Messier’s 106 Neighborhood (HaRGB)

Messier 106 is about the same size absolute terms as Messier 31 but at 11 to 12 times farther away it is considerably smaller in the sky. But, even at 22 to 25 million light years away it is close enough for us to see considerable detail in it. Dust lanes and nebulae are clearly visible. And, lots of other galaxies photobombed the picture.

In this image, every marker denotes the location of a galaxy. I don’t have distances to these galaxies but some of them could be as far as a billion light years though it is likely most are in the 100 million light year range. But those faintest, most point like sources, could be very far away.

M106 itself is a spiral galaxy, apparently an intermediate form that isn’t quite a pure spiral and doesn’t quite have a bar but whatever its actual morphology, it is a splendid looking galaxy! It’s also a type II Seyfert galaxy so it has an active galactic nucleus though any jets from that are not visible at optical wavelengths (but are at radio).

I find galaxies humbling on many levels. They are huge and beautiful. They are also hard to process because they have very high dynamic range. It took a bunch of tries to get a version I was happy with.

For all the technical details see astrobin.

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