NGC 7331 -- Spiral Galaxy in Pegasus
The Brightest of the Pegasus Spur of Galaxies
NGC 7331 is a stunning sight in any size telescope. This huge spiral galaxy is larger than our own
Milky Way Galaxy and is about equal in size and mass to the Great Andromeda Galaxy, M31.
NGC 7331 is the largest of the 35+ galaxies that make up the Pegasus Spur. Unfortunately,
NGC 7331 is the only galaxy of the Pegasus Spur that is within easy reach of my 155mm refractor
from my suburban home. I did try for the adjacent Stephan’s Quintet which also contains members
of the Pegasus Spur, but it eluded me. I have seen Stephan’s Quintet in the refractor from a dark
site, but it really is at its best in my 18” Dobsonian.
NGC 7331, from the house, showed a large spherical core with thin spiral arms extending north
and south of the core. The dimmer sections of the disk to the sides of these extensions, would fade
in and out of my vision, but there was no doubt that I was picking up bits of distant starlight at the
limits of my vision. This is truly a grand deep-sky object for modest and large sized amateur
telescopes. I can see why it made the Caldwell list (#30).