Quote from the Deep Sky Field Guide to Uranometria 2000:
Very bright nucleus with narrow sharp dark lane.
NGC 5866 is a bright Lenticular Galaxy in the Constellation of Draco and the largest member of a small galaxy group. Based on the published red shift, (Hubble Constant of 62 Km/sec per Mpc) a rough distance estimate is 35 million light years, with a diameter of about 50,000 light years.
Lenticular galaxies are disk shaped like spiral galaxies, but mostly consist of old or middle-aged stars, like elliptical galaxies. Some have prominent dust lanes. NGC 5866’s dust lane is “buried” inside of a large outer envelope that makes the galaxy look something like an elliptical on long photographic exposures. Strangely, the dust lane is tilted slightly from the plane of the rest of the galaxy. Also, there is some new star formation in this galaxy near the outer edge of the disk.
Some listings show NGC 5866 to be Messier-102. However, most consider M-102 to be just a mistaken re-observation of M-101.
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George Normandin, KAS
July 28th, 1998
Revised: May 4th, 2002