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NGC 253, edge-on spiral galaxy in Sculptor

Date created: 1981-04-01

Tags: N/A

NGC 253 was discovered by Caroline Herschel, sister of the famous William, in 1783, and is a dusty, almost edge-on galaxy about 11 million light years distant in the southern constellation of Sculptor. The abundant dust is seen as clumpy dark clouds in the part of the galaxy that is closest to us, at upper right, while the rest of this star-rich spiral is relatively unobscured. NGC 253 lies close to the south galactic pole, so, while we see it highly inclined on the sky, however, any inhabitants of NGC 253 would gaze on the Milky Way as a spectacular face-on spiral, much as we see M83, but much closer.

Image derived from an AAT plate taken in blue light. 

Credit: David Malin

© Australian Astronomical Observatory