NGC 6503 – a field dwarf spiral galaxy

NGC 6503 – a field dwarf spiral galaxy

NGC 6503 is a field dwarf spiral galaxy at the edge of a region of space known as the Local Void. It is relatively close to our own Milky Way galaxy, about 18 million light-years away from Earth. The dwarf galaxy spans 30,000 light-years and is located about 17 million light-years away in the constellation Draco (the Dragon).

The spiral galaxy is particularly colorful in places where bright red gas regions can be seen scattered throughout its spiral arms. Stars are forming in bright blue areas. The arms and center of the galaxy have dark brown dust areas. KK 242 is a known satellite galaxy of NGC 6503. KK 242 is a dwarf irregular galaxy (dIrr) on the edge of a dwarf spheroidal galaxy (dSph) with a stellar mass of about 3 million solar masses. William Herschel, an astronomer, discovered the galaxy in 1786.

Key characteristics of NGC 6503:

  • Spiral Structure: In the Hubble sequence, it is classified as a type Scd galaxy, indicating that it is a loosely wound, late-type spiral galaxy. It has an open spiral arm structure with a distinct spiral arm structure.
  • Size and Mass: The galaxy is about 30,000 light-years across, making it slightly smaller than our Milky Way. It is thought to be 100 billion times the mass of the Sun.
  • Isolated Galaxy: One notable feature of NGC 6503 is that it is relatively isolated in space. Unlike many other galaxies that are part of galaxy clusters or groups, NGC 6503 appears to be situated in a region with few neighboring galaxies nearby.
  • Low Luminosity: NGC 6503 has a low luminosity when compared to other galaxies of similar size and mass. It is known as a “low surface brightness galaxy,” which means it does not emit as much light per unit area as more typical galaxies.

NGC 6503 is a popular target for both amateur and professional astronomers due to its stunning appearance as a classic spiral galaxy. It can be seen in moderate-sized telescopes, and its proximity makes it relatively bright and easier to observe.