NGC 5005 is a magnitude +9.8 type Sb spiral galaxy located in Canes Venatici. The galaxy has a high surface brightness and therefore a nice target for amateurs with medium and large telescopes. In addition, it has a bright nucleus with structural details visible including dust lanes. Altogether it spans 6 x 3 arc minutes of apparent sky.
NGC 5005 can be found 3 degrees southeast of beautiful double star Cor Caroli (α CVn - mag. +2.9). The galaxy was discovered by William Herschel on May 1, 1785 and is best seen from northern latitudes during the months of March, April and May. It's number 29 in the Caldwell catalogue.
A 150mm (6-inch) telescope reveals a faint diffuse object. Also visible 40 arc minutes southeast of NGC 5005 is spiral galaxy NGC 5033. Together they form a gravitationally bound pair. However since there is enough spatial distance separating them; they influence each other only weekly and as a result neither is distorted by tidal forces. NGC 5033 appears apparently larger but fainter than NGC 5005. It spans 11 x 5 arc minutes, shines at magnitude +10.8 and therefore a more challenging object for amateur astronomers.
A 300mm (12-inch) amateur scope reveals NGC 5005 as a bright-elongated smudge of light with a distinct nucleus. Some dark lanes are visible especially on the south side. There is uncertainty regarding the distance of NGC 5005. The average value is 65 Million light-years but it could be as close as 45 Million or as far away as 113 Million.
NGC 5005 Data Table
|Object Type||Spiral Galaxy|
|Distance (light-years)||65 Million|
|RA (J2000)||13h 10m 57s|
|DEC (J2000)||37d 03m 33s|
|Apparent Size (arc mins)||5.8 x 2.9|
|Number of Stars||400 Billion|
|Notable Feature||Gravitationally weakly bound to nearby spiral galaxy NGC 5033|