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NGC 221 (461 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Messier 32

NGC 221, Arp 168, LEDA 2555, MCG+07-02-015, UGC 452, Messier 32, h 51, GC 117

RA: 00h 42m 41.87s
Dec: +40° 51′ 57.2″

Con: Andromeda
Ch: MSA:105, U2:60, SA:4


(reference key)

Type: galaxies (interacting), dE

Mag: B=9.2, V=?

Size: 9.12′ x 6.606′
PA: 170°


One of the brighter of the four satellite galaxies of the Andromeda Spiral, NGC 224 (M31).

In binoculars, this dwarf elliptical looks like a fuzzy 9th magnitude star just 24' south of the nucleus of the parent galaxy. Conspicuous enough to be included in Messier's Catalogue, it was first seen by Le Gentil in 1749. Visually, the galaxy has an angular size of 3.6' by 3.1', and according to Sanford it measures 7.6' x 5.8'.

Historical observations

William Herschel (c.1784)

In the Appendix to the 1912 'Scientific Papers of Sir William Herschel' this object is described as "1813, December 26, 20 feet telescope, a vB R nebula, vgbM, up to a nucleus."

Webb, T.W. (1893)

In the 5th edition of Webb's Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes it is described as "small, but bright; resolved into stars by E. of Rosse, 3-ft speculum, and Buffham's 9-inch reflector."

Published comments

Bailey, S.I. (1908)

"Nebula; elliptical; elongated at 65."

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

Remarks, p.216: "Probably associated with the Great Nebula in Andromeda, NGC 224, whose fainter extensions, as shown on photographs having long exposures, include it."

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 I. M.N.R.A.S., 35(5), 159.

Arp (1966)

Listed as No. 168 in Arp's "Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies" (Astrophysical Journal Supplement, vol. 14, 1966.) He remarks "faint diffuse plume curved away from M31 disk."

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 10.0 mag galaxy. Their coded description reads BE,R,BM,HISB,NEARM31.

Schmidt, K.-H. et al. (1993)

Schmidt K.-H., Priebe A. & Boller T. (1993) Nearby galaxies. Revised machine-readable version of the catalogue. Astron. Nachr., 314, 371. [1993AN....314..371S]

Other names: "U452,M32,ARP168". Inclination: (face-on, in degrees) 54 Total photoelectric blue mag 9.03 Total colour index .95 Logarithm of the angular diameter D25 (arcminutes) 1.94 Blue photographic magnitude 9.08 This galaxy is included in a sample of galaxies with velocity less than 500km/s with respect to the centroid of the Local Group. [Nearby Galaxies. Schmidt K.-H., Priebe A., Boller T. (Astron. Nachr. 314, 371 (1993))]

Modern observations

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

Notes that this galaxy lies 25' south of the centre of M31, a "hazy almost round object about 1.5' across with very bright nucleus . . in spite of low altitude it is quite easily seen with 7.5cm."

Harrington, Phil

(1990, Touring the Universe through Binoculars) calls it a "tiny circular glow just south of M31's bright core .. it is a small E2 system that shines at 8th mag and spans 8' x 6'. While it may be spotted with 7x glasses, 10x or greater magnification is recommended for a better view."

Bortle, John

Bortle (Webb Society Quarterly Journal, January 1976) using 10x50 binoculars, estimates the visual magnitude as 8.8.

Clark, R.N. (1990)

See also "Visual Astronomy of the Deep Sky" by Roger N. Clark (1990, Sky Publishing Corporation) page 68.

Tom Lorenzin

Lorenzin, in the electronic version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes "8.2M; 8'x 6' extent; bright companion to M-31; fairly compact with condensed nucleus; 24' due S of M-31's center; good supernova prospect"

Brian Skiff

Brian Skiff:

POSS-II: m12.5 * 2'.15 E/sl N.

53cm: * on E: V=12.54/b-y=0.40 (both +/-0.03), 29" aperture, 26Nov1992.

6cm - vsm, almost *ar w/br nuc. fades rapidly.

- vsm next to its mother, extremely concen to br *ar nuc. sm halo, irreg edges.

7cm - circ w/vstrong sharp concen to vconsp *ar nuc. halo reaches at most 1/2 way to m12.5-13 * due E. hisfcbr! BS, 25Nov1992, Anderson Mesa.

15cm - 3'x2' and fairly br. *-like nuc with outlying haze. an elliptical patch that reminds HM of a br pn. HM/BS, 26Jun1971, FtL.

25cm - pa90, 3'x2'. vintense core but w/o *ar nuc. BS.

- elong in pa150, 2'.5x2'.25, elong nrly twd nuc of M31. rises smoothly twd center in outer parts, then suddenly to nuc which is nrly *ar. BS, 17Oct1982, Anderson Mesa.

30cm - exbr center which is def non*ar. 1'.75x1' in pa165. nuc less than 10" across. * 2' E. CBL.

Gross, Todd (IAAC)

Your skill: Intermediate ; Date and UT of observation: 09/05/97 0745 GMT; Location & latitude: 22 miles west of Boston, Ma. 42.3N; Site classification: Suburban; Limiting magnitude (visual): 5.3 (estimated) 5.3 (est) in vicinity of object; Seeing (1 to 10 - worst-best): 4; Moon up (phase?): No; Instrument: 16" Newtonian-dob w. 96/99% coatings f/4.59; Magnifications: 98x; Filters used: none ; Object: M32 and M110

Two of the four well known satellite Galaxies of M31, the Andromeda galaxy, lie very close to it M32, and M110. At this aperture, these galaxies look very much like their photographic counterparts (when using short exposure times)

M32 does not look star like at all at 98x, but a small, round galaxy with a suddenly brighter core. It does look somewhat like an unresolved globular. In smaller aperture, at this magnification, it can look star-like to a degree at first glance, with the surrounding nebulosity around the brighter core not as readily picked out.

M110 is a few times larger, and on the opposite side of M31. Unlike M32, it is elongated, almost rectangular, and brightens GRADUALLY towards the central, elongated core. Elongation is almost perpendicular to M31.

Both are fairly featureless.

Contemporary observations

Tom Bryant

2006-09-17 21:00:00

Observing site: Little Tycho Observatory

Telescope: C-8

[0h 42m 42s, 40 52m 0s] AKA M32. A low contrast ellipse near M 31. M 110 was to faint to be seen.

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