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NGC 6744, the Pavo Galaxy - a twin of our Milky Way

Object description:

NGC 6744 is a difficult object to observe due to its low surface brightness (our picture is exposed for 6 hours). It forms the center of the so-called Pavo group of galaxies, which stretches over a length of 7 degrees through the constellation Pavo (Peacock). This group includes the brighter galaxies NGC 6684, 6684A, IC 4710, IC 4824 and ESO 141-42. All are located between 25 and 35 million light years from the solar system.

NGC 6744 is classified as a Hubble-type barred spiral SBbc. The apparent size is 20 x 13 arcminutes. The galaxy has a distinct spiral structure, and there is a faint bar at its center. This consists mainly of old stars, which glow yellowish. The spiral arms show some reddish H-II and many bluish regions, indicating intense star formation.

NGC 6744 is one of the largest spiral galaxies in our wider cosmic neighborhood and is very similar in shape to our Milky Way, only at 200,000 light-years nearly twice as large as our home galaxy. Its distance from the solar system is about 33 million light-years. NGC 6744 has an irregular companion galaxy named NGC 6744 A, which is a reminder of the satellite galaxy of our Milky Way - the Large Magellanic Cloud. NGC 6744 was discovered by the Scottish astronomer James Dunlop on June 30, 1826.

NGC 6744 was discovered by the Scottish astronomer James Dunlop on June 30, 1826.

An image of NGC 6744 from the Hubble Space Telescope can be found here and more information about an image from ESO here.

« Click here or the thumbnail to load a large annoted image and a size comparison to the full moon.

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