NGC 6744, also known as Caldwell 101, is an intermediate spiral galaxy, with 175,000 light-years across and located about 30 million light-years away in the southern constellation Pavo. It has at least one distorted companion galaxy, called NGC 6744A, superficially similar to one of the Magellanic Clouds, seen here as a smudge to the lower left of NGC 6744.

It is one of the largest and nearest spiral galaxies and is considered one of the most Milky Way-like spiral galaxies in the local Universe. It gives us a tantalising sense of how a distant observer might see our own galactic home.

The spiral arms of the disk are the sites of star formation within the galaxy and are very dusty. Dust and star formation go as a on going process. Dust in star forming regions is relatively warm. Throughout the disk and core are many, many older generations of stars whose temperatures are in the thousands of Kelvins.

Although it has a brightness of about 60 billion Suns, its light spreads across a large area in the sky — about two thirds the width of the full Moon, making the galaxy appear as a hazy glow with a bright center through a small telescope. Still, it is one of the most beautiful objects in the southern sky.

The image is a stack made up as follows:
L: 25x600sec bin1x1
R, G and B: 15x600sec bin1x1 for each channel

Camera: ST8300M with internal filter ST-8 and internal ST-OAG from SBIG
Guider: Lodestar Bin 2x2
Filters LRGB: Astronomiks II
Mount: NEQ-6 Pro
Pre-Processing and Post-Processing: PixInsight
Capture and Guiding Software: MaxDL