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NGC 1553 (2,863 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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NGC 1553

NGC 1553, AM 0415-555, ESO 157-17, LEDA 14765, SGC 041505-5554.2, Bennett 24, h 2630, GC 838

RA: 04h 16m 10.3s
Dec: −55° 46′ 50″

Con: Dorado
Ch: MSA:458, U2:420, SA:24


(reference key)

Type: galaxy, S0

Mag: B=10.47, V=9.53

Size: 5.248′ x 3.162′
PA: 150°

Historical observations

John Herschel

John Herschel recorded it as "vB, R, gmbM, 60 arcseconds, between three stars." On a second occassion he called it "B, R, in a triangle formed by three stars." It is recorded in the NGC as "very bright, pretty small, round, gradually much brighter in the middle, lying amongst three stars".

Published comments

Reynolds, J.H. (1921)

Reynolds, J.H. (1921) The spiral nebulae in the zone -40° to -90° (from the Franklin-Adams Plates). MNRAS, 81, 598.

p 600: "The following spirals call for special description on account of their size:

Bright oval nucleus, 3' x 2', surrounded by faint haze."

Table, p601: 6x2.5, pa 135, "B"

Shapley (1935)

Ann.Harv.Coll.Obs., 88 (5)

, "A catalogue of 7889 external galaxies in the Horologium and surrounding regions" Ann.Harv.Coll.Obs. 88, No. 5, 107) notes that "earlier descriptions differ appreciably from the probably more dependable descriptions from the Bruce photographic plates . . . NGC 1553: Considerably elongated, surrounded by much nebulosity."

Table II, p 110: Size estimate: 6'.

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).

Sandage, A. (1975) ApJ, 202, 563

(Astrophysical Journal, 202, 563-582) notes that this galaxy is a member of the Dorado Group. Members include NGC 1515, NGC 1533, NGC 1536, NGC 1543, NGC 1546, NGC 1553, NGC 1566, NGC 1574, NGC 1596, NGC 1617 and IC 2056. Possible additional members include NGC 1559, NGC 1602, NGC 1672, NGC 1688, NGC 1703 & NGC 1705

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

(Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 10.5 mag galaxy.

de Vaucouleurs, G. (1975) NGC 1566 group

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.

Part of the Dorado cloud complex (NGC 1566, NGC 1433, NGC 1672 groups).

Brightest members: 1566 ( B(0) = 10.09), 1553 ( B(0) = 10.57), 1549 ( B(0) = 11.05), 1617 ( B(0) = 11.40), 1574 ( B(0) = 11.62).

("Galaxies and the Universe", Chapter 14 - Nearby Groups of Galaxies) notes that the five brightest members of the NGC 1566 group, a part of the Dorado Cloud complex, are NGC 1566, NGC 1553, NGC 1549, NGC 1617 & NGC 1574.

Shobbrook (1966)

Shobbrook (1966, Mon. Not. R. astr. Soc., Vol 131, p351-363) notes that this member of the Dorado Cluster has V = 9.84, B-V = 0.90 and U-B = 0.53. It measures 2.7 by 1.8.

Photo index

by Jim Lucyk: Sky&Tel. 10/74 p227, Ast.Obj.for South.Tel. (Hartung, 1984).

Modern observations

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

Hartung notes: "In this field are two bright nebulae [NGC 1549 and NGC 1553] about 13' apart . . one is round, about 1.5' across with very bright nucleus; the other is elliptical, about 2' x 0.8' in pa 150 deg, strongly concentrated and even brighter. 7.5cm shows these nebulae plainly."

ASV Journal (1971)

ASV Journal Vol 24 No 3 June 1971: "seen with 2-inch 64x."

Brian Skiff

15cm - vbr gx w/three *s nrby @ 80x. 140x: 3'x1'.25 in pa150, length ~sep of

V=12.1 & 12.7 (T&B) *s W & SE. third * is sl brtr than 12.7 *, thus

12.5. mod even concen mostly but more sharply concen twd sm br core and

sub*ar nuc. nice m12 pair 10' E. BS, 11Nov1993, LCO.

Contemporary observations

Auke Slotegraaf


In a 15.5-inch telescope at 220x the galaxy appears bright, large and clearly elongated. It's northern tip ends in a star, while the southern tip appears to fade more gradually. It has a clear, small centre. The galaxy NGC 1549 lies in the same low-power field.

1997 November 3

1997 November 3/4, Jonkershoek. 11x80 tripod-mounted, seeing 4, transparency 3, darkness 3, lim mag = 6.0 (naked eye, pole) "Brighter of two, the other being NGC 1549. Small, round, pretty bright glow, lies on one leg of a half-degree triangle."

1997 November 25

1997 November 25, Jonkershoek. 11x80 tripod-mounted, seeing 4, transparency 3, darkness 3, lim mag = 6.0 (naked eye, pole), very strong SE wind (gale force along the coast) "Two [1549 & 1553] beautiful smudges of nebulous haloes, clearly seen as fuzzy patches while sweeping."

Magda Streicher

1997 July 04

Location: Pietersburg South 23o 53. East 29o 28.

Sky conditions: Clear.

Date: 4 Julie 1997.

Field of view: 52.7 arc minutes.

ASSA-DSO - Report J

NGC 1553 gal Mag 10 size 4

Resembles a small, roundish to oval, relative bright galaxy, (maybe elliptical) with a bright small nucleus, accompany with three bright stars in the field. Shades out more to the north.

(no date)

12-inch f/10 SCT (EP: 2-inch 32mm SW 95x 42' fov; 2-inch 14mm UW 218x 23' fov)

A small clearly elongated north south bright galaxy, gradually brightening to a moderate yet small nucleus (218x). Three field stars forming a triangle with two close to the centre of the galaxy. The northern section appears to fade into a haze. Together NGC 1553 and NGC 1549 form a beautiful pair. Herschel called it elliptical, between three stars.

Richard Ford

2015, February, 22nd



Sky Condtions: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 almost the shape of a frozen peanut at 75x and that the galactic nucleus of this galaxy is very bright as a soft halo of whitish light which makes the structure of NGC 1553 moderately condensed.This galaxy measures 4.3'x 2.6'.Chart No.115,NSOG Vol.3.

2012 January 23. Sun


Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian Reflector Telescope.

Sky Conditions:The fainter parts of the Milky Way are barely visible.

Transparency Of the Sky:Haziness only visible on the horizon.

Seeing:Atmosphere stable with little interference.

NGC 1553


Object Type:galaxy.

First Impression:This object looks like a galaxy.



Chart Number:No.15(Extract taken out of "Atlas of the Night Sky").

Size:26mm Eyepiece:Field Of View:57'/13=4.3'.

20mm Eyepiece:Field Of View:50'/12=4.1'.



Size in Arc Minutes:4.2'.


Major Axis:4.2'.


Minor Axis:1.4'.

Galaxy is 4.2'*1.4'.

Brightness:Magnitude 9.5'.

Brightness Profile:From the central nucleus of this galaxy it grows brighter compared to the far outskirts of this galaxy.

Challenge Rating:Moderately Difficult.



This galaxy has a strange elliptical shape although this galaxy is an interacting galaxy where two galaxies are joined to each other.There are however some areas of even brightness as well as this galaxy is somewhat oval and well defined.

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