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NGC 404 (821 of 18,816)

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Mirach's Ghost

NGC 404, LEDA 4126, MCG+06-03-018, UGC 718, Mirach's Ghost, II 224, h 89, GC 218

RA: 01h 09m 27.02s
Dec: +35° 43′ 4.7″

Con: Andromeda
Ch: MSA:125, U2:91, SA:4

Ref: SIMBAD

(reference key)

Type: galaxy (AGN LINER-type), dE/S0

Mag: B=11.3, V=?

Size: 4.677′ x 4.677′
PA: ?

Image gallery

Photos  (2)

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

NGC 404. See NGC 537.

Historical observations

William Herschel (c.1784)

Synonyms: H II-224

Discovered on 13 September 1784 by William Herschel with an 18.7-inch f/13 speculum telescope. He called it "pretty bright (though Beta And. in the field), cL, R, bM." Herschel used a 157x eyepiece with a 15' field of view to observe the galaxy.

Webb, T.W. (1893)

In the 5th edition of Webb's Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes it is described as "rather faint, but easy with 9.3-inch speculum, N.p. Beta, 2nd mag, strong yellow, in the same field. D'Arrest, strong nucleus. E. of Rosse, resolvable."

Birr Castle/Lord Rosse

Observed eight times with a 72-inch f/8.8 speculum telescope. He described it as "a cluster with much unresolved nebulosity."

Published comments

Doig, P. (1925)

Journal BAA, 35, p159

"This nebula is a specimen of the glboaulr type, from which it appears probable that the smaller spirals may devleop. it is about 1.3' in diameter, with a dark marking near its nucleus, due porbably to absorption. This feature is only visible on photogrpahs or visually with a very powerful telescope."

Burnham's Celestial Handbook

Burnham notes that this elliptical galaxy can be easily found in the same field as 2nd magnitude Beta Andromedae. It appears as a 12th magnitude round spot measuring 4.4' x 3.3'. It is not shown on some star atlases, resulting in many spurious "comet discoveries" in the 1960's and 1970's, probably, says Walter Scott Houston, "because the galaxy's symbol would overlap that of bright Beta."

Sandage, A. (1961) The Hubble Atlas of Galaxies

This galaxy appears on page 6 of "The Hubble Atlas of Galaxies" by Allan Sandage (1961, Washington, DC).

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

(Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 12.0 mag galaxy. Their coded description reads E,R,BM,B*2'SFO.

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.

p 590: "The present data on nearby groups may nevertheless help to answer the simpler question:Are there isolated galaxies? ... out of the 60 galaxies in this objectively selected sample, only eight have not been associated with one of the 55 nearby groups, viz. NGC 404, NGC 1313, NGC 2903, NGC 3109, NGC 3521, NGC 6744, NGC 6946 & IC 5152. In addition there is a possibility that a few galaxies, such as NGC 1316, NGC 4594, NGC 4826 are not really members of the groups (For I, Vir Y, CVn I) to which they have been tentatively assigned. Furthermore, the reality of the NGC 5128 chain as a physical unit may be questionable; but then it is difficult to know where to stop in this 'dismemberment' of loose groups, and the local outcome of an overconservative attitude would be to exclude from consideration all but a few rich clusters and dense groups... on the other hand, several of the eight supposedly isolated galaxies might yupon further investigation turn out to be members of some of the nearer groups; in particular, NGC 404, NGC 3109 and IC 1512 should be examined for possible membership in the Local Group. Other (more remote) possibilities are NGC 1569, IC 342 and perhaps some heavily obscured systems as yet unrecognized. For example, IC 10, although long suspected, was only recently established as a Local Group member (Roberts 1962, de Vaucouleurs and Ables 1965). ... to the writer's knowledge, NGC 1313 and NGC 6744 in the southern sky, and probably NGC 2903 and NGC 6946 in the northern sky, are truly isolated galaxies not associated with any nearby group, although both are in the larger Local Supercluster."

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: "U718,06-03-070". Total photoelectric blue mag 11.21 Total colour index .94 Logarithm of the angular diameter D25 (arcminutes) 1.54 Blue photographic magnitude 11.23 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))]

Photo index

by Jim Lucyk: Sky&Tel. 12/87 p683, Hubble Atl.of Gal. (Sandage 1961) p6, Deep Sky #22 p33, Astronomy mag. 2/83 p84, Burnhams V1 p112, 419, Sky&Tel. 7/69 p27.

