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NGC 1399 (2,561 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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NGC 1399

NGC 1399, ESO 358-45, LEDA 13418, MCG-06-09-012, SGC 033634-3536.7, Bennett 19, h 2569, GC 748

RA: 03h 38m 29.32s
Dec: −35° 27′ 0.7″

Con: Fornax
Ch: MSA:400, U2:355, SA:18


(reference key)

Type: galaxy (in cluster), ED...

Mag: B=10.33, V=9.9

Size: 3.019′ x 3.019′
PA: ?

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Photos  (1)

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Historical observations

John Herschel

John Herschel recorded it as "globular cluster, vB, pL, psbM, resolvable or resolved, 2'." On a second occassion he called it "vB, second of three."

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: "On the Bruce plates, 1380 and 1399 appear similar. In the NGC, 1399 is called a globular custer, while 1380 is not thus designated. In this region of the sky many such objects are shown on plates having long exposures. It seems probable that many of these objects are faint glopbular clusters, although they appear on the photographs merely as small nebulae, bright at the centre, similar to 1399."

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 1399: Nebula

Helwan Obs. Bulletin No 15 (1915)

vB, S, R, vmbM, not resolved visually.

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, and 1380 and 1399 are almost certainly so.

Doig, P. (1925)

Doig, P. (1925) Notes on the nebulae and clusters in Webb's 'Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes' (Sixth edition, Vol.ii). Part V. M.N.R.A.S., 36(3), 89.

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 1399 Remarks: "hazy *, pB, R, bM, r."

de Vaucouleurs, G. (1956)

"Survey of bright galaxies south of -35 declination", Mem. Mount Stromlo, No. 13. (photographic study, plates taken with the 30-inch Reynolds reflector, 20-inch diaphragm).

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

(Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 11.5 mag galaxy. Their coded description reads BE,R,BM.

Sandage, A. (1975)

(Astrophysical Journal, 202, 563-582) notes that this galaxy is a member of the Fornax Cluster. Members include NGC 1316, NGC 1317, NGC 1326 & NGC 1399.

de Vaucouleurs, G. (1975)

de Vaucouleurs, G. (1975) Nearby groups of galaxies. In: Kuiper, G. (ed) Stars and Stellar Systems. Volume 9: Galaxies and the Universe. Chapter 14, p557.

Fornax I Cluster

NGC 1316 and NGC 1365 possibly foreground?

Brightest members: NGC 1399 ( B(0) = 11.15), NGC 1380 ( B(0) = 11.30), NGC 1404 ( B(0) = 11.34), NGC 1326 ( B(0) = 11.75), NGC 1350 ( B(0) = 11.80).

("Galaxies and the Universe", Chapter 14 - Nearby Groups of Galaxies) notes that the five brightest members of the Fornax I Group are NGC 1399, NGC 1380, NGC 1404, NGC 1326 & NGC 1350. He notes that NGC 1316 and NGC 1365 are possibly in the foreground.

Maccarone, T.J. et al. (2010)

A new globular cluster black hole in NGC 4472. arXiv:1008.2896v1

The authors note that two globular clusters around this galaxy are host to a black hole.

Photo index

by Jim Lucyk: Astronomy mag. 11/84 p20, Galaxies (Hodge,1986) p18.

Modern observations

Tom Lorenzin

Tom Lorenzin, in the electronic version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "10.9M; 1.4' diameter; bright and round with much brighter center; 5' to SSE is EL GAL N1404 (11.5M; 1' diameter) round glow with brighter nucleus; faint GALs within 1 degree of this pair include N1380, N1374; N1381; N1379, N1387, N1389, N1366, N1437 and N1427; except for N1380, all are 12.5M and dimmer; larger aperture required."

AJ Crayon

AJ Crayon, using an 8" f/6 Newtonian, notes: "is a elliptical galaxy. It is round 11m and has a much brighter middle at 60x."

Steve Coe

Steve Coe, observing with a 13" f/5.6, notes: "Bright, pretty large, round, suddenly much brighter in the middle with an almost stellar core at 150X. There is a 13th mag star about 30" to the north of the core."

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

Hartung notes: "This object, and the somewhat smaller NGC 1404 about 10' sf, lies in a beautiful field with several stars in fine contrast; it is about 1.5' across. Both nebulae are round with much brighter centres . . and can be made out with 10.5cm easily."

Steve Gottlieb

03 38.5 -35 27

13: bright,large faint halo is broadly concentrated, brighter core. A star is superimposed 0.3' N of the center. This galaxy is the second brightest and second largest in the core of the Fornax cluster. N1404 is 10' SE.

8: fairly bright, round, bright core.

Brian Skiff

POSS: * N not vis, in halo. -04 12'.7 in pa160.

RC2: * 0'.3 N of nuc.

15cm - vbr vlg gx @ 80x w/vf halo to 5' diam, reaching S to two m13-14 *s. 140x: core vmuch brtr, 45" across w/vstrong even concen to *ar nuc. m13.5 * on N edge of core. BS, 17Nov1993, LCO.

25cm - in same hix fld w/N1404. sim in brtness, though -04 more concen and -99 of lower sfcbr. -99 broadly brtr w/mottled core. f *ar nuc. 1'.25 diam, m14 * 20" from center in pa15. BS, 25Jan1982, Anderson Mesa.

30cm - a little E of -87. 30" core. 30" N is m14.2 * core unevenly br, halo circ. 1'.2 diam w/halo, pretty well concen.

Contemporary observations

Auke Slotegraaf


In a 2-inch refractor at 30x, NGC 1399 is somewhat easier to see than nearby NGC 1404, appearing slightly larger and brighter.


In a 15.5-inch telescope at 220x the galaxy lies in the same field as NGC 1404. It is both larger and brighter than NGC 1404, looking like a globular cluster since it is a roughly circular haze. The nucleus appears to be angular. There is a diamond of stars to the east of the galaxy.


Observing from the 1500 metre plateau of the SAAO observing site in Sutherland, this galaxy is reasonably obvious in 11x80's, appearing as a faint, blurred star. It lies in a field richly scattered with stars, making location easy.

2009 January 27

Sutherland (Huis Lana)

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

Conditions: Clear, dark.

A short 10-arcmin hop onwards from NGC 1404 brings you to NGC 1399, a pretty bright, pretty large, round glow, with a broad, bright, centre. (D: 20090127/28. U355)

Magda Streicher

(no date)

12-inch f/10 SCT (EP: 2-inch 40mm SW 76x 53' fov; 2-inch 14mm UW 218x 23' fov; 2-inch 8.8mm UW 346x 15' fov)

In the heart of the Fornax group of galaxies, NGC 1399 appears as one of the largest and brightest elliptical. Brightens slowly towards its tight nucleus, which appears to have some texture along with an outer edge that gives the appearance of sandpaper (346x). Within the field of view towards the east is an asterism of stars resembling in a way to me the constellation of Lyra. NGC 1399 grouped with NGC 1396, NGC 1404 and NGC 1387.

Tom Bryant

2008-01-03 20:00:00

Observing site: Pinnacles overlook

Telescope: C-8

[3h 38m 30s, -35 27' 0"] The brightest galaxy in the Fornax cluster.

Richard Ford

2013 January 12th Sat



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 circular shape which looks almost like a soccer ball at both 57x and 75x.The nucleus of this galaxy is fairly large and condensed as a bright glow of light.The nucleus of this galaxy grows brighter compared to the far outskirts of this galaxy.This galaxy measures 3'x 3'.Chart No.200, NSOG Vol.1.

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