NGC 253

Spiral Galaxy NGC 253 (= H V.1 = Bennett 4), type Sc, in Sculptor

Silver Coin Galaxy, Sculptor Galaxy

[NGC 253, AAT]
Right Ascension 00 : 47.6 (h:m)
Declination -25 : 17 (deg:m)
Distance 10000.0 (kly)
Visual Brightness 7.1 (mag)
Apparent Dimension 25 x 7 (arc min)

Discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1783.

NGC 253 is the brightest member of the Sculptor group of galaxies, which is grouped around the South galactic pole (therefore, also sometimes named "South Polar Group"). The Sculptor group is perhaps the nearest to our Local Group of galaxies. NGC 253 is also one of the brightest galaxies beyond the Local Group. The RASC Observer's Handbook gives the common name Silver Coin Galaxy for NGC 253; it is also referred to as the Sculptor Galaxy.

NGC 253 was one of the major discoveries of Caroline Herschel, the sister of William Herschel. She discovered this object on September 23, 1783 with "an excellent small Newtonian Sweeper" of 27 inches focal length and a power of 30 (William Herschel's description). William Herschel included it in his catalog as No. V.1.

Our image was obtained by David Malin with the Anglo-Australian Telescope. This image is copyrighted and may be used for private purpose only. For any other kind of use, including internet mirroring and storing on CD-ROM, please contact the Photo Permissions Department (photo at of the Anglo Australian Observatory.

  • More information on this image (David Malin)

    One supernova has been discovered in NGC 253 up to now: SN 1940E, which was discovered by Fritz Zwicky 51"W 21"S of the galaxy's nucleus, and became as bright as 14.0 mag (announced in IAUC 848).

    In the SAC 110 best NGC object list. In the RASC's Finest N.G.C. Objects Objects list. In John Caldwell's observing list. Caldwell 65 in Patrick Moore's list.

  • The Sculptor galaxy NGC 253 was featured in Jeff Bondono's Masterpieces Messier Missed for November, 1998

  • NED data of NGC 253
  • SIMBAD Data of NGC 253
  • Publications on NGC 253 (NASA ADS)
  • Observing Reports for NGC 253 (IAAC Netastrocatalog)
  • NGC Online data for NGC 253

    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg

    [SEDS] [MAA] [Home] [Non-Messier Indexes]

    Last Modification: March 29, 1998