Hubble Heritage Archive: NGC 6503

The text and images in this article were originally published on June 8, 2015, and reflect information about NGC 6503 available at that time.

Hubble Takes a Look at a Lonely Galaxy

Most galaxies are clumped together in groups or clusters. A neighboring galaxy is never far away. But this galaxy, known as NGC 6503, has found itself in a lonely position, at the edge of a strangely empty patch of space called the Local Void.

The Local Void is a huge stretch of space that is at least 150 million light-years across. It seems completely empty of stars or galaxies. The galaxy’s odd location on the edge of this never-land led stargazer Stephen James O’Meara to dub it the “Lost-In-Space galaxy” in his 2007 book, Hidden Treasures.

NGC 6503 is 18 million light-years away from us in the northern circumpolar constellation of Draco. NGC 6503 spans some 30,000 light-years, about a third of the size of the Milky Way.

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows NGC 6503 in striking detail and with a rich set of colors. Bright red patches of gas can be seen scattered through its swirling spiral arms, mixed with bright blue regions that contain newly forming stars. Dark brown dust lanes snake across the galaxy’s bright arms and center, giving it a mottled appearance.

The Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys data for NGC 6503 were taken in April 2003, and the Wide Field Camera 3 data were taken in August 2013.

Credit: NASA, ESA, D. Calzetti (University of Massachusetts), H. Ford (Johns Hopkins University), and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

Fast Facts about NGC 6503

About this Object 

Object Name: NGC 6503
Object Description: Spiral Galaxy with Active Star Formation
Position (J2000.0): RA: 17h 49m 26s.43 
Dec: 70° 08′ 39″.73 
Constellation: Draco
Distance: 18 million light-years (5.5 megaparsecs)

About the Data

Data Description: The optical/UV image of NGC 6503 was created from Hubble data from proposals 13364, PI: D. Calzetti (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), et al. and 9293, PI: H. Ford (JHU) et al.
Instruments and Filters: ACS/WFC: F658N (H-alpha+[N II])
WFC3/UVIS: F275W (UV), F336W (U), F438W (B), F555W (V), and F814W (I)
Dates: April 21, 2003 and August 21, 2013 

About this Image 

Credit: NASA, ESA, D. Calzetti (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), H. Ford (JHU), and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration
Release Date: June 8, 2015
Colors: This image is a composite of separate exposures acquired by the ACS/WFC and WFC3/UVIS instruments. Several filters were used to sample various wavelengths. The color results from assigning different hues (colors) to each monochromatic (grayscale) image associated with an individual filter. In this case, the assigned colors are:

F275W (UV) – pink
F336W (U) – purple
F438W (B) – blue
F555W (V) – green
F814W (I) – red
F658N (Hα+[N II]) – red


Hubble-Europe’s Release of NGC 6503’s Release of NGC 6503

NASA’s Hubble Portal

Additional Images

NGC 6503 Raw Images


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