August 7, 2002
Photo No: ESO2002-18a
NGC 300 - Nearby Spiral Galaxy
Located some 7 million light-years away, the spiral galaxy NGC 300 is a beautiful representative of its class, a Milky-Way-like member of the prominent Sculptor group of galaxies in the southern constellation of that name. NGC 300 is a big object in the sky - being so close, it extends over an angle of almost 25 arcmin, only slightly less than the size of the full moon. It is also relatively bright, even a small pair of binoculars will unveil this magnificent spiral galaxy as a hazy glowing patch on a dark sky background.
The comparatively small distance of NGC 300 and its face-on orientation provide astronomers with a wonderful opportunity to study in great detail its structure as well as its various stellar populations and interstellar medium. It was exactly for this purpose that some images of NGC 300 were obtained with the Wide-Field Imager (WFI) on the MPG/ESO 2.2-m telescope at the La Silla Observatory.
Credit: European Southern Observatory (ESO)