Galaxy Messier 74

Messier 74: Galaxy in Pisces; 500 mm Cassegrain 5800 mm f/11.4; SBIG STL11K; 100+40+40+40 min LRGB; Bernese Highlands; © 2005 Radek Chromik


M 74 was discovered by Pierre Méchain at the end of September and confirmed by Charles Messier on 18th October 1780, who noted: «Nebula without a star, next to the star η in the band of fish, seen by M. Méchain at the end of September 1780 and who wrote: This nebula does not contain any stars, it is quite large, very dark, extremely difficult to observe, we will be able to determine it more precisely on the beautiful winter nights.» [281]

In his «General Catalogue» published in 1864, John Herschel classified M 74 as a globular cluster. This mistake was copied in Dreyer's «New General Catalogue» published in 1888. Lord Rosse was probably the first to discover the spiral shape in 1848. [4]

Physical Properties

The galaxy M 74 is of the morphological type SA (s) c and we see it directly from above. It is similar to M 101, but has a more symmetrical shape. The heliocentric velocities measured over the last 20 years are 657 km/s and distances from 7 Mpc to 11 Mpc. [145]

Revised+Historic NGC/IC, Version 22/9, © Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke [277]
DesignationNGC 628
TypeGx (Sc)
Right Ascension (J2000.0)01h 36m 41.7s
Declination (J2000.0)+15° 47' 00"
Diameter10.5 × 9.5 arcmin
Photographic (blue) magnitude10.0 mag
Visual magnitude9.4 mag
Surface brightness14.2 mag·arcmin-2
Position Angle25°
Distance derived from z9.26 Mpc
Metric Distance9.080 Mpc
Dreyer Descriptionglobular, F, vL, R, vg, psmbM, rr
Identification, RemarksM 74, UGC 1149, MCG 3-5-11, CGCG 460-14, IRAS 01340+1532

Finder Chart

M 74 is located in the constellation Pisces, about 1° 20' east of the star Kullat Nuni (η Piscium). The best observation time is August to December.

Finder Chart Galaxy Messier 74
Galaxy Messier 74 in constellation Pisces. Charts created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. Limiting magnitudes: Constellation chart ~6.5 mag, DSS2 close-ups ~20 mag. [149, 160]

Visual Observation

Description pending ...

More Objects Nearby (±15°)


  • [4] «Burnham's Celestial Handbook: An Observer's Guide to the Universe Beyond the Solar System» by Robert Burnham; Dover Publications, Inc.; Voume I: ISBN 0-486-23567-X; Volume II: ISBN 0-486-23568-8; Volume III: ISBN 0-486-23673-0
  • [145] SIMBAD astronomical database;
  • [149] SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum;
  • [160] The STScI Digitized Sky Survey;
  • [277] «Historische Deep-Sky Kataloge» von Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke; (2021-02-17)
  • [281] «Catalogue Nébuleuses et des Amas D'Étoiles» Observées à Paris, par M. Messier, à l'Observatoire de la Marine, hôtel de Clugni, rue des Mathurins. «Connoissance des temps ou connoissance des mouvements célestes, pour l'année bissextile 1784 » Page 227; (2021-02-21)