NGC 6872


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NGC 6872, the galaxy at the center of this image, is a far away barred spiral. At a distance between 210-300 million light years, the final size of this galaxy, from end to end of its elongated spiral arms has been determined to be around 520,000 light years (five times the size of our Milky Way…). This galaxy has been described as the “largest” in the known Universe, but this is a concept that has been disputed by many other galaxies. The point resides in the definition of size, being the most usual one the “size of the area that accounts for 50% of the emitted light”.  NGC 262 has been considered larger (1.3 billion ly), but what makes it that large is its neutral hydrogen halo, the visible stars take only 88,000 ly. The elliptical IC 1101 is still larger at 1.45 billion ly. Despite this discussion, this is a really “long” galaxy (it may not be the “largest”, but it certainly is one of the “longest”). There are remarkable images in the web of this galaxy. The Hubble Space Telescope has a beautiful partial view and the ESO VLT Antu (8.2m aperture, 16.4 times the aperture, 270 times the light gathering power, of the telescope used for our image) took an image that deserved an APOD recently. This galaxy is distorted due to the interaction of IC 4970, the small galaxy located at its lower left.

NGC 6872 is located in a very rich galaxy field. The stacked (highly stretched) luminance shows no less than 114 galaxies in the imaged field (37×37 arcmin).

Additional Information


Name(s): NGC 6872; the Condor Galaxy

Type: Barred Spiral Galaxy

RA:  20h 16m 57s

Dec: -70ΒΊ 46’ 04”

Constellation: Pavo

Size (arcmin): 6.0×1.7

Magnitude: +10.7

Distance: 212 million ly


Date: 2016-05-04 thru 2016-05-14

Location:, SSO near Coonabarabran, NSW Australia

Size (arcmin): 37×37

Telescope: Planewave CDK 20” f/6.8

Camera: SBIG STX16803 (4096x4096pix)

Guiding: Astrodon MonsterMOAG off-axis guider

Total exposure: 10h45m (L: 4h15m; RGB: 6h30m) all unbinned.

Processing: CCDStack, Photoshop CC 2016

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