Galaxy NGC 7331 in Pegasus
September 2023 - Picture of the Month
I chose this galaxy not only because it's a wonderful imaging target, but also it's of my favourites for visual observation, and one of the galaxies included in the Herschel 400.
NGC 7331 is about 50 million light-years from us, and those small companion galaxies lie far beyond it, but together they make a very pleasing visual group which is sometimes know as the Deer Lick Group. I'm not going to say any more about them because Owen does it much better in his Galaxy of the Month article from August 2012.
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imaged NGC 7331 and a resident supernova SN 2014C, but it couldn't fit the whole galaxy in the frame. It's interesting to see how much of the detail in that HST image can be captured in an amateur image like David's. With the larger field of view, David has also revealed some of the spiral arms of the tiny background galaxies too.
NGC 7331 is relatively easy to find, even with small instruments, but my own observations have been with a 10-in Newtonian. It's an bright galaxy which is obviously elongated, has a nice concentrated core and some texture in what I'm accustomed to find is just a fuzzy patch of light when observing galaxies. So already there's something more to see, enough to make it a favourite, but I've also spotted some non-stellar patches to its east. I must have had good skies at the time because The Night Sky Observer's Guide (NSOG) Vol. 1 suggests that a scope in the 12–14-in class is required to see them.
James Whinfrey - Website Administrator.