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Golden Coin

Dunlop 411, NGC 4945, ESO 219-24, LEDA 45279, SGC 130231-4912.2, Bennett 57, Caldwell 83, The Golden Coin Galaxy, h 3459, GC 3386

RA: 13h 05m 26.1s
Dec: −49° 28′ 15″

Con: Centaurus
Ch: MSA:954, U2:402, SA:21

Ref: SIMBAD

(reference key)

Type: galaxy (Seyfert 2), Scr...

Mag: B=9.6, V=8.24

Size: 20.41′ x 4.365′
PA: 43°

Image gallery

Sketches  (1)

Select a sketch and click the button to view

Photos  (7)

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Historical observations

Dunlop, James (1827)

This spectacular galaxy, visible in binoculars, was discovered by James Dunlop from Paramatta, New South Wales, and included as No. 411 in his catalogue of 1827. Using a 9-inch f/12 telescope, he described it as "a beautiful long nebula, about 10' long, and 2' broad, forming an angle with the meridian, about 30 south preceding and north following; the brightest and broadest part is rather nearer the south preceding extremity than the centre, and it gradually diminishes in breadth and brightness towards the extremeties, but the breadth is much better defined than the length. A small star near the north, and a smaller star near the south extremity, but neither of them is involved in he nebula. I have strong suspicions that the nebula is resolvable into stars, with very slight compression towards the centre. I have no doubt but it is resolvable. I can see the stars, they are merely points. This is north following the first zeta Centauri." Dunlop sketched the galaxy and observed it seven times.

John Herschel (1847) Cape Observations

It was also observed by Sir John Herschel at the Cape of Good Hope with an 18-inch f/13 speculum telescope. He recorded it as "Bright; very large; very much elongated; very gradually a little brighter in the middle. Length much more than a diameter of the field, or than 15'. Its light extends to a star 14th mag beyond the parallel of Brisbane 4299. Position of elongation 38.7 ."

Herschel wrongly calls NGC 2547, Dunlop 411; it should be NGC 2547=Dunlop 410.

NGC/IC Dreyer (1888, 1895, 1908)

The NGC describes it as "bright, very large, very much elongated in PA 38 ." It is classified as an irregular spiral and glows at magnitude 9.6.

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:

Unusual type, complicated irregular ring, much inclined to line of sight with no nucleus, the south-western half being very faint."

table, p601: 12x2, pa 40, "! Irr. oval ring, no N"

de Vaucouleurs, G. (1956)

De Vaucouleurs (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). Notes: "one of the largest late-type spirals at a very low latitude; little known. See M.N. 81, 1821, 600; Occ Notes RAS No 18, 1956.

This galaxy is a member of the fairly nearby Centaurus group of galaxies, which includes NGC 4945, 5102, 5128, 5236 and NGC 5253.

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 9.5 mag galaxy.

Sandage & Tammann (1975)

Sandage, A. & Tammann, G. A. (1975) Steps toward the Hubble constant. V - The Hubble constant from nearby galaxies and the regularity of the local velocity field. ApJ, 196, 313-328. [1975ApJ...196..313S]

Sandage and Tammann (1975, Astrophysical Journal, 196, 313-328) includes this galaxy in the NGC 5128 Group. Members include NGC 4945, NGC 5068, NGC 5102, NGC 5128 & NGC 5236.

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.

5. The nearer groups within 10 megaparsecs

G4. NGC 5128 Group

Brightest members: 5236,5128,4945,5102,5068,5253.

Several large southern galaxies having low velocities may form a loose group or chain centred on NGC 5128, 4945, 5102, 5236 and NGC 5253 and possibly NGC 5068. Two (NGC 5102 and perhaps NGC 5128=CenA) are lenticulars, three are late-type spirals Sc-Scd and one (NGC 5253) is peculiar, possibly an I0 irregular (the BGC classificaion Imp is incorrect). The overall length of the chain is 30 = 2.1Mpc or 20 = 1.4 Mpc (excluding NGC 5068 which has the highest velocity). ... Even if this chain does not form a physical (bound) group, it is useful to obtain some estimate of the distance of NGC 5128.

Laustsen, S., Madsen, C. & West, R.M. (1987)

Exploring the Southern Sky: A pictorial atlas from the European Southern Observatory. Springer-Verlag.

Scanned image on disk. [1987EtSS.........0L], plate 35.