Modern observations

Deep-Sky Observer (n.d.)

According to Brian Marsden, NGC 404 is the object most often mistaken for a comet. (See, for example, The Deep-Sky Observer, Webb Society, Issue 1, p30-31). In this article, Trevor Smith quotes from Jack Newton's 'Cambride Deep Sky Album: 'Intrinsically dim, and located immediately adjacent to the glaring brilliance of 2nd mag Beta And, this object is an inordinately difficult challenge to the visual observer." Smith writes: "I find this description rather bewildering . . . I find my 40cm f/6 shows NGC 404 as an easy object even under Antoniadi III seeing conditions. A 16mm Plossl eyepiece giving 150x gives a very good clear view. It is still a fairly easy object though obviously very small in a 50mm Plossl eyepiece giving 48x. Using a 13cm f/13 refractor it is still visible - but only just. . . . I feel that its close proximity to Beta And will render it invisible in small apertures (10-12cm) if small amounts of haze are present due to atmospheric light scatter but such instruments on a good transparent night will probably be able to show it."

Walter Scott Houston

Houston calls it a "big elliptical galaxy .. 4' across. It is hard to see despite being 10th magnitude, because it is so near Beta. .. It has been seen with 20 power on an 80mm scope."

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

Hartung notes that "the very bright deep yellow Beta And is 6.5' south following and interferes somewhat with the observations of this object. It is a round fairly bright haze about 1' across . . it can be seen as a small spot with 10.5cm if the star is hidden."

Ancient City Astron.Club (1980)

described as "a beautiful view through the eyepiece, can see both if carefully observed. Circular, fuzzy, bright nucleus, fading outwards. Fantastic with orange-coloured Beta, this is a rare jewel amongst the Herschel objects! 8-inch, 43x."

Raasch, Rick (1993)

writes in "The Focal Point", Volume 6, No. 2 (1993) "NGC 404 Easily found right next to Beta Andromedae, this galaxy is only well seen when that star is out of the field of view. It is 4' X 3', extended NNE-SSW, broadly concentrated to the center, and has a stellar nucleus."

Tom Lorenzin

Lorenzin, in the electronic version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "12M; 1.5'diameter; soft blur with little brighter center; 6' NNW of 2M beta AND; a.k.a. "COMET KOMOROWSKI"; good supernova prospect; look for small, faint crescent (partial dust lane) just NE of center; photo @ HAG-6."

Brian Skiff

Brian Skiff:

Lick: lies NW of beta Andromedae.

POSS: m13.5 * 1'.2 NNE. thus 15cm sees it 1'.6 diam, 0'.5 core.

53cm: * NNE: V=13.50/b-y=0.54 (both +/-0.03), 29" aperture, 26Nov1992.

6cm - just vis forming triangle w/beta And and another *.

7cm - not difficult to spot @ 30x, where it looks like a ghost reflection in optics of beta And. 75x shows it nicely despite presence of vbr * in fld. 30" halo w/strong even concen to br sub*ar nuc. m13.5 * NE vis; halo reaches 1/3 way to this *. BS, 25Nov1992, Anderson Mesa.

15cm - br obj despite presence of beta And in 80x fld. 165x: circ, 2' diam or two-thirds way to m13.5 * NNE. strong even concen to core one-third full diam, and sub*ar nuc. BS, 19Nov1989, Anderson Mesa.

25cm - vbr, circ. 0'.75 diam w/vf *ar nuc, but no cen condens otherwise. 6' N and a bit E of beta And. BS.

30cm - 2'.25 round, sl concen. beta And really interferes. f *ar nuc marks center. smooth. many *s in vicinity: one 2' N, another 1'.8 SW. CBL.

Contemporary observations

Magda Streicher

(no date)

Alldays (22.50S, 20.12E, 770m).

12-inch f/10 SCT (95x)

This galaxy is right next to B Andromeda, round with bright core - elliptical Small and round, bright nucleus dented, hazy around. Faint star to the north of the galaxy. It is easy seen and quite unique so close to the Beta.

Tom Bryant

2010 2 14 20:19:42

Observing site: Little Tycho Observatory

Telescope: C-8

[1h 9m 24s, 35 43m 0s] A faint, persistant smudge in tonight's clear, but snow lit sky. Need to revisit under darker skies.

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