Celestial Atlas
(NGC 2900 - 2949) ←     NGC Objects: NGC 2950 - 2999 Link for sharing this page on Facebook     → (NGC 3000 - 3049)
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Page last updated May 19, 2016
Completed barring future developments, including corresponding PGC page entries

NGC 2950 (= PGC 27765)
Discovered (Mar 19, 1790) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Feb 9, 1831) by John Herschel
A magnitude 10.9 lenticular galaxy (type (R)SB0(r)?) in Ursa Major (RA 09 42 35.2, Dec +58 51 05)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2950 (= GC 1888 = JH 616 = WH IV 68, 1860 RA 09 32 22, NPD 30 31.3) is "bright, pretty small, round, very gradually very much brighter middle and nucleus". The position precesses to RA 09 42 34.8, Dec +58 50 41, on the southern rim of the galaxy listed above and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 1320 km/sec, NGC 2950 is about 60 million light years away, in good agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 45 to 75 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 3.0 by 2.0 arcmin, it is about 50 thousand light years across.
SDSS image of region near lenticular galaxy NGC 2950
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2950
Below, a 3.2 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of lenticular galaxy NGC 2950

NGC 2951 (= PGC 27562 + PGC 1148459)
Discovered (Feb 6, 1864) by
Albert Marth
A pair of galaxies in Hydra
PGC 27562 = A magnitude 14.5(?) elliptical galaxy (type E/S0? pec) at RA 09 39 40.9, Dec -00 14 07
PGC 1148459 = A magnitude 15(?) lenticular galaxy (type E/SB0?) at RA 09 39 39.9, Dec -00 14 07
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2951 (= GC 5503, Marth 181, 1860 RA 09 32 29, NPD 89 37) is "pretty faint, small, extended". The position precesses to RA 09 39 39.4, Dec -00 14 51, only about 0.7 arcmin south southwest of the pair listed above, the description fits and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: The recessional velocities of the two galaxies (4830 km/sec for PGC 27562 and 4905 km/sec for PGC 1148459) are nearly the same and they appear to be interacting, so they are probably a physical pair at the same distance from us (based on their average recessional velocity of 4865 km/sec, about 225 million light years). Given that and its apparent size of 0.5 by 0.5 arcmin, PGC 27562 is about 35 thousand light years across, while the 0.35 by 0.35 arcmin apparent size of PGC 1148459 corresponds to about 25 thousand light years.
SDSS image of region near the pair of galaxies listed as NGC 2951
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2951
Below, a 1 arcmin wide SDSS image of the pair, showing their PGC designations
SDSS image of elliptical galaxy PGC 27562 and lenticular galaxy PGC 1148459, which comprise NGC 2951

NGC 2952 (= PGC 27411)
Discovered (1886) by
Frank Muller
A magnitude 14.5 spiral galaxy (type SABdm? pec) in Hydra (RA 09 37 37.0, Dec -10 11 00)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2952 (Muller list II (#414), 1860 RA 09 32 30, NPD 99 31.0) is "extremely faint, pretty small, irregularly round, suddenly brighter middle, 9.5 magnitude star 30 seconds of time to the east". The position precesses to RA 09 39 21.2, Dec -10 08 50, but there is nothing there. However (per Corwin), it is not uncommon for Leander McCormick observations to be off by a minute or two of right ascension, and there is a suitable candidate just under 2 minutes to the west of the NGC position which fits the description, both in having a bright nucleus (either due to a superimposed star or a compact companion) and an 11th magnitude star 30 seconds of time to its east; and there is nothing else in the region that Muller could have seen, so the identification of the galaxy listed above as NGC 2952 is reasonably certain.
Physical Information: The galaxy appears to have a superimposed star nearly in contact with the southeastern portion of its nucleus, but available images are sufficiently poor that it is also conceivable that the "star" is a compact galaxy interacting or colliding with the larger galaxy, which would help to explain its distorted appearance. Based on a recessional velocity of 9345 km/sec, a straightforward calculation indicates that NGC 2952 is about 435 million light years away. However, for objects at such distances we should take into account the expansion of the Universe during the time it took their light to reach us. Doing that shows that the galaxy was about 420 million light years away at the time the light by which we see it was emitted, about 425 million years ago (the difference between the two numbers being due to the expansion of the intervening space during the light-travel time). Given that and its apparent size of 0.75 by 0.45 arcmin, the galaxy is about 90 thousand light years across.
DSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2952
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2952
Below, a 1 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2952

