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Skywatcher Snaps Beautiful Photo of Massive Spiral Galaxy

Barred Spriral Galaxy M 109 by Franke
Bob Franke took this photo of barred spiral galaxy Messier 109 from Focal Pointe Observatory in Chino Valley, Ariz., from March 13 to May 6 and released to SPACE.com July 10, 2013. (Image credit: <a href="http://bf-astro.com">Bob Franke</a> / Focal Pointe Observatory)

Astrophotographer Bob Franke captured this image of stunning barred spiral galaxy Messier 109 from Focal Pointe Observatory in Chino Valley, Ariz.

Located about 60 million light-years from Earth in the northern constellation Ursa Major, M 109 or NGC 3992, is a massive galaxy roughly 120,000 light-years in diameter. This image also captures three galaxies identified left to right as UGC 6969, UGC 6940 and UGC 6923. [65 Amazing Galaxy Photo Hits]

"The galaxy is visible in binoculars as a faint fuzzy patch," Franke wrote on his website, bf-astro.com.

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Franke used a 12.5" RCOS telescope at ~f/9 (2880 mm fl), 0.64 arcsec / pixel, a Paramount ME mount, SBIG STL-11000 with internal filter wheel, and AstroDon Gen II Filters to capture the image. The image was taken from March 13 to May 6 and released to SPACE.com July 10. You can see more of Bob Franke's astrophotography here.

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Contributing Writer and Producer

Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for Space.com. She began writing and producing content for Space.com in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.