M102 = NGC5866 ( 15h 06.5m +5546, 10.0 mag. )


There is quite a bit of confusion regarding 102nd entry in Messier Catalog. The object listed as M102 was discovered by Mechain in 1781, however he did not specify its precise position and retracted that discovery two years later, stating that he re-discovered M101. However, description of the general location of M102 did not match that of M101 and M102 is regarded as one of the missing Messier object. Many sources list bright lenticular galaxy NGC5866 in Draco as the alternative candidate and I decided to follow that approach, too.

NGC5866 is about 50 million ly away. It is visible edge-on and short-exposure images reveal thin dust band running along its equatorial plane. Look for NGC5866 about 4 SW of i Draconis (see finder chart below).

The above image was taken on March 21, 1999 from Sooke, BC. Cookbook 245 LDC CCD camera was used on Ultima 8 f6.3 telescope autoguided with Cookbook 211 LDC CCD camera on a piggybacked 500mm f8 telephoto lens. It is composed of white integrations (4 x 240 sec.) processed with AIP4WIN.

North is to the right.


Map created in Guide 7.0 - 745' x 10. North is up.


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Jan Wisniewski