NGC 2953 (= "PGC 5067675")
Recorded (Mar 18, 1836) by
John Herschel
A magnitude 14.0 star in Leo (RA 09 40 27.7, Dec +14 50 36)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2953 (= GC 1889 = JH 3182, 1860 RA 09 32 39, NPD 74 32.1) is "most extremely faint, suspected". The position precesses to RA 09 40 19.0, Dec +14 50 00, in a completely stellar field, but the description would fit a faint star just as well as a faint nebula, so the only question is which of the stars Herschel mistook for a nebula. The best indication (per Corwin) is that in Herschel's description of NGC 2954, observed on the same night, he notes "Another suspected 6 arcmin south, nearly on the same meridian", and the star listed above is an isolated object in nearly the correct relative position, so it is almost certainly what Herschel mistook for a nebula. (Listed in LEDA as star PGC 5067675, but that designation is not recognized by a search of the LEDA database.)
SDSS image of region near the star listed as NGC 2953, also showing NGC 2954
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on the star listed as NGC 2953, also showing NGC 2954

NGC 2954 (= PGC 27600)
Discovered (Mar 18, 1836) by
John Herschel
A magnitude 12.4 elliptical galaxy (type E3?) in Leo (RA 09 40 24.1, Dec +14 55 22)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2954 (= GC 1890 = JH 3181, 1860 RA 09 32 41, NPD 74 26.1) is "very faint, small, round, northern of 2", the other being NGC 2953. The position precesses to RA 09 40 21.2, Dec +14 56 00, less than an arcmin northwest of the galaxy listed above and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 3820 km/sec, NGC 2954 is about 180 million light years away, in reasonable agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 185 to 215 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 1.4 by 0.95 arcmin, it is about 75 thousand light years across.
SDSS image of region near elliptical galaxy NGC 2954, also showing the star listed as NGC 2953
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2954, also showing the star listed as NGC 2953
Below, a 1.8 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of elliptical galaxy NGC 2954

NGC 2955 (= PGC 27666)
Discovered (Mar 28, 1786) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Mar 11, 1831) by John Herschel
A magnitude 12.9 spiral galaxy (type (R)SA(rs)b?) in Leo Minor (RA 09 41 16.6, Dec +35 52 56)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2955 (= GC 1891 = JH 620 = WH III 541, 1860 RA 09 32 46, NPD 53 29.0) is "considerably faint, pretty small, irregularly round, gradually a little brighter middle, mottled but not resolved". The position precesses to RA 09 41 16.3, Dec +35 53 02, right on the galaxy listed above and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 7015 km/sec, a straightforward calculation indicates that NGC 2955 is about 325 million light years away. However, for objects at such distances we should take into account the expansion of the Universe during the time it took their light to reach us. Doing that shows that the galaxy was just under 320 million light years away at the time the light by which we see it was emitted, just over 320 million years ago (the difference between the two numbers being due to the expansion of the intervening space during the light-travel time). Given that and its apparent size of 1.7 by 1.2 arcmin, the galaxy is about 155 thousand light years across.
SDSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2955
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2955
Below, a 2 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2955

NGC 2956 (= PGC 27531)
Discovered (1886) by
Frank Muller
A magnitude 14.2 spiral galaxy (type SB(s)b?) in Hydra (RA 09 39 17.0, Dec -19 06 04)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2956 (Muller list II (#415), 1860 RA 09 32 48, NPD 108 32.0) is "very faint, very small, round, 9.5 magnitude star 4 arcmin to southeast". The position precesses to RA 09 39 20.7, Dec -19 09 51, nearly 4 arcmin south of the galaxy listed above, but there is nothing else nearby and the reference to the nearby stars, though not as accurate as might be hoped, makes the identification reasonably certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 9640 km/sec, a straightforward calculation indicates that NGC 2956 is about 450 million light years away. However, for objects at such distances we should take into account the expansion of the Universe during the time it took their light to reach us. Doing that shows that the galaxy was about 430 million light years away at the time the light by which we see it was emitted, about 440 million years ago (the difference between the two numbers being due to the expansion of the intervening space during the light-travel time). Given that and its apparent size of 0.8 by 0.3 arcmin, the galaxy is about 100 thousand light years across.
DSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2956
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2956
Below, a 1 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2956

