NGC 7331 and the “Stephan’s Quintet”: a stunning spot in the sky

While it is certainly impossible to tell which galaxy out there would win a beauty competition, the spiral galaxy NGC 7331 and the “Stephan’s Quintet” make a unique combination, providing an excellent opportunity to capture that cosmic elegance, making the observing experience unforgettable.

NGC 7331 and the "Stephan's Quintet", with many galaxies all around

NGC 7331 and the “Stephan’s Quintet”, with many galaxies all around

The image above comes from the sigma-clipping combination of 15, 120-seconds exposures, unfiltered, remotely taken with the 16″-f/3.75 Tenagra III (“Pearl”) robotic unit part of Tenagra Observatories in Arizona.  A last-quarter Moon was high in the sky.

The telescope used offered a large field of view, making possible to include both NGC 7331 and the famous “Stephan’s Quintet”. Using our telescopes in Italy, we already imaged both the subjects (NGC 7331 and the “Stephan’s Quintet“) with a significantly higher resolution, capturing subtle details, but here we can appreciate the stunning beauty of the larger view, with plenty of galaxies everywhere on the background.

NGC 7331 is placed at about 40 millions of light years from us, while the “Stephan’s Quintet” was the first compact group of galaxies to be discovered in 1877. As for the latter, it is reason of  debate because one of the galaxies apparently involved has a redshift lower than the others, so it is closer than the about 250 millions of light years distance of the remaining group.

Curious fact: in 2013, NGC 7331 hosted a type II supernova, SN 2013bu.

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