sponsored by psychohistorian.org


Deep Sky Observer's Companion – the online database


Welcome, guest!

If you've already registered, please log in,

or register an observer profile for added functionality.


log in to manage your observing lists























Full database:

Entire DOCdb database of 18,816 objects.



NGC 1291 (2,297 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




finder chart

altitude today

altitude (year)


½°, , in DOCdb

Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/yivumoo/public_html/show_object.php on line 167

show browsing

The Golden Eye

NGC 1291, NGC 1269, Dunlop 487, ESO 301-2, LEDA 12209, MCG-07-07-008, SGC 031528-4117.4, Bennett 12, Golden Eye, h 2521, GC 685

RA: 03h 17m 18.58s
Dec: −41° 06′ 28.7″

Con: Eridanus
Ch: MSA:422, U2:390, SA:18

Ref: SIMBAD, Skiff20080430-U

(reference key)

Type: galaxy, SBa

Mag: B=9.42, V=8.49

Size: 9.772′ x 8.317′
PA: 156°

Image gallery

Photos  (1)

Select a photo and click the button to view

History and Accurate Positions for the NGC/IC Objects (Corwin 2004)

NGC 1291 is also NGC 1269, which see.

Historical observations

Dunlop, James (1828)

Dunlop, J. (1828) A Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars in the Southern Hemisphere, Observed at Paramatta in New South Wales. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc., 118, 113-151. [1828RSPT..118..113D]

James Dunlop discovered this 10th mag galaxy from Paramatta, New South Wales, and included it as No. 487 in his catalogue of 1827. Using a 9-inch f/12 telescope, he described it as "a pretty bright round nebula, about 1.5' diameter, very bright and condensed to the centre, and very faint at the margin; with a very small star about 1' north, but not involved."

John Herschel

John Herschel recorded it as "very bright; round; gradually much brighter in the middle; 90" arcseconds (hazy)." His second observation was recorded as: "globular cluster, very bright; round; first gradually then suddenly very much brighter in the middle; mottled, but not resolved."

Innes, R.T.A. (1901)

On 3 December 1901 R.T.A. Innes, observing with a 7-inch refractor at the Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, failed to find the object: "Not visible in the 7-inch. This is perhaps the same as Dunlop 487 (NGC 1291), observed by h on the same night. h gives for the latter exactly the same declination and description as for h 2518 (NGC 1269). Dunlop 487 was well seen on the night that h 2518 could not be found".

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol 62, April 1902, p 468. "Notes on Nebulae observed at the Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope." (communicated by Sir David Gill, KCB, FRS, HM Astronomer).

By Mr R T A Innes

h 2518 (NGC 1269) "Not visible in the 7-inch. (3/12/1901.) This is perhaps the same as Dunlop 487 (NGC 1291), observed by h on the same night. h gives for the latter exactly the same declination and description as for h 2518. Dunlop 487 was well seen on the night that h 2518 could not be found."

Published comments

Bailey, S.I. (1908)

"globular cluster? extremely condensed, not resolved on plate."

Bailey, S.I. (1908) A catalogue of bright stars and nebulae. Ann.Harv.Coll.Obs., 60(8), 199.

Remarks, p.217: "This object is given as a globular cluster in the NGC. This appears probable, although it is not resolved on the Bruce plates.."

Knox Shaw, H. (1915)

Knox Shaw, H. (1915) Note on the nebulae and star clusters shown on the Franklin-Adams plates. M.N.R.A.S., 76(2), 105-107.

Comments on papers by Harding (MNRAS, 74(8)), and Melotte (MemRAS 60(5)) describing objects foundon the Franklin-Adams plates; compares with plates taken with the Reynolds reflector (Helwan Obs Bull. 9-15):

Amonst those noted by Prof Bailey, but not included in Mr Melotte catalogue, the Helwan plates confirm NGC 1291 as a nebula.

Melotte, P.J. (1915)

A catalogue of star clusters shown on Franklin-Adams chart plates. Mem.R.A.S., 60(5), 175-186.

