NGC 7331 and the Stephan’s Quintet: a deep, wide field image

The wonderful spiral galaxy NGC 7331 is likely an iconic object of its class. It lies in one of the most spectacular regions of the sky, including the stunning Stephan’s Quintet. Here it is our image of these gems.

NGC 7331, a few background galaxies and the Stephan's Quintet.

NGC 7331, a few background galaxies and the Stephan’s Quintet.

The image above comes from the average of 34, 120-second exposures, unfiltered, remotely taken on ( Oct. 2023 with the ARTEC250+Paramount ME+C3Pro61000EC robotic unit available as part of the Virtual Telescope Project facility in Manciano, Italy. The image was carefully processed by the DeepLab team to show all the finest details and structures visible in the original data. The field is about 1.8 degrees along the diagonal.

NGC 7331 stands out close to the center, showing its spiral structure, almost edge-on. We estimate its distance from us to be around 40 million light years. Just above it, we see galaxies NGC 7335, 7336, 7337 and 7340, nicknamed “fleas”, which distance is estimated around 300 million lights years, so their proximity to NGC 7331 is only matter of perspective.

On the left side of the image, the celebrated Stephan’s Quintet is very prominent, with four of those galaxies (NGC 7317, NGC 7318A, NGC 7318B, NGC 7319) making a real group about 300 million light years far, while NGC 7320 is much closer, at about 38 million light years. (perhaps a member of the NGC 7331 group).

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