This pair of interacting spiral galaxies are relatively large and bright, yet unobserved by most amateurs. Walter Scott Houston observed them in a 4 inch refractor. He felt that NGC 470 was the brighter of the two. It's a difficult comparison. Although close in size and brightness they appear radically different in the telescope.
I felt that NGC 470 was much more interesting in the eyepiece. This galaxy appears as a bright oval of much higher surface brightness than its neighbor. At first glance NGC 470 appears both larger and brighter than NGC 474, even though charts and photos show just the opposite. This is yet another indication of how different the morphologies of these galaxies are. The bright core and smooth appearance of NGC 474 hides the intricate, yet much fainter surrounding shells. On the other hand, NGC 470 looks immediately like a galaxy.
Located nearby is NGC 467, a perfectly round smudge, lying near a bright star. This galaxy is perhaps brighter than its integrated 13th magnitude would suggest.
NGC 474 is a shell
galaxy. The shells are the wide arcs that surround the main part
of the galaxy (you can see them faintly in the image at the top of the
page). These shells have been modeled on a computer as the result
of gravitational interaction with nearby NGC 470. As NGC 470 passed
near its gravity disrupted the thick disk. The modeling of interacting
galaxies such as these helps us understand how galaxies interact when they
pass close to one another.