Table, p.177: "Clusters" noted by Bailey but not included in the Catalogue:

NGC 1291 Appears as a diffuse star, or bright nebula, with some surrounding faint nebula.

Helwan Obs. Bulletin No 21 (1920)

B, pL, nearly round, globuar nebula with vBN surrounded by structureless nebulosity which falls off in brightness from the centre, giving the appearance of a globe of 1' diameter. Outside this is extremely gaint structureless nebulosity about 5'x2' E 0deg approx.

Charlier, C.V.L. (1931)

Charlier, C V L (1931) "Stellar clusters and related celestial phaenomena", Lund Annals 2, 14, No. 19. Charlier examined prints from the Franklink-Adams atlas; "Table 6 gives a list of those objects in Bailey's catalogue for which the globular character is uncertain or not probable..."

NGC 1291 Remarks: "! B, hazy *, v B at M, r, alm R."

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 10.0 mag galaxy. Their coded description reads SBO),BNUC+BAR,RING FBDDIF RG.

de Vaucouleurs, G. et al. (1991) Third Ref. Cat. of Bright Galaxies (RC3)

This galaxy is listed in the "Third Reference Catalogue of Bright Galaxies" as having an outer ring of 8.11 arcminute diameter.

De Vaucouleurs (1956) "Survey of bright galaxies south of -35 declination", Mem. Mount Stromlo, No. 13. On photos taken with the 30-inch Reynolds reflector, 20-inch diaphragm: bright inner part 3.6' x 3', faint outer regions 12' x 11'. Remarks: extremely remarkable, vBN 1.1' x 1.0'; bar 3.3' x 1.0'; outer ring 8.2' x 7.3'

Modern observations

Hartung, E.J. (1968) Astron.Obj.South.Tel

Hartung notes that this galaxy "looks not unlike a distant unresolved globular cluster; the edges diffuse away gradually to about 2' diameter with a small very bright central region . . it is easy for small apertures."

Steve Coe

Steve Coe, observing with a 13" f/5.6, notes: "Bright, pretty large, round, much brighter middle at 150X."

Steve Gottlieb

03 17.3 -41 06

17.5: very bright, moderately large, large very bright core. A mag 12 star is just off the N end 1.7' from the center. Mag 8 SAO 216239 lies 11' SSW.

13: very bright, moderately large, round, very bright core, almost stellar nucleus, large faint halo. A star is very close NW.

Brian Skiff

15cm - vbr gx w/vlg halo @ 50x, 8' diam, reaches V=13.7 * (T&B) NE of center. 140x: core is oval w/V=12.3 * at N edge, 3:2 ratio. halo nrly uniformly br, core suddenly brtr and has strong sharp concen to sub*ar nuc, which is non*ar even w/direct vis (V=12.3 * is good comparison). V=14.7 * NE vis @ 140x. BS, 14Nov1993, LCO.

Danie L. Cronje

1984 (PRG), 10x50

Danie Cronje, observing with 10x50 binoculars, calls it "very faint. Seems fainter than NGC 1316. Almost only seen with averted vision. Looks almost stellar when glimpsed directly. With averted: small glow."

Contemporary observations

Magda Streicher

(no date)

12-inch f/10 SCT (EP: 2-inch 40mm SW 76x 53' fov; 2-inch 14mm UW 218x 23' fov)

NGC 1291 and NGC 1269 is the same object.? Relatively bright, medium to large oval shaped galaxy slowly brightening to a striking nucleus. This elliptical galaxy in a north south direction, displays diffuse edges with a faint star visible in the haziness in the northern tip of this galaxy (218x). A few lovely field-stars can be seen to the south in the field of view.

Auke Slotegraaf

1997 September 02

1997 Sept 02, Die Boord, 11x80 tripod mounted. Seeing average-good.

In the field with several 7th magnitude stars. Looks like a bloated, 1 arc-min 9th magnitude star. Rating: difficult.

