NGC 253, also known as the Silver Coin Galaxy or
the Sculptor Galaxy, is a large, type Sc spiral
galaxy, seen nearly edge-on. It is the brightest member of the Sculptor
Group of galaxies in the constellation Sculptor and was discovered by Caroline Herschel on Sep. 23, 1783.
|NGC 253. The whole galaxy is shown here as observed
with the WFI instrument, while the insert shows a close-up of the
central parts as observed with the NACO instrument on ESO's Very Large
Telescope and the ACS on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Credit:
|Close-up of the central regions of NGC 253. The field
of view is 15 arcseconds. Credit: ESO
NGC 253 is also classified as a starburst
galaxy (the nearest one to Earth) because of the high rate of star
formation and dense dust clouds in its nucleus. The energetic nuclear
region glows brightly at X-ray and gamma-ray wavelengths. The center of the galaxy appears to harbor a twin of our own
Milky Way's supermassive black
||25' × 7'
||10 million light-years
||R.A. 00h 47.6m,
Dec. -25° 17'