NGC253 The Sculptor Galaxy

I am pleased to present the recent data acquired from SkySlab on the visual spectrum for NGC 253, also called the Sculptor Galaxy,  also known as the Silver Coin or Silver Dollar Galaxy.

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This is described as an intermediate spiral galaxy and is the brightest member of the Sculptor group of galaxies, which is grouped around the south galactic pole (and therefore is sometimes named “South Polar Group”).  The Sculptor group may be the next closest group of galaxies beyond our Local Group, located about 11.4 ± 0.7 million light-years, or 3.5 ± 0.2 Million parsecs from Earth (using a weighted average method of calculating distance, 1 parsec = 3.26 light-years).  It’s about 70,000 light years across compared to the Milky Way’s 100,000 or thereabouts. Many of the fuzzy objects you can see in the picture aren’t CCD errors or dust particles, those are other galaxies in the distance. There’s quite a few and with more data I’m sure they would turn up a treat. That’s another project for another time.

NGC253 is considered a starburst galaxy, where stars form and explode at an unusually high rate and is one of the brightest galaxies beyond the Local Group.

What’s the ‘Local Group’?
This post explains what the local group is and gives you a good idea about where we are in relation to many other galaxies locally as well as further away.  For those that are happier with a rough idea, here’s a graphic that will help:

local_galaxies

You can see from the picture above that ‘Sculptor’ lies below the galactic plane on which the Milky Way sits.  By way of comparison, Andromeda lies about the same distance below us, but further away along the plane.  Sculptor is not part of the local group, current theories suggest that other galaxies near Sculptor are weakly gravitationally bound by a common center and therefore are part of a ‘filament’ of rather than a distant cluster of galaxies.  What’s a filament? Actually this video explains it better:

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