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: "E219-24". Inclination: (face-on, in degrees) 84 Total photoelectric blue mag 9.3 Logarithm of the angular diameter D25 (arcminutes) 2.30 Blue photographic magnitude 9.15 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))]

Burnham's Celestial Handbook

Burnham calls this a 9.2 mag spiral or barred spiral galaxy in Centaurus, 15' x 2.5', bright, very large, very much elongated; seen nearly edge-on.

Photo index

Photo Index by Jim Lucyk: Sky&Tel. 5/88 p476, Astronomy mag. 5/86 p94, Deep Sky #10 Sp85 p22, Burnhams V1 p572, Ast.Obj.for South.Tel. (Hartung, 1984).

Modern observations

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

Hartung says of this galaxy: "A beautiful star field makes fine contrast with this long, narrow luminous haze about 15' by 1.5' in PA 40 ; it is slightly convex N.p. and fairly uniform in brightness except towards the fading ends. Even a 3 inch telescope will show a faint streak about 10' long."

Steve Coe

Steve Coe, in "SACNEWS On-Line for May 1996", observing with a 17.5" f/4.5 Dobsonian, notes: NGC 4945 is at 13 hr 05.4 min and -49 28. I saw it as pretty bright, very large, elongated and much brighter in the middle at 100X in my gone, but not forgotten, 17.5" f/4.5 Dobsonian.

Steve Coe, using a 17.5" f/4.5, notes: "Pretty bright, very large, elongated and much brighter in the middle at 100X."

Sanford (1989) Observing the Constellations

Sanford calls it "a bright streak .. resembling a smaller version of NGC 253 .. A 10-inch will show the dark dusty mottling along the galaxy."

Brian Skiff

T&B: *s nr SW end: V=8.8, 11.3.

15cm - reaches Becvar catalogue size w/averted vis. hard to see, nebulous. more difficult than gx N 247. HM, FtL.

- vlg, velong, and br gx of modlosfcbr. the whole best @ 50x. 80x: pa45, 20'x2'.5. SW end reaches to just btwn two *s on either side of maj axis (m9.5,11); NE end just reaches m12.5 * SW of m9 * beyond gx. SW end somewhat fntr. wk even concen twd core, which is offset twd NE end. vsmooth texture except for knot or f * due N of m12.5 * just E of maj axis NE of center. BS, 23Feb1990, LCO.

Steve Gottlieb

Southern galaxies from Australia

[amastro] posting, Apr 30, 2008

13 05 27.5 -49 28 06

V = 08.6; Size 20.0x3.8; Surf Br = 13.2; PA = 43d

24" (4/11/08): remarkable spiral at 200x as it extended SW to NE over nearly 2/3 of the 30' field. I didn't take detailed notes on this observation but the galaxy had just a broad concentration with no defined core region. The galaxy is very slightly wider through the center and only tapers towards the tips. Along the south edge, just SW of center, is a brighter linear streak forming a sharp edge (the dust lane is just beyond). The main body of the galaxy fades a bit in this area and then brightens again further SW. Near the NE tip the major axis appears slightly warped or bent towards the north. On the south side of the NE end, some very faint haze is visible. The DSS image reveals this is the portion of the galaxy south of the dust lane.

Contemporary observations

Auke Slotegraaf

2009 January 01

Sutherland (Middelfontein)

8-inch f/6 Dobsonian

Conditions: Clear, dark.

Edge-on galaxy in Centaurus. It is a prominent, very much elongated glow at 48x, a ghostly slash hanging in black space between two 4.5th mag stars. One of the easiest bright galaxies to find.

1998 January 21

1998 - 01 - 21, 22:00 11x80 tripod, 6.0 naked eye, Paradyskloof Rifle Range (Stellenbosch) Always a challenge. Just 4 up from Omega Cen lies this consistently tough object, a very much elongated thin spindle within a naked-eye triangle of three stars.

1997 September 20

1997-09-20, Sutherland (Karoo), SAAO plateau. 11x80 tripod-mounted binoculars. Skies excellent. This spectacular binocular galaxy is easily found north of Crux, amongst naked-eye stars in Centaurus. Very long, straight wisp of soft light, 90 arcsec thick and 7.5 arcmin long (1:5 ratio). It does requite some attention to see as very long; otherwise appears as a fat ellipse.

