A 10 minute exposure with SBIG ST-6 CCD camera thru our 20-inch F/8.1 telescope. The field of view is about 5x7 arc minutes with North at the top. The bright streak through the frame is light (scattered in the telescope) from the very close 2nd magnitude star Mirach.
NGC 404 is one of the most puzzling galaxies in the sky because of its very small redshift combined with its lack of resolution into stars and the absence of the low-average-surface-brightness signature expected of dwarf lenticular galaxies (Binggeli, Sandage, and Tarenghi 1984). In addition to the very bright central nucleus with massive star formation there is a trace of a dust lane. It may be a member of the Local Group of galaxies.
NGC 404 is in the class of galaxies with active nuclei known as LINERs (Low-Ionization Nuclear Emission-line Regions). At least some LINERs are less energetic versions of Seyfert galaxies. Many astronomers believe that active galactic nuclei are powered by giant black holes lurking in the centers of many galaxies. (see also M-77).
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George Normandin, KAS
February 4th, 2003