Spiral Galaxy NGC 300

A bright but fuzzy local spiral galaxy, which at +8 magniude is well within the reach of small amateur telescopes like mine.

Some say it’s a member of the Sculptor Group, others say it isn’t. I wouldn’t know but at a distance of 6.6 million light years it’s a relatively close neighbour of ours.

This was a 70 minute exposure, taken on a recent field trip.

When I watch images of galaxies like this gradually building up on the screen of my laptop, I inevitably ponder the chances of there being any intelligent life over there. Maybe they’re training their own backyard telescopes back towards the Milky Way and asking the same question.

Maybe they’re just microbes.

We haven’t found any evidence of advanced civilisations here in the Milky Way yet – after several decades of an increasingly sophisticated radio search. If we can’t find them here then we’ll never detect life in another galaxy.

However, it’s always inspiring to look, speculate and dream.

Object Details:

Designation:      NGC 300, Caldwell 70.
Constellation:    Sculptor.
Visual magnitude:  +7.9
Apparent size:         19′ x 13′
Diameter:  94,000 light years.
Distance:   6.6 million light years.
Altitude during exposure:  67° above Eastern horizon.

That’s all, except for the technical stuff.


Exposure:  73 x 58 sec =  70.5 min.
Gain:   260
Date:   2019-09-24
Location:  semi-dark rural.
Conditions:  clear.
Moon: no.


Image acquisition:  SharpCap.
Method: Live stacked.
Darks: yes.
Image post-processing:  GIMP.
Cropping:   yes
Sky:  0.29 e/pixel/sec .


Telescope: SkyWatcher Esprit  Type: 120ED triplet refractor
Focal: 840 mm F/7 Mount: SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro
Camera: ZWO ASI 071 MC Pro
Type: CMOS 28.4mm 16 Mpx
Optical aids: Flattener: Y; filter: LP Guiding: No
Polar aligning: QHYCCD PoleMaster Polar Error: 00’ 38”

Geek Log:

[ZWO ASI071MC Pro]
Debayer Preview=On
Output Format=FITS files (*.fits)
Capture Area=4944×3284
Colour Space=RAW16
Hardware Binning=Off
Turbo USB=40
Frame Rate Limit=1 every 4 seconds
Timestamp Frames=Off
White Bal (B)=50
White Bal (R)=53
Cooler Power=65
Target Temperature=-20
Auto Exp Max Gain=300
Auto Exp Max Exp M S=30000

Auto Exp Target Brightness=100
Mono Bin=Off
Anti Dew Heater=Off
Banding Threshold=35
Banding Suppression=0
Apply Flat=None
Subtract Dark=C:\Users\Roger\Desktop\SharpCap Captures\darks\ZWO ASI071MC Pro\RAW16@4944×3284\58.0s\gain_250\dark_6_frames_-19.8C_2019-09-24T10_16_49.fits
#Black Point
Display Black Point=0
#MidTone Point
Display MidTone Point=0.442857142857143
#White Point
Display White Point=1

Image © Roger Powell

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