NGC 2957 (= PGC 28113 + PGC 28119 (= PGC 2752861))
Discovered (Nov 4, 1831) by
John Herschel
A pair of galaxies in Draco RA 09 47 17.4, Dec +72 59 06
PGC 28119 = A magnitude 14.5(?) spiral galaxy (type Sa? pec) at RA 09 47 18.2, Dec +72 59 03
PGC 28113 = A magnitude 15(?) irregular galaxy (type Irr?) at RA 09 47 15.7, Dec +72 59 10
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2957 (= GC 1892 = JH 617, 1860 RA 09 33 08, NPD 16 22.2) is "extremely faint, 13th magnitude star near". The position precesses to RA 09 46 16.8, Dec +72 59 31, a minute of time west of the pair of galaxies listed above, but this is an error shared with Herschel's observation of nearby NGC 2963 on the same night, so the relative positions of the NGC objects and the 13th magnitude star southwest of the pair make the identification certain.
Warning About Non-Standard Designations: Per Corwin, the fainter galaxy is Markarian 121, which has received more attention than its brighter companion and is often called "NGC 2957A", while the brighter galaxy is often called "NGC 2957B". Such designations usually assign the letter A to the brighter object and B to the fainter one, but since no one pays any attention to whether non-standard designations make any sense, it is hardly unusual when they don't make sense.
Physical Information: The recessional velocities of the two galaxies are nearly the same (6850 km/sec for PGC 28119 and 6895 km/sec for PGC 28113), and their appearance suggests a strong interaction between them, implying that they are a physical pair and at the same distance from us. Based on their average recessional velocity of 6875 km/sec, NGC 2957 is about 320 million light years away. Given that, the 0.35 by 0.3 arcmin apparent size of PGC 28113 corresponds to about 35 thousand light years, and the 0.7 by 0.3 arcmin apparent size of PGC 28119 to about 65 thousand light years.
DSS image of region near the pair of galaxies listed as NGC 2957, also showing NGC 2963
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2957, also showing NGC 2963
Below, a 0.8 arcmin wide DSS image of the pair of galaxies
DSS image of irregular galaxy PGC 28113 and spiral galaxy PGC 28119, which comprise NGC 2957

NGC 2958 (= PGC 27620)
Discovered (Mar 7, 1877) by
Édouard Stephan
A magnitude 13.2 spiral galaxy (type S(r)bc?) in Leo (RA 09 40 41.6, Dec +11 53 18)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2958 (Stephan list IX (#20), 1860 RA 09 33 09, NPD 77 28.6) is "very faint, pretty small, round, a very little brighter middle". The position precesses to RA 09 40 42.9, Dec +11 53 27, on the eastern rim of the galaxy listed above and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 6665 km/sec, NGC 2958 is about 310 million light years away, in reasonable agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 330 to 355 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 1.1 by 0.7 arcmin, it is about 100 thousand light years across.
SDSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2958
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2958
Below, a 1.2 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2958

NGC 2959 (= PGC 27939)
Discovered (Oct 28, 1831) by
John Herschel
A magnitude 12.8 spiral galaxy (type (R)SAB(rs)ab? pec) in Ursa Major (RA 09 45 09.0, Dec +68 35 40)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NPD 2959 (= GC 1893 = JH 618, 1860 RA 09 33 18, NPD 20 46.0) is "faint, pretty large, round, very gradually a little brighter middle, star to north". The position precesses to RA 09 45 07.9, Dec +68 35 47, right on the galaxy listed above and there is a 9th magnitude star to the north, so the identification is certain. (Per Corwin, Herschel's original description stated that the object was south of a small group of stars, and the 9th magnitude star is one of an arc of half a dozen relatively bright stars eight to nine arcmin to its north, further confirming the identification.)
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 4430 km/sec, NGC 2959 is about 205 million light years away. Given that and its apparent size of 1.5 by 1.4 arcmin, it is about 90 thousand light years across.
SDSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2959, also showing spiral galaxy NGC 2961
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2959, also showing NGC 2961
Below, a 1.8 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on the galaxy
SDSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2959

NGC 2960 (= PGC 27619)
Discovered (Mar 4, 1826) by
John Herschel
A magnitude 12.4 spiral galaxy (type S(rs)a? pec) in Hydra (RA 09 40 36.4, Dec +03 34 37)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2960 (= GC 1894 = JH 621, 1860 RA 09 33 25, NPD 85 46.0) is "very faint, round, gradually brighter middle". The position precesses to RA 09 40 42.8, Dec +03 36 02, about 2 arcmin northeast of the galaxy listed above, but there is nothing else nearby and the description fits, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 4930 km/sec, NGC 2960 is about 230 million light years away, in good agreement with widely-varying redshift-independent distance estimates of 155 to 310 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 3.1 by 1.3 arcmin (counting its distorted outer extensions), it is about 210 thousand light years across. NGC 2960 is listed as a Seyfert galaxy (type Sy 3).
SDSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2960
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2960
Below, a 3.2 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2960

