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NGC 5128 (Centaurus A)

NGC 5128 (Centaurus A)

Drawing data

NGC 5128 Cen GX
Date(s) of observation:
2012.06.14/15. Hakos
Place(s) of observation:
Hakos Astrofarm, Namibia, 1835m amsl.
Telescope(s) used:
16" f/4.5 Newtonian (Dobson)
Enlargement(s) used:
180x (10mm Delos)
Field size:
Author / Observer:
Kiss Péter


NGC 5128 drawing inverted into positive.
NGC 5128 drawing inverted into positive.

This galaxy is an icon that perfectly represents the difference between the southern and nortern sky. Centaurus A is exciting from a scientific point of view as well: an elliptical galaxy is tearing apart a spiral. And the nearest super massive black hole lies in the center of it. The view of this galaxy in the telescope is very exciting as well - it completely resembles the high quality photos. Two thirds of the field of view are filled with the faint peripheries. But the real attraction is the dust lane and the inhomogenities around the center. The bright and dark spots. Unfortunately I didn't see this galaxy with the 24" Dobsonian. Iván told me that the dust lane was unbelievably detailed. It would have been hard to draw.

Comparison with the photograph

NGC 5128 drawing inverted into positive.
NGC 5128 drawing using a 40 cm Dobsonian. Peter Kiss
NGC 5128 photo by Iván Éder using a 20 cm astrograph.
NGC 5128 photo by Iván Éder using a 20 cm astrograph. Copyright Iván Éder. Source:

It might be worth comparing the drawing, that is the visual impression and the photograph. The photo on the left, courtesy of Iván Éder was made using a 20 cm astrograph at the exact same spot the drawing was made (within a 10 m circle) with 1 day difference at most. The original photograph has been rotated and cropped to show a similar area as the positive drawing.

It is obvious that only the inner brighter part of the galaxy could be seen visually, though it was huge as well. The drawing is a little distorted: the aspect ratio does not perfectly match that of the photograph. Besides these things the stars can clearly be identified, and many details of the galaxy were visible (e.g. the curved ends of the dust lane).

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