NGC 891 in Andromeda is a prime example of a spiral galaxy that from our perspective is seen exactly edge-on. The galaxy has a complex system of dark clouds or a dust band that extends across the entire length of the galaxy. This equatorial band can be seen very well in silhouette where it crosses the nucleus of the galaxy. In our own Milky Way Galaxy, clouds of dust are responsible for dark lanes that form the Great Rift between Cygnus and Sagittarius. Other edge-on galaxies such as NGC 4565 show similar dust bands.
NGC 891 shines at magnitude 10. Various estimates place the galaxy at a distance of 20 to 40 million light-years from us. The galaxy has a diameter of more than 120,000 light-years. The galaxy shines with a total luminosity of about 1.5 billion times that of the Sun. NGC 891 is a member of a small group of galaxies that includes NGC 1023 in Perseus and NGC 925 in Triangulum.
This is an RGB color composite CCD image taken at prime focus on a Takahashi FCT-150 refractor at f7 with an SBIG ST-8E CCD and CFW-8 color filter wheel. Guiding was accomplished with the built-in autoguider in the ST-8E.
RA: 02h 22m 41.9s Dec: +42d 21' 16"
August 26, 2001
Image by Sid Leach
Dark sky site near Flagstaff, Arizona
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