/500225.
  17. ^ R. B. Tully (1988). Nearby Galaxies Catalog. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-35299-4.
  18. ^ A. Garcia (1993). "General study of group membership. II – Determination of nearby groups". Astronomy and Astrophysics Supplement. 100: 47–90. Bibcode:1993A&AS..100...47G.
  19. ^ a b G. Giuricin; C. Marinoni; L. Ceriani; A. Pisani (2000). "Nearby Optical Galaxies: Selection of the Sample and Identification of Groups". Astrophysical Journal. 543 (1): 178–194. arXiv:astro-ph/0001140. Bibcode:2000ApJ...543..178G. doi:10.1086/317070.
  20. ^ Chandra :: Photo Album :: M74 :: 22 Mar 05

External links

Coordinates: Sky map 01h 36m 41.8s, +15° 47′ 01″

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Angela Speck

Angela Karen Speck is a Professor of Physics and the Director of Astronomy at the University of Missouri. She works on infrared astronomy and the study of space dust. She is a popular science communicator, and was Co-Chair of the National Total Solar Eclipse Task Force.

List of NGC objects (1–1000)

This is a list of NGC objects 1–1000 from the New General Catalogue (NGC). The astronomical catalogue is composed mainly of star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies. Other objects in the catalogue can be found in the other subpages of the list of NGC objects.

The constellation information in these tables is from The Complete New General Catalogue and Index Catalogue of Nebulae and Star Clusters by J. L. E. Dreyer, which was accessed using the VizieR Service. Galaxy morphological types and objects that are members of the Small Magellanic Cloud are identified using the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database. The other data of these tables are from the SIMBAD Astronomical Database unless otherwise stated.


M74 or M-74 may refer to:

M74 mortar

M74 motorway, a motorway in Scotland

Messier 74, a spiral galaxy in the constellation Pisces

M74 rocket, an incendiary rocket for a shoulder-fired M202A1 FLASH launcher

M74 Armored Recovery Vehicle, a variant of the M4 Sherman tank

M-74 (Michigan highway), a former state highway in Michigan

M74 syndrome, a disease prevalent in Baltic salmon

M74 Group

The M74 Group (also known as the NGC 628 Group) is a small group of galaxies in the constellation Pisces. The face-on spiral galaxy M74 (NGC 628) is the brightest galaxy within the group. Other members include the peculiar spiral galaxy NGC 660 and several smaller irregular galaxies


The M74 Group is one of many galaxy groups that lie within the Virgo Supercluster.

Messier object

The Messier objects are a set of 110 astronomical objects cataloged by the French astronomer Charles Messier in his Catalogue des Nébuleuses et des Amas d'Étoiles ("Catalogue of Nebulae and Star Clusters").

Because Messier was interested in finding only comets, he created a list of non-comet objects that frustrated his hunt for them. The compilation of this list, in collaboration with his assistant Pierre Méchain, is known as the Messier catalogue. This catalogue of objects is one of the most famous lists of astronomical objects, and many Messier objects are still referenced by their Messier number.

The catalogue includes some astronomical objects that can be observed from Earth's Northern Hemisphere such as deep-sky objects, a characteristic which makes the Messier objects extremely popular targets for amateur astronomers.A preliminary version first appeared in the Memoirs of the French Academy of Sciences in 1771,

and the last item was added in 1966 by Kenneth Glyn Jones, based on Messier's observations.

The first version of Messier's catalogue contained 45 objects and was published in 1774 in the journal of the French Academy of Sciences in Paris. In addition to his own discoveries, this version included objects previously observed by other astronomers, with only 17 of the 45 objects being Messier's.

By 1780 the catalogue had increased to 80 objects. The final version of the catalogue containing 103 objects was published in 1781 in the Connaissance des Temps for the year 1784.

However, due to what was thought for a long time to be the incorrect addition of Messier 102, the total number remained 102. Other astronomers, using side notes in Messier's texts, eventually filled out the list up to 110 objects.The catalogue consists of a diverse range of astronomical objects, ranging from star clusters and nebulae to galaxies. For example, Messier 1 is a supernova remnant, known as the Crab Nebula, and the great spiral Andromeda Galaxy is M31. Many further inclusions followed in the next century when the first addition came from Nicolas Camille Flammarion in 1921, who added Messier 104 after finding Messier's side note in his 1781 edition exemplar of the catalogue. M105 to M107 were added by Helen Sawyer Hogg in 1947, M108 and M109 by Owen Gingerich in 1960, and M110 by Kenneth Glyn Jones in 1967.

Pinwheel Galaxy

The Pinwheel Galaxy (also known as Messier 101, M101 or NGC 5457) is a face-on spiral galaxy distanced 21 million light-years (six megaparsecs) away from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major. Discovered by Pierre Méchain on March 27, 1781, it was communicated to Charles Messier who verified its position for inclusion in the Messier Catalogue as one of its final entries.

On February 28, 2006, NASA and the European Space Agency released a very detailed image of the Pinwheel Galaxy, which was the largest and most detailed image of a galaxy by Hubble Space Telescope at the time. The image was composed of 51 individual exposures, plus some extra ground-based photos.

On August 24, 2011, a Type Ia supernova, SN 2011fe, was discovered in M101.

SN 2003gd

SN 2003gd was a type II-P supernova occurring in the spiral galaxy Messier 74 in the constellation

Pisces. SN 2003gd was discovered on 12 June 2003 by Robert Evans, using a 0.31m reflector,

and its discovery was confirmed on 13 June 2003 by R. H. McNaught using the 1.0m telescope at the

Siding Spring Observatory.

SN 2013ej

SN 2013ej is a Type II-P supernova in the nearby spiral galaxy Messier 74 (NGC 628). It was discovered by the Lick Observatory Supernova Search on July 25, 2013, with the 0.76 m Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope, with pre-discovery images having been taken the day before.

See also

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