1997 November 29

1997 November 29/30, Sat/Sun: Jonkershoek, seeing 3, transparency 3, sky darkness 4, lim.mag. at south pole 6.0 (naked eye), 10.7 (binoculars at pole) Strong SE wind. "A 45 arcsecond fuzzy star, with a slightly larger and much fainter halo surrounding it. Not a casual object."

2007 April 15

Sutherland (Ouberg Quarry)

11x80 tripod mounted binoculars

Conditions: NELM: fainter than 6.0 at the S.pole

Small (6') round glow, not bright (9.1V), grows brighter to the middle to a broad nucleus. Lies at the end of an east-west curve of three bright (78th mag) stars, one of which is HD 20200. Used Uranometria chart 390 to locate the galaxy. Magnitude estimated from nearby star F = HD 20722 (9.1V); size estimated from two pairs ( AC > d > AB, AB=4.5', AC=7.5').

2009 January 27-28

Sutherland (Huis Lana)

"Bertha" 12-inch f/4.8 Dobsonian (EP: 32mm, 25mm, 10mm, 6.3mm Plossls, 2x Barlow, 32mm Erfle)

Conditions: Clear, dark.

Fornax lies within the first of two great loops of Eridanus the River - a good place to put a furnace, just in case. Two degrees north-northwest of 4th mag e Eridani lies this bright galaxy.

At 120x it is easy to see, appearing as a round, 1-arcmin diameter glow, which grows brighter to the middle to a broad nucleus, within which is an even-brighter centre. Due north is a small star, a short way off (2 arcminutes from galactic centre). (D: 20090127/28. U390)

Tom Bryant

2010 11 6 23:28:52

Observing site: Fall Star Party

Telescope: C-11

[3h 17m 18s, -41 8' 0"] A bright E0, looking much like a globular cluster. B, and WikiSky: An SB!

Richard Ford

2015, Saturday, 17th January



Sky Conditions:The fainter parts of the Milky Way are barely visible.Haziness only visible on the horizon.Atmosphere stable with little interference.

Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian.

This galaxy has a somewhat roundish shape which is well defined.In a matter of fact this galaxy looks like an out of focus soccer ball at both 57x and 75x.Around the outskirts of this galaxy there are plenty of areas of uneven brightness being visible at 75x.This galaxy measures 4.3'x 3.5'. Chart No:181,NSOG Vol.1.

2012 March 24th, Sat



Sky Conditions:The fainter parts of the Milky Way are barely visible.Haziness only visible on the horizon.

Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian.

This galaxy is seen as an oval smudge of bright light nearby an 8th magnitude star lying North East from this galaxy.No spiral structure is discerned and there are some areas of uneven brightness around this galaxy.This galaxy also has a fairly bright nucleus.This galaxy measures 4'*1.3'.The nucleus is brigher in the center of this galaxy compared to the spiral arms of this galaxy.

Favourite lists

Lacaille's catalogue

The Messier objects

Dunlop's catalogue

The Bennett objects

The Caldwell list

Named DSOs

Object search

First search phrase


Second search phrase

Type of object to include:

open cluster
globular cluster
planetary nebula
bright nebula
dark nebula
galaxy cluster
asterism & stars

The Bug Report

DOCdb is still in beta-release.

Known issues, feature requests, and updates on bug fixes, are here:

> Bug Report


Found a bug? Have a comment or suggestion to improve DOCdb? Please let us know!

> Contact us


DOCdb is a free online resource that exists to promote deep sky observing.

You could help by sharing your observations, writing an article, digitizing and proof-reading historical material, and more.

> Find out more

Everything on DOCdb.net is © 2004-2010 by Auke Slotegraaf, unless stated otherwise or if you can prove you have divine permission to use it. Before using material published here, please consult the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.5 License. Some material on DOCdb is copyright the individual authors. If in doubt, don't reproduce. And that goes for having children, too. Please note that the recommended browser for DOCdb is Firefox 3.x. You may also get good results with K-Meleon. Good luck if you're using IE. A successful experience with other browsers, including Opera and Safari, may vary.