NGC 2961 (= PGC 27958)
Discovered (Dec 26, 1873) by
Lawrence Parsons, 4th Earl of Rosse
A magnitude 14.7 lenticular galaxy (type S0/a? pec) in Ursa Major (RA 09 45 22.5, Dec +68 36 30)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2961 (4th Lord Rosse, 1860 RA 09 33 33, NPD 20 45.1) is "considerably faint, small, a little extended, northeast of h618", h618 being NGC 2959. The position precesses to RA 09 45 22.7, Dec +68 36 39, right on the galaxy listed above, and it is northeast of NGC 2959, so the identification is certain.
Warning About Non-Standard Designations: NGC 2961 is sometimes pointlessly referred to as NGC 2959A; such usage should be strongly discouraged, as it has a perfectly good NGC designation of its own. Such non-standard usage often leads to data for one galaxy being incorrectly assigned to another one, leading to confusion about which data belong to one galaxy or the other, and anyone using such non-standard designations should be sentenced to a thousand lashes with a wet noodle.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 4500 km/sec, NGC 2961 is about 210 million light years away. Given that and its apparent size of 0.75 by 0.25, it is about 45 thousand light years across. Despite having a distance from us similar to that of NGC 2959, there is no obvious interaction between the two, so they are probably millions of light years apart and not a physical pair.
SDSS image of lenticular galaxy NGC 2961
Above, a 0.8 arcmin wide SDSS image of NGC 2961; see NGC 2959 for a wide-field image

NGC 2962 (= PGC 27635)
Discovered (Dec 10, 1864) by
Albert Marth
A magnitude 11.9 lenticular galaxy (type (R)SAB0(rs)a?) in Hydra (RA 09 40 53.9, Dec +05 09 57)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2962 (= GC 5504, Marth 182, 1860 RA 09 33 33, NPD 84 12) is "faint, very small, very little extended, pretty suddenly brighter middle". The position precesses to RA 09 40 53.7, Dec +05 10 01, right on the galaxy listed above and the description fits, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 1965 km/sec, NGC 2962 is about 90 million light years away, in good agreement with widely varying redshift-independent distance estimates of 75 to 180 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 2.6 by 1.8 arcmin, it is about 70 thousand light years across.
SDSS image of region near lenticular galaxy NGC 2962
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2962
Below, a 3 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of lenticular galaxy NGC 2962

NGC 2963 (= PGC 28155)
Discovered (Apr 3, 1785) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Nov 4, 1831) by John Herschel
A magnitude 13.5 spiral galaxy (type SBab?) in Draco (RA 09 47 50.5, Dec +72 57 52)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2963 (= GC 1895 = JH 619 = WH III 315, 1860 RA 09 33 39, NPD 16 23.7) is "very faint, very small, round, brighter middle". The position precesses to RA 09 46 46.1, Dec +72 57 58, about a minute of time west of the galaxy listed above, but that is an error shared with the nearby object observed by Herschel on the same night (NGC 2957), so their relative position and the star southwest of NGC 2957 makes the identification of both NGC objects certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 6865 km/sec, NGC 2963 is about 375 million light years away. Given that and its apparent size of 1.1 by 0.55 arcmin, it is about 120 thousand light years across. Listed (with some uncertainty, given the poor quality of the available images) as a starburst galaxy.
DSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2963, also showing NGC 2957
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2963, also showing NGC 2957
Below, a 1.3 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2963

