Spiral Galaxy M83                                                 

Fred Calvert / Cold Spring Observatory


Messier 83 is one of the most conspicuous spiral galaxies in the sky. Situated in the constellation Hydra, it is the southernmost galaxy in Messier's catalog and located approximately 15 million light years from Earth. Shining with the light of billions of stars and the ruby red glow of hydrogen gas, it is a beautiful example of a barred spiral galaxy

M83 stretches over 40 000 light-years across, making it roughly 2.5 times smaller than our own Milky Way. However, in some respects, Messier 83 is quite similar to our own galaxy. Both the Milky Way and Messier 83 possess a bar across their galactic nucleus, the dense spherical conglomeration of stars seen at the centre of the galaxies.

 M83 was discovered by Nicholas Louis de Lacaille at the Cape of Good Hope on February 23, 1752. It became the first galaxy to be discovered beyond the Local Group, and the third of all galaixes, after M31 and M32. Six Supernovae (SN 1923A, SN 1945B, SN 1950B, SN 1957D, SN 1968L and SN 1983N) have been observed in M83.

 It was cataloged by Charles Messier on February 17, 1781.

 The data for this image was obtained remotely from the Cold Spring Observatory Control Room using a 14.5 inch RC Optics telescope and Apogee Instrument, Alta U16M CCD camera located in Pingelly, Australia.

Use of this remote telescope is available at http://www.lightbuckets.com

 Total exposure time for this image was 3.9 hours.