M83 The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy
M83, also known as the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, is a barred spiral galaxy located in the southern constellation Hydra.
M83 lies at a distance of 15.21 million light years from Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 7.54. It has the designation NGC 5236 in the New General Catalogue.
M83 is one of the nearest and brightest barred spirals in the sky and can be seen in 10×50 binoculars, which only reveal a patch of light with a brighter core.
3-inch telescopes show a larger patch of nebulosity with a bright centre, while 6-inch telescopes begin to hint at the bar structure and the dark patches around the galaxy’s central region. 10-inch telescopes reveal the galaxy’s well defined spiral structure, dark dust lanes and the central bar.
Facts about M83 by Keith Turnecliff
The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy has a well-defined spiral structure and is classified as an intermediate spiral, between normal and barred spiral. The galaxy is receding from us at 337 km/s.
Located 30 degrees south of the celestial equator, Messier 83 is the southernmost galaxy listed in Messier’s catalogue, which makes it one of the most difficult Messier objects for northern observers because it never rises very high above the southern horizon.
The best time of year to observe M83 is during the spring.