NGC 2964 (= PGC 27777 = PGC 27782)
Discovered (Dec 7, 1785) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Jan 27, 1827) by John Herschel
A magnitude 11.3 spiral galaxy (type SAB(r)bc?) in Leo (RA 09 42 54.2, Dec +31 50 50)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 1964 (= GC 1896 = JH 622 = WH I 114, 1860 RA 09 34 36, NPD 57 31.0) is "bright, very large, a little extended, very gradually brighter middle, southwestern of 3", the others being NGC 2968 and 2970. The position precesses to RA 09 42 54.3, Dec +31 50 50, dead center on the galaxy listed above, and it is the southwestern of the string of three galaxies noted by the Herschels, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 1330 km/sec, NGC 2964 is about 60 million light years away, in good agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 40 to 75 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 3.1 by 1.4 arcmin, it is about 55 thousand light years across. The estimated distances of NGC 2964, 2968 and 2970 are reasonably similar, and the differences in their radial velocities could easily be due to peculiar (non-Hubble expansion) velocities, so it is quite possible that the three apparent companions are members of a physical group.
SDSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2964, also showing NGC 2968
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2964, also showing NGC 2968
Below, a 3.5 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2964
Below, a 1.5 by 2.4 arcmin wide image of the galaxy, with North on the left (Image Credit Hubble Legacy Archive)
'Raw' HST image of the central portions of spiral galaxy NGC 2964

NGC 2965 (= PGC 27813)
Discovered (Dec 31, 1788) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Mar 11, 1831) by John Herschel
A magnitude 13.4 lenticular galaxy (type S0? pec) in Leo Minor (RA 09 43 19.1, Dec +36 14 52)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2965 (= GC 1897 = JH 623 = WH III 751, 1860 RA 09 34 47, NPD 53 06.6) is "extremely faint, very small, round, brighter middle, mottled but not resolved". The position precesses to RA 09 43 17.4, Dec +36 15 12, on the northwestern outskirts of the galaxy listed above, the description fits and there is nothing comparable nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 6735 km/sec, NGC 2965 is about 315 million light years away. Given that and its apparent size of 1.8 by 1.1 arcmin, it is about 165 thousand light years across.
SDSS image of region near lenticular galaxy NGC 2965, also showing NGC 2971
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2965, also showing NGC 2971
Below, a 2.4 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of lenticular galaxy NGC 2965

NGC 2966 (= PGC 27734)
Discovered (Mar 16, 1884) by
Édouard Stephan
A magnitude 12.7 spiral galaxy (type SABbc? pec) in Sextans (RA 09 42 11.5, Dec +04 40 23)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2966 (Stephan list XIII (#49), 1860 RA 09 34 51, NPD 84 41.3) is "very faint star in very faint, a little extended nebulosity, faint star 30 arcsec to west". The position precesses to RA 09 42 10.7, Dec +04 40 34, on the northwestern rim of the galaxy listed above, the description fits (including the star on the western extension of the galaxy) and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 2045 km/sec, NGC 2966 is about 95 million light years away, in good agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 75 to 105 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 2.2 by 0.75 arcmin, it is about 60 thousand light years across. Listed as a starburst galaxy.
SDSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2966
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2966
Below, a 2.6 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2966

NGC 2967 (= PGC 27723)
Discovered (Dec 20, 1784) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Dec 20, 1827) by John Herschel
A magnitude 11.6 spiral galaxy (type SA(s)c?) in Sextans (RA 09 42 03.3, Dec +00 20 11)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2967 (= GC 1898 = JH 626 = WH II 275, 1860 RA 09 34 52, NPD 89 01.7) is "pretty faint, pretty large, round, very gradually a little brighter middle". The position precesses to RA 09 42 03.5, Dec +00 20 10, dead center on the galaxy listed above and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 1895 km/sec, NGC 2967 is about 90 million light years away, in reasonable agreement with a single redshift-independent distance estimate of 100 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 3.7 by 2.8 arcmin (counting its extended outer arms), it is about 95 thousand light years across.
SDSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2967
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2967
Below, a 4.4 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2967

NGC 2968 (= PGC 27800)
Discovered (Dec 7, 1785) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Jan 27, 1827) by John Herschel
A magnitude 11.9 lenticular galaxy (type (R)SAB0(rs)a? pec) in Leo (RA 09 43 12.0, Dec +31 55 43)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2968 (= GC 1899 = JH 624 = WH II 491, 1860 RA 09 34 53, NPD 57 26.1) is "pretty bright, pretty large, a little extended, very gradually a little brighter middle, 2nd of 3", the others being NGC 2964 and 2970. The position precesses to RA 09 43 11.4, Dec +31 55 42, almost dead center on the galaxy listed above, the description fits and the relative positions of its apparent companions make the identification certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 1565 km/sec, NGC 2968 is about 75 million light years away, in good agreement with widely varying redshift-independent distance estimates of 25 to 85 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 3.3 by 2.5 arcmin, it is about 70 thousand light years across. The estimated distances of NGC 2964, 2968 and 2970 are reasonably similar, and the differences in their radial velocities could easily be due to peculiar (non-Hubble expansion) velocities, so it is quite possible that the three apparent companions are members of a physical group. Even if so, how close they are to each other cannot be determined, but the distorted appearance of NGC 2968 suggests that it may be physically interacting with NGC 2970.
SDSS image of region near lenticular galaxy NGC 2968, also showing NGC 2964 and NGC 2970NGC 2964 and 2970
Below, a 4 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of lenticular galaxy NGC 2968

