Galaxy Messier 74

Messier 74
Messier 74: Galaxy in Pisces; 500 mm Cassegrain 5800 mm f/11.4; SBIG STL11K; 100+40+40+40 min LRGB; Bernese Highlands; © 2005 Radek Chromik


M 74 was discovered by Pierre Méchain at the end of September and confirmed by Charles Messier on October 18, 1780, who noted: «Nebula without a star, next to the star η in the band of fish, seen by M. Méchain at the end of September 1780 and who wrote: This nebula does not contain any stars, it is quite large, very dark, extremely difficult to observe, we will be able to determine it more precisely on the beautiful winter nights.» [281]

In his «General Catalogue» published in 1864, John Herschel classified M 74 as a globular cluster. This mistake was copied in Dreyer's «New General Catalogue» published in 1888. Lord Rosse was probably the first to discover the spiral shape in 1848. [4]

Physical Properties

The galaxy M 74 is of the morphological type SA (s) c and we see it directly from above. It is similar to M 101, but has a more symmetrical shape. The heliocentric velocities measured over the last 20 years are 657 km/s and distances from 7 Mpc to 11 Mpc. [145]

«Catalogue of Principal Galaxies (PGC)», Paturel et al. 1989 [144]
DesignationsPGC 5974: NGC 628, UGC 1149, MCG 3-5-11, M 74, CGCG 460-14
Right Ascension (J2000.0)01h 36m 42.0s
Declination (J2000.0)+15° 47' 12"
Morphological TypeS
Dimensions10.0' x 9.4'
Visual Magnitude9.8 mag
Radial Velocity (HRV)656 km/s
Position Angle25°

Finder Chart

M 74 is located in the constellation Pisces, about 1° 20' east of the star Kullat Nuni (η Piscium). The best observation time is August to December.

Chart M 74
Chart created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. [149, 160]


4«Burnham's Celestial Handbook: An Observer's Guide to the Universe Beyond the Solar System» by Robert Burnham; Dover Publications, Inc.; Voume I: ISBN 0-486-23567-X; Volume II: ISBN 0-486-23568-8; Volume III: ISBN 0-486-23673-0
144Catalogue of Principal Galaxies (PGC); Paturel G., Fouque P., Bottinelli L., Gouguenheim L.; Astron. Astrophys. Suppl. Ser. 80, 299 (1989); (2021-02-18)
145SIMBAD astronomical database;
149SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum;
160The STScI Digitized Sky Survey;
281«Catalogue Nébuleuses et des Amas D'Étoiles» Observées à Paris, par M. Messier, à l'Observatoire de la Marine, hôtel de Clugni, rue des Mathurins. «Connoissance des temps ou connoissance des mouvements célestes, pour l'année bissextile 1784 » Page 227; (2021-02-21)