November 2015 - Galaxy of the Month

NGC 1060 Group in Triangulum

This interactive image of the NGC 1060 group was provided by the Digitised Sky Survey using Aladin Sky Atlas. We've also provided a finder chart for the group too.

This interesting group of galaxies centred on the elliptical galaxy NGC 1060 does not appear in any of the standard references such as Webb DSOH Vol 5, L&S or NSOG.

The two brighter galaxies in the group 1060 and 1066 were discovered by William Herschel in 1784. The others in the group were discovered by Lord Rosse’s observers using the 72” Leviathan except for NGC 1067 which was discovered by John Herschel in 1829.

The physical group which is classified as WBL 085 consists of the 7 galaxies: - NGC 1057, NGC 1060, NGC 1061, UGC 2201, NGC 1066 and NGC 1067 and an unknown.

NGC 1060 is classified as an S0- (a lenticular galaxy). NGC 1066 which is the other large and brightish galaxy in the group is classified as an elliptical but also as a type 2 Seyfert, i.e. it has an active nucleus.

This makes the groups contents slightly interesting as there are two lenticulars, one elliptical, three spirals, and irregular. There are a number of other galaxies scattered about this field but their faintness suggests that they are much further away than NGC 1060.

The only other galaxy of interest here is the face on spiral UGC 2174. According the Lyon catalogue of local groups it is associated with the NGC 1060 group which is classified here as LGG 072. This would then be the seventh member of the group.

Some programs associate NGC 1062 with UGC 2201 but historically this is incorrect as the Birr observers observation which was later tabulated as NGC 1062 is in fact a star according to Corwin.

This is one of the areas where I find computer star charting programs interesting in terms of their primary identifications. Megastar 5 for instance labels these galaxies by their UGC labels by default whereas SkyTools labels them using their designations from the MCG catalogue. Both are correct of course but the consistency of choice obviously depends on where one comes from.

So the interesting question here becomes what aperture do you need to see all the galaxies in the group. SkyTools suggests that under the dark of new moon I should be able to see all of them with the 22”, even the face on UGC 2174 whereas with the 15” I should only be able to see four of them.

An interesting challenge should we get dark skies in the next new moon window. Note that on the accompanying Megastar chart UGC 2201 is incorrectly labelled as NGC 1062 and on the image the DSS does not cover UGC 2174.

Owen Brazell - Galaxy Section Director