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The Spectacular Spiral Galaxy ESO 269-G57
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Name: ESO 269-G57
Description: Spiral Galaxy
Position: RA 13hr 10m 4.48s Dec -46° 26' 14.81"
Constellation: Centaurus
Distance: 150 million light years
Field of view: 6.50 x 6.00 arcminutes
Orientation: North is 0.1° right of vertical
Image Credit: ESO
Release date: July 26, 2006

1999 Image:     G9924c
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ESO 269-G57 is a spectacular spiral galaxy of symmetrical shape about 155 million light-years away in the southern constellation Centaurus and belongs to a well-known cluster of galaxies seen in this direction. It does not belong to the NGC catalogue [1], like so many of its more famous brethren. Its less well-known designation, ESO 269-G57, refers to the ESO/Uppsala Survey of the Southern Sky in the 1970's during which over 15,000 southern galaxies were found with the ESO Schmidt telescope and catalogued.

This photograph shows the complex structure of ESO 269-G57, with an inner "ring", of several tightly wound spiral arms, surrounded by two outer ones that appear to split into several branches. Many blue and diffuse objects are visible - most are star-forming regions. The galaxy type is Sa(r). The velocity is just over 3,100 km/sec, indicating a distance of about 155 million light-years. It extends over about 4 arc minutes in the sky, corresponding to nearly 200,000 light-years across. Many other faint, distant galaxies are visible in the background resembling a large fleet of spaceships. In this and the other photos, the vertical lines extending from the images of some bright stars result from a "bleeding" effect in the CCD detector where the pixels are completely saturated.

This three-color composite (BVR) was obtained with VLT ANTU and FORS1 in the morning of March 27, 1999. The full field measures 6.8 x 6.8 arcmin 2. North is up and East is to the left.The image is based on data collected in the B, V, R and H-alpha filters, for a total exposure time of a little over one hour (64 min). The data were extracted from the ESO Science Archive and further processed by Henri Boffin (ESO).

[1]: NGC stands for "New General Catalogue". Published in 1888 by J.L.E. Dreyer, this "New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars, being the Catalogue of the late Sir John F.W. Herschel" contains 7840 objects of which 3200 are galaxies