On This Day In History: Southern Pinwheel Galaxy Catalogued – On Feb 17, 1781

On February 17, 1781, Charles Messier included the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy also known as M83 in his catalogue.

The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy is a barred spiral galaxy approximately 14.7 million light-years distant in the eastern section of the largest constellation of all, Hydra.

It’s one of the closest and the finest barred spirals in the sky.

Compared to other galaxies, Southern Pinwheel Galaxy is a relatively luminous galaxy with an integrated visual magnitude of 7.6.

M83 is visible with 7×50 or 10×50 binoculars, appearing under dark skies as a patch of light with a brighter center.

The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy was discovered by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in 1751-1752, at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

Lacaille described it as a “small nebula, shapeless.”

It is one of twelve galaxies included in Charles Messier’s Catalog of deep sky objects.

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