NGC 5128

Peculiar Galaxy NGC 5128 (= Dunlop 482 = Arp 153 = Bennett 60), type Pec, in Centaurus

Centaurus A

[NGC 5128, AAT]
Right Ascension 13 : 25.5 (h:m)
Declination -43 : 01 (deg:m)
Distance 15000.0 (kly)
Visual Brightness 7.0 (mag)
Apparent Dimension 18 x 14 (arc min)

Discovered by James Dunlop in 1826.

This galaxy is situated in the M83 group of galaxies. It is one of the most interesting and peculiar galaxies in the sky, and is a strong source of radio radiation (therefore the designation Centaurus A); it is actually the nearest radio galaxy. It is of intermediate type between elliptical and disk (spiral) galaxies: The main body has all characteristics of a large elliptical, but a pronounced dust belt is superimposed well over the center, forming a disk plane around this galaxy.

This galaxy seems to have "eaten" at least one larger spiral in the last few billion years. However, the present author is not sure if this alone explains the unique appearance of this galaxy: It may well be that this is one of the rare "links" between "normal" ellipticals and "normal" disks.

In the radio part of the spectrum, Centaurus A exhibits two vast regions of radio emission, starting in prolongation of the polar axis of the disk of NGC 5128 and extending many hundreds of light years to each side.

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 Australian Astronomical Observatory.

  • More information on this image by David Malin - wider field
  • More NGC 5128/Centaurus A info from David Malin:

    The bright blue-green star in the middle of the left part of the dust belt in this image is supernova 1986G (the only SN discovered in Centaurus A so far) which was discovered on May 3, 1986, by Reverend Robert Evans, and reached mag 12.5 (see IAUC 4208). The blue-green color occurs because David Malin could take the red plate used in this composit image only one year after the supernova occurred, and it had faded away at that time.

    NGC 5128 was discovered by James Dunlop on August 4, 1826, and cataloged by him as Dun 482. John Herschel was the next to see it on June 1, 1834 from South Africa, and cataloged it as h 3501, which became GC 3525 in his General Catalogue of 1864, and NGC 5128 in J.L.E. Dreyer's NGC.

    In the SAC 110 best NGC object list. In John Caldwell's observing list. In the Astronomical League's Southern Sky Binocular Club list. Caldwell 77 in Patrick Moore's list.

  • Helmut Steinle's Centaurus A pages (MPE Garching): Information, images, references and more
  • Bill Keel's Centaurus A page (University of Alabama)
  • CTIO/NOAO b/w photo of NGC 5128/Centaurus A - color photograph (both with the 4-m Blanco Telescope of the Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory)
  • ESO images of Centaurus A
  • HST investigation of NGC 5128's central region
  • Chandra X-ray image of Centaurus A (1999) - X-ray sources in the inner NGC 5128 (2001) - Centaurus A Jet (2003)

  • Multispectral Image Collection of Centaurus A, SIRTF Multiwavelength Messier Museum
  • NED data of NGC 5128
  • SIMBAD Data of NGC 5128
  • Publications on NGC 5128 (NASA ADS)
  • Observing Reports for NGC 5128 (IAAC Netastrocatalog)
  • NGC Online data for NGC 5128

    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg

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    Last Modification: April 24, 2007