NGC 253 - The Sculptor Galaxy
Optics: RC Optical System 20" F/8.2 (4165.6 mm Focal Length) Date: November, 2020
Camera: SBIG STXL-11000 with AO-X Adaptive Optics Location: Columbus, Texas
Exposure: LRGB = 210:90:80:100 minutes Imager: Kent E. Biggs
The Sculptor Galaxy (or NGC 253) is the largest galaxy located in the direction of the constellation Scuptor, a southern sky constellation depicting a studio in which one scupts. Caroline Hershel, sister of William Hershel and aunt of John Hershel, discovered the galaxy in 1783 during her search for comets. We designate it a starburst galaxy due to its intense star formation. It is at the center of the Sculptor Group of galaxies which is one of the nearest groups to our own Milky Way galaxy. Other galaxies such as NGC 247, PGC 2881, and PGC 2933 are gravitationally bound to NGC 253, but are not visible in this image. However, two more distant galaxies are visible but are not associated with NGC 253; they mey be identified by moving the mouse over the image. The Sculptor galaxy is a treasure trove of many objects being studied by large telescopes including "super star clusters" as massive as 1-2 million solar mass, and massive red giant stars. A dwarf galaxy rich in gas likely collided with the Scuptor several hundred million years ago, disturbing its galactic disk and causing excessive star formation. Although research suggests a supermassive black hole, similar to our own, at the center of the Sculptor Galaxy, there is no central bulge or nucleus clearly visible. Spiral arms are visible but seem less organized that many other galaxies. The Scultpor Galaxy is likely between 10 and 13 million light years away from us. The stats for NGC 253 are as follows: RA 00h 47m 33s Dec -25° 17' 20", Mag 8.0, Size: 27.7'x6.7', Class: SAB(s)c, P.A.: 52.