galaxies that grace planet Earth's
night sky are often known by their New General Catalog
designation or NGC number.
That classic listing was compiled by
Emil Dreyer, remarkable director of the
Armagh Observatory from 1882 to 1916.
NGC 2266 is,
for example, the 2,266th item in his New General Catalog
of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars.
Noting that "every book
has a first page", modern day astronomer
Jay GaBany wondered what NGC 1 might look like - and
found it, along
with NGC 2 in the constellation Pegasus.
Pictured above, both are more or
less typical-sized (50-100 thousand light-years across)
spiral galaxies with
estimated distances of over 150 million light-years for NGC 1
(top) and about twice that for NGC 2.
NGC ordering is based on an
astronomical coordinate system,
so these otherwise unremarkable spirals
appear first in the NGC listing because
their location in the sky translates to the smallest
Ascension coordinate in the catalog.