The Daily Cosmos or Interesting Facts about the Universe


List of galaxies visible to the naked eye

There are surprisingly few. And it's not been yet a century that we've known there were any other galaxies.

List of naked-eye galaxies

This is a list of galaxies that are visible to the naked-eye, for at the very least, keen-eyed observers in a very dark-sky environment that is high in altitude, during clear and stable weather.

Naked-eye Galaxies
Galaxy Apparent Magnitude Distance Constellation Notes
Milky Way Galaxy -26.74 (the Sun) 0 Sagittarius(centre) This is our galaxy, most things visible to the naked-eye in the sky are part of it, including the Milky Way composing the Zone of Avoidance.[9]
Large Magellanic Cloud 0.9 160 kly (50 kpc) Dorado/Mensa Visible only from the southern hemisphere. It is also the brightest patch of nebulosity in the sky.[9][10][11]
Small Magellanic Cloud(NGC292) 2.7 200 kly (60 kpc) Tucana Visible only from the southern hemisphere.[9][12]
Andromeda Galaxy (M31, NGC224) 3.4 2.5 Mly (780 kpc) Andromeda Once called the Great Andromeda Nebula, it is situated in the Andromeda constellation.[9][13]
Omega Centauri(NGC5139) 3.7 18 kly (5.5 kpc) Centaurus Once thought to be a star and later a globular cluster, Omega Centauri was confirmed as having a black hole at its center and thus its status has been changed to being a dwarf galaxy as of April 2010.[14]
Triangulum Galaxy (M33, NGC598) 5.7 2.9 Mly (900 kpc) Triangulum Being a diffuse object, its visibility is strongly affected by even small amounts of light pollution, ranging from easily visible in direct vision in truly dark skies to a difficult averted vision object in rural/suburban skies.[15]
Centaurus A (NGC 5128) 7.8 13.7 ± 0.9 Mly (4.2 ± 0.3 Mpc) Centaurus Centaurus A has been spotted with the naked eye by Stephen James O'Meara[16]
Bode's Galaxy (M81, NGC3031) 7.89 12 Mly (3.6 Mpc) Ursa Major Highly experienced amateur astronomers may be able to see Messier 81 under exceptional observing conditions.[17][18][19]
Sculptor Galaxy (NGC 253) 8.0 11.4 ± 0.7 Mly (3.5 ± 0.2 Mpc) Sculptor According to Brian A. Skiff, the naked-eye visibility of this galaxy is discussed in an old Sky & Telescope letter or note from the late 1960s or early 1970s.[20]
Messier 83 (NGC 5236) 8.2 14.7 Mly (4.5 Mpc) Hydra M83 has reportedly been seen with the naked eye.[21]