1994 February 06

1994-02-06, Die Boord, 11x80's tripod-mounted. Picked up NGC 4945 with averted vision. The long streak of light is aligned almost between two small stars.

1994 January 16

1994-01-16: Observing from Stellenbosch, tripod-mounted 11x80's, seeing good, I failed to find this galaxy after 5 minutes of study.

1983

In a 15.5-inch telescope it shows as a ghostly spindle of light lying northeast to southwest. It measures about 15' along its major axis, ending in faded extensions. A short chain of stars runs due west from the southwestern edge of the galaxy; opposite this chain on the northeast lies a single pretty bright star.

1995

Observing from the 1500 metre plateau of the SAAO observing site in Sutherland, handheld 11x80 binoculars clearly shows this long, thin, elongated streak of light.

Magda Streicher

1997 April 05

Location: Campsite (23 16 South 29 26 East)

Sky conditions: 7 magnitude clear.

Instrument: Meade 8" (Super wide angle 18mm eyepiece)

Relative faint large uneven haze edge-on galaxy, extended pencil like. To the one side under this galaxy in a fine starfield runs a little chain of small stars pointing away from this galaxy.

(no date)

16-inch f/10 SCT

Bright, very large elongated northeast to south west pencil-like galaxy, getting slowly brighter to the middle with a few foreground stars embedded. The southern part of the galaxy is not as bright when viewed in contrast with the more outstanding northern part (290x). It looks mottled in parts (462x). In a fine star-field, towards the west, runs a chain of small stars that appears to skip away from the galaxy and which is underlined with xi1 Centauri to the southwest. With star hopping to the southeast, along a line of faint stars I identified NGC 4945A (462x) as a soft very slight smear of light towards the 8.4 magnitude star (SAO 223903). Best to try and put the star just outside the field of view, and averted vision will show this small puff. John Herschel called it a beautiful long nebula, about 10' long and 2' broad, with strong suspicions that the nebula is resolvable into merely points of stars. This spectacular galaxy, visible in binoculars was discovered by James Dunlop from Paramatta, New South Wales. (Mag 8.8; size 23.0' x 5.9'; SB 14.0; PA 41)

(no date)

16-inch f/10 SCT (EP: 2-inch 32mm SW 127x 32' fov; 2-inch 14mm UW 290x 17' fov; 2-inch 8.8mm UW 462x 11' fov)

Bright, very large elongated northeast to south west pencil-like galaxy, getting slowly brighter to the middle with a few foreground stars embedded. The southern part of the galaxy is not as bright when viewed in contrast with the more outstanding northern part (290x). It looks mottled in parts (462x). In a fine star-field, towards the west, runs a chain of small stars that appears to skip away from the galaxy and which is underlined with xi1 Centauri to the southwest. With star hopping to the southeast, along a line of faint stars I identified NGC 4945A (462x) as a soft very slight smear of light towards the 8.4 magnitude star (SAO 223903). Best to try and put the star just outside the field of view, and averted vision will show this small puff. John Herschel called it a beautiful long nebula, about 10' long and 2' broad, with strong suspicions that the nebula is resolvable into merely points of stars. This spectacular galaxy, visible in binoculars was discovered by James Dunlop from Paramatta, New South Wales.

Richard Ford

2015, February, 23rd

Location:Perdeberg.

Time:1:35am.

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 large galaxy has two faint extensions which looks like a pair of tweezers seen edge on at both 57x and 75x.Around the outskirts of this galaxy there are some areas of uneven brightness being seen.This galaxy measures 19.5'x 10.8'with P.A:NE/SW.Chart No.81,NSOG Vol.3.

2009 January 25, 00:50 SAST

Koornlandskloof

12-inch f5 (EP: 26mm SW, 20mm UW, 7mm UW)

Conditions: The most clear sky possible. Dark moon and stars magnitude 6 and fainter are visible with the naked eye. Excellent clean sky, limited star flickering and brilliant objects. Limiting Magnitude: 6.2.

Spiral Galaxy located in Centaurus. Bright and well defined. Fairly low surface brightness. Elongated as a thick bright streak of light silhouetted in a bright starry background. No areas of uneven brightness. There plenty of 1st to 4th magnitude stars in the distant background.

Favourite lists

Lacaille's catalogue

The Messier objects

Dunlop's catalogue

The Bennett objects

The Caldwell list

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