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NGC 6744, a Milky Way-like spiral galaxy

Tags: galaxy, spiral, AAT

This beautiful galaxy is about 25 million light years away in the direction of Pavo, a constellation of the southern hemisphere winter. It sits in a rich starfield, and is strongly inclined to our line of sight. NGC 6744 is believed to one of the most Milky Way-like of all the nearby spirals, with fluffy (flocculent) spiral arms and a large and distinctly elongated nucleus. It also has other similarities to the Milky Way that are not visible here (but seen on a deep image) with at least one distorted companion galaxy superficially similar to one of the Magellanic Clouds. The CCD chip that made this picture at the prime focus of the AAT covers about 7 arc minutes of sky. But the galaxy has a much bigger angular size than this, so a series of four overlapping exposures were made in red, green and blue light. Each 3-color set was made into a color picture and the four images merged to produce the (almost) seamless image seen here.

Made from "Tek 1" CCD RGB data obtained by Steve Lee and David Malin in September 1997
Top left is NE. Image width is about 12 arc min.

© Australian Astronomical Observatory