NGC 1701, Trekkie Galaxy

NGC 1701
NGC 1701: The galaxy NGC 1701 with 10.6 mag star TYC 6472-1456-1. Or is it the Enterprise that is being shot at by a photon torpedo? PanSTARRS / DR1 color [147]
NCC 1701
NCC 1701: The Enterprise NCC 1701 - A federation starship of the Nebula Constitution Class (NCC).


The galaxy NGC 1701 was nicknamed Trekkie-Galaxy because of its NGC number, as it almost matches the serial number (NCC 1701) of the first spaceship Enterprise from the TV and cinema cult series Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry. As luck would have it, even the galaxy itself bears a certain resemblance to the Enterprise. The saucer section of the Enterprise, as it orbits the approximately 10.6 mag bright star TYC 6472-1456-1, can be easily interpreted into the compact, elliptical shape of the galaxy.

Physical Properties

The axis of rotation of the galaxy NGC 1701 is inclined by 46 degrees against the direction of view. The galaxy itself is moving away from the center of the Local Group at a speed of about 5600 km/s. With a Hubble constant of 75 km/s/Mpc, the distance is about 240 million light years. [134]

«Catalogue of Principal Galaxies (PGC)», Paturel et al. 1989 [144]
DesignationsPGC 16352: NGC 1701, ESO 422-11, MCG 5-12-10, IRAS 4539-2957
Right Ascension (J2000.0)04h 55m 50.8s
Declination (J2000.0)-29° 53' 01"
Morphological TypeS
Dimensions1.2' x .9'
Visual Magnitude13.6 mag
Radial Velocity (HRV)5808 km/s
Position Angle137°

Sulu, set course for NGC 1701!

The small galaxy NGC 1707 is located in the inconspicuous constellation Caelum, which is southwest of Lepus. This can be found south of Orion. Since NGC 1701 is very far south and only reaches a maximum of about 10-15 degrees above the southern horizon, it is best to wait for the transit time. In late November to early December, the galaxy is at its highest around midnight. After that it goes down earlier and earlier.

The telescope is aligned using the map below. NGC 1701 lies just under 5° east of the 4.6 mag star υ1 Eridani. The 2° close-up helps for more precise identification. The zigzag line made up of four lighter asterisks serves as the starting point. At the western end of it, a pointed arrow points in the northwest direction directly to the galaxy.

Chart NGC 1701
Chart created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. [149, 160]

Visual Observation

400 mm aperture: With the 21 mm Ethos eyepiece (85x), the exact position can be easily positioned using the star pattern. In the 9 mm Nagler (200x) NGC 1701 appears a faint, oval something without structure next to the clearly visible asterisk. — Taurus T400 f/4.5 Dobsonian, Hasliberg Reuti, 6. 11. 2021, Bernd Nies

762 mm aperture: In the 22 mm Nagler (114x), the galaxy is clearly recognizable as a washed-out oval. The core of the galaxy partially flashes in the 13 mm Ethos eyepiece (193x). — 30" f/3.3 Slipstream Dobsonian, Hasliberg Reuti, 6. 11. 2021, Bernd Nies


134Lyon-Meudon Extragalactic Database (LEDA);
144Catalogue of Principal Galaxies (PGC); Paturel G., Fouque P., Bottinelli L., Gouguenheim L.; Astron. Astrophys. Suppl. Ser. 80, 299 (1989); (2021-02-18)
147Aladin Lite; (2020-12-23)
149SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum;
160The STScI Digitized Sky Survey;