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The Irregular Galaxy NGC 55

NGC 55 is a Magellanic type barred spiral galaxy located about 7 million light-years away in the constellation Sculptor. Along with its neighbor NGC 300, it is one of the closest galaxies to the Local Group, probably lying between the Milky Way and the Sculptor Group. NGC 55 and the spiral galaxy NGC 300 have traditionally been identified as members of the Sculptor Group, a nearby group of galaxies in the constellation of the same name. However, recent distance measurements indicate that the two galaxies actually lie in the foreground.

The Webb Society Deep-Sky Observer's Handbook, writes the following about NGC 55: "Nearly edge-on and appears asymmetrical with some signs of dust near the bulge, which is diffuse, broad and somewhat elongated with the south edge sharp; southeast of the bulge it is strongly curved and lined with 4 or 5 faint knots; north edge of the curve is sharp." Burnham calls it "one of the outstanding galaxies of the southern heavens", somewhat resembling a smaller version of the Large Magellanic Cloud.


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