Messier 102 (NGC 5866)   HOME INDEX BACK NEXT

Galaxy in Draco

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The galaxy NGC 5866 is sometimes called Messier 102, but historians have shown that the galaxy Messier listed as number 102 in his catalog was actually an error, a duplicate listing of Messier 101. However, while the confusion was being sorted out, some suggested that NGC 5866 was actually the galaxy Messier was referring to. This is not the case, but to avoid a gap in the Messier catalog, some people still refer to this galaxy as M102.

Despite its confusing history of discover, it is a pretty object that is well worth observing. It is classified as a lenticular galaxy--one with a large central bulge and small, tightly wound arms. We see this galaxy edge-on, and a dust lane can be seen cutting across the center of the galaxy. A large faint halo surrounds the entire galaxy.

Magnitude 9.8
Apparent Size 7.3' x 3.5'
Distance (light yrs) 50 million
Right Ascension 15:06.5
Declination +55 46
Field of View 24' x19'

Image details:  Exposure times of 60 minutes luminance and 30 minutes each of red, green and blue, taken with an SBIG ST-8300M imager and a 12" Meade telescope at f/5.6.

May 2013