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NGC 128
Interacting Galaxy
aka PGC 1791, MCG 0-2-51, Uppsala 292
Integrated Visual Magnitude: 12.7
Apparent Diameter: 2.8' x 0.9'
Light Time: 200 Myr
Mean Surface Brightness: 23.6 mag/arc-sec2

Minimum requirements to view: 5-inch scope and dark skies


NGC 128 is a tiny edge-on spiral galaxy distorted by tidal interaction with one or more neighboring galaxies.  Walter Scott Houston wrote that he was able to view this galaxy in his 5-inch from a dark site. An 8-10 inch instrument will show the peculiar box-shape at the center.  Be sure to use enough magnification here; at least 200x. 

Computer modeling has shown that the peculiar "X" shape seen in images can be attributed to a the merger or accretion of a small galaxy that is now complete.  In this model the shape is created out of tidally distorted disk material from the larger galaxy.

There are quite a few tiny galaxies visible in this field in my 18-inch.  NGC 128 is the brightest, with the nearby NGC 125 coming in a close second.  Due to the small size of NGC 128 I used 430x for the best view.  It appeared as an irregular shaped, elongated smudge with two attendant smudges to either side (NGC 127 & NGC 130).  The main portion appeared to be box like, appearing wider at the north end.  It had that irregular, speckled look that comes when there is detail beyond your ability to resolve.  Seeing this, it's easy to understand how the great observers of previous centuries imagined all nebulae to be made up of unresolved stars, something that happens to be true in the case of galaxies such as this one, although here the "speckling" is more attributable to larger scale structure in the galaxy. 


The field in a 10-inch f/4.5 at 75x. North is down and east is to the right.

The galaxies that flank NGC 128 (NGC 127 and NGC 130) are most likely nearby to it in space as they all have about the same redshift, indicating that they are at the same distance.  The same can be said of the other galaxies nearby such as NGC 125 and NGC 126. Together, these galaxies form a cluster, loosely referred to as the NGC 128 group.
 

Millennium Star Atlas Vol I Chart 269
Sky Atlas 2000 Chart 17
Uranometria 2000 Vol I&II Chart 216