2007-11-30: Yesterday NASA and the European Space Agency released a nice picture of galaxy M74 composed from data taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2003 & 2005.x40 The galaxy is in Pisces, about 32 million light years away, and is a spiral galaxy like our Milky Way, but a bit smaller. A French astronomer, Pierre Mechain, found the galaxy in 1780. Being faint (10th magnitude) and hard to see from a backyard telescope, M74 came to be called the “Phantom Galaxy”.
_M74, The Phantom Galaxy – NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration_
Being inside of it, we can’t take a picture of the whole Milky Way. But we can make a picture of it from our inside views, including those of space telescopes.x41 Unlike M74, the Milky Way has a distinct central bar of stars.
_The Milky Way – NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC)_
APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day)