Messier Objects

M74: Spiral Galaxy (Pisces) RA: 01h 36.7m / DEC: +15° 47'.0
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder

M74 is one of the most challenging Messier objects. It's integrated visual magnitude is fairly bright at 9.4. However, its surface brightness is only 23.0 magnitudes per square arc second, which makes this delicate spiral galaxy a challenge under contemporary suburban skies. My sketch was made at 129X with the 10-inch. M74 shows a 7'x4' profile with a stellar nucleus. The nebulosity is very subtle with no discernible brightening near the core. You'll find M74 about 1.3 degrees east-northeast of 3.6 magnitude Eta Piscium. Pisces is not easily recognizable to many beginners. You may find Aries an easier marker to locate. The 3.9 magnitude star Gamma (5) Arietis resides 5.3 degrees northeast of M74.

M73 M75


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Revised: February 14, 2002 [WDF]