NGC 278 -- Spiral Galaxy in Cassiopeia
Isolated from its Supercluster
The constellation Cassiopeia is known for its numerous Open Clusters, not its galaxies. And
yet within a few degrees of each other three galaxies occur in a short line along the southern
border of Cassiopeia. All three of these galaxies are difficult, but doable in my 155mm
refractor, from my suburban backyard. Two (NGC 185 and NGC 147) are companion galaxies
to the great Andromeda Galaxy M31 residing six degrees to the south of the three Cassiopeia
galaxies. The third galaxy, NGC 278, is much further away and is an isolated outlier of the
Virgo Supercluster of Galaxies.
NGC 278 is a spiral galaxy oriented nearly face-on to Earth. NGC 278 was made famous by
its Hubble telescope image for displaying an unusual “nuclear ring” of activity around its core.
Through my 155mm refractor from the deck of my house, only its core was detected, and even
that required a little patience.