August 2015 - Galaxy of the Month

NGC 7265 in Lacerta

This interactive image of the NGC 7265 group was provided by the Digitised Sky Survey using Aladin Sky Atlas. You can view a large overview image of the group too.

It is not often that we think of galaxies in the small constellation of Lacerta because it lies in the Milky Way region between Cygnus and Cassiopeia. There is however a section of the constellation that lies outside the Milky Way’s boundaries and approaches the border of Pegasus and it is here that we find the galaxies.

Our targets this month are a challenging group of galaxies associated with NGC 7265. The group is known as USGC U813. The group comprises of 8 galaxies including NGC 7264, UGC 12013 and UGC 12007, and this finder map should help you sort them out.

NGC 7265 itself is an E/S0 galaxy with an active core. NED currently leans towards giving NGC 7265 a classification of S0 (lenticular). This type of galaxy is normally only found in galaxy clusters so it must be possible that the NGC 7265 group is or has been associated with a much larger group. The distance to the group is probably of the order of 73 Mpc. The whole group appears to be associated with the Perseus super cluster of galaxies. None of the standard references cover NGC 7265 which is slightly surprising but may give some idea of the faintness of the group. I think this is probably one for telescopes in the 40cm+ class, certainly from the UK. I am not sure the UGC galaxies will be seen from the light polluted and crud filled skies we normally expect from the UK. NGC 7265 itself was discovered by Edouard Stephan in 1876 using a 31” sliver on glass reflector whilst NGC 7264 was found by Marth using Lassell’s 48” speculum metal reflector from Malta in 1863. NGC 7263 does not appear to be part of the same group of galaxies. Steve Gottleib in his NGC notes has observed all of the NGC galaxies in this region but they are described as faint and he was observing from high clear California skies. NGC 7264 looks like a smaller version of the classic edge on NGC 4565 in Coma from the images.

It will be interesting so see how much of this can be seen visually. It would also be interesting to see what amateur imagers can make of this group as there are no images either. I suspect that when hunting this group use a medium to high power eyepiece.

The group of galaxies around NGC 7274 is also associated with the NGC 7265 group but interestingly also seems to be included in the poor galaxy group catalogue as WBL 681 which does not seem to include NGC 7265 as it only includes the three NGC galaxies near 7274. These three galaxies were also discovered by Stephan in 1876.

Owen Brazell - Galaxy Section Director