Galaxies NGC 2857 (Arp 1) & NGC 2854/6 (Arp 285)

NGC 2857 (Arp 1)
NGC 2857 (Arp 1): Galaxy in Ursa Major; 500 mm Cassegrain 3625 mm f/7.2; SBIG STL11K; 260-60-60-60 min LRGB; Bernese Highland; © 2017 Radek Chromik


On 9 March 1788 William Herschel found two nebulae with his 18.7 inch reflecting telescope. He cataloged them as III 713 and III 714 (class III = very faint nebulae). He noted both as «considerably faint, considerably small, little extended». [464] Later in 1888 Dreyer cataloged nebula III 713 as NGC 2856 and nebula III 714 as NGC 2854. [313]

The pretty face-on spiral nebula nearby was obviously overseen by Herschel. It remained unnoticed until 9 January 1856 when the Irish astronomer R. J. Mitchell, an assistant to William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, discovered it with the giant 72 inch «Leviathan of Birr Castle». [277] Dreyer cataloged it in 1888 as NGC 2857 and added the description: «very faint, pretty large, 4 stars preceding.» [313]

In 1966 Halton Arp published his «Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies», where he ordered galaxies into groups based on purely morphological criteria. The galaxy NGC 2857 was the first entry in his catalog in the first group «spiral galaxies, low surface brightness» (group #1-6). He just remarked: «High contrast print of low surface brightness spiral.» The pair of galaxies NGC 2854 and NGC 2856 received the designation Arp 285, classified as «double galaxies, infall and attraction» (group #281-286). He remarked: «Narrow tail leads away from northern nucleus.» [199]

Physical Properties

Simbad lists a distance of 73 Mpc for NGC 2857, 40 Mpc for NGC 2856 and 25-42 Mpc for NGC 2854. [145]

Revised+Historic NGC/IC, Version 22/9, © Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke [277]
NameRADecTypebMagvMagDimDreyer DescriptionIdentification, Remarks
NGC 285409 24 02.9+49 12 14Gx (SBb)13.813.01.6 × 0.6cF, cS, vlE, pglbMUGC 4995, MCG 8-17-92, CGCG 238-46, IRAS 09206+4925, Arp 285, KUG 0920+494A
NGC 285609 24 16.2+49 14 57Gx (Sbc) × 0.5cF, cS, lE, bMUGC 4997, MCG 8-17-93, CGCG 238-47, IRAS 09208+4927, Arp 285, KUG 0920+494B
NGC 285709 24 37.7+49 21 26Gx (Sc)12.912.32.2 × 2vF, pL, 4 st pUGC 5000, MCG 8-17-95, CGCG 238-49, Arp 1

Finder Chart

The galaxy NGC 2857 is located in the constellation Ursa Maior. The best viewing time is December to June when this circumpolar constellation is highest at night.

Chart Galaxies NGC 2857 (Arp 1) & NGC 2854/6 (Arp 285)
Galaxies NGC 2857 (Arp 1) & NGC 2854/6 (Arp 285) in constellation Ursa Maior. Chart created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. [149, 160]

More Objects Nearby (±15°)


145SIMBAD astronomical database;
149SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum;
160The STScI Digitized Sky Survey;
199«Atlas Of Peculiar Galaxies», Halton Arp, 1966; Astrophysical Journal Supplement, vol. 14, p.1 (1966); DOI:10.1086/190147; Bibcode:1966ApJS...14....1A
277«Historische Deep-Sky Kataloge» von Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke; (2021-02-17)
313«A New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars, being the Catalogue of the late Sir John F.W. Herschel, Bart., revised, corrected, and enlarged» Dreyer, J. L. E. (1888); Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society. 49: 1–237; Bibcode:1888MmRAS..49....1D
464«Catalogue of a second thousand of new nebulae and clusters of stars; with a few introductory remarks on the construction of the heavens» William Herschel, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 1 January 1789; DOI:10.1098/rstl.1789.0021