NGC 2969 (= PGC 27714)
Discovered (Mar 27, 1786) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Mar 14, 1828) by John Herschel
A magnitude 13.1 spiral galaxy (type SAB(s)bc? pec) in Sextans (RA 09 41 54.5, Dec -08 36 11)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2969 (= GC 1900 = JH 628 = WH III 527, 1860 RA 09 34 59, NPD 97 57.4) is "very faint, pretty small, irregularly round, very gradually a little brighter middle". The position precesses to RA 09 41 53.5, Dec -08 35 32, less than 0.7 arcmin north northwest of the center of the galaxy listed above (barely outside its outline), the description fits and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 4960 km/sec, NGC 2969 is about 230 million light years away, in good agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 195 to 235 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 1.5 by 1.35 arcmin, it is about 100 thousand light years across.
DSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2969
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2969
Below, a 1.8 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2969

NGC 2970 (= PGC 27827 = PGC 1973903)
Discovered (Mar 6, 1828) by
John Herschel
A magnitude 13.6 elliptical galaxy (type E1?) in Leo (RA 09 43 31.1, Dec +31 58 37)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2970 (= GC 1901 = JH 627, 1860 RA 09 35 13, NPD 57 23.1) is "faint, northeastern of 3", the others being NGC 2964 and 2968. (A note at the end of the NGC states that the object was not seen by d'Arrest, but was often observed at Birr Castle, confirming its existence.) The position precesses to RA 09 43 31.4, Dec +31 58 40, dead center on the galaxy listed above, and it is the northeastern of 3 (see the wide-field image of NGC 2968), so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 1620 km/sec, NGC 2970 is about 75 million light years away, in reasonable agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 85 to 95 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 0.6 by 0.55 arcmin, it is about 15 thousand light years across. The estimated distances of NGC 2964, 2968 and 2970 are reasonably similar, and the differences in their radial velocities could easily be due to peculiar (non-Hubble expansion) velocities, so it is quite possible that the three apparent companions are members of a physical group. Even if so, how close they are to each other cannot be determined, but the distorted appearance of NGC 2968 suggests that it may be physically interacting with NGC 2970.
SDSS image of region near elliptical galaxy NGC 2970, also showing NGC 2968
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2970, also showing NGC 2968
Below, a 1 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of elliptical galaxy NGC 2970

NGC 2971 (= PGC 27843)
Discovered (Mar 26, 1884) by
Édouard Stephan
A magnitude 14.0 spiral galaxy (type SB(rs)b?) in Leo Minor (RA 09 43 46.1, Dec +36 10 46)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2971 (Stephan list XIII (#50), 1860 RA 09 35 16, NPD 53 11.1) is "extremely faint, pretty small, irregularly round, a very little brighter middle". The position precesses to RA 09 43 45.9, Dec +36 10 39, well within the outline of the galaxy listed above and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 6780 km/sec, NGC 2971 is about 315 million light years away. Given that and its apparent size of 1.4 by 0.9 arcmin, it is about 130 thousand light years across.
SDSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2971, also showing NGC 2965
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2971, also showing NGC 2965
Below, a 1.6 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2971

NGC 2972 (= OCL 778 = "PGC 3518275", and almost certainly =
NGC 2999)
Discovered (May 9, 1826) by James Dunlop (and later listed as NGC 2972)
Discovered (May 9, 1826) by James Dunlop (and later listed as NGC 2999)
Also observed (Feb 18, 1836) by John Herschel (and later listed as NGC 2972)
Also observed (Apr 13, 1834) by John Herschel (and later listed as NGC 2999)
A magnitude 9.9 open cluster (type I1p) in Vela (RA 09 40 13, Dec -50 19 12)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2972 (= GC 1902 = JH 3183, Dunlop 397, 1860 RA 09 35 17, NPD 139 41.5) is a "cluster, small, a little rich, pretty compressed, 13th magnitude stars". The position precesses to RA 09 40 17.6, Dec -50 19 33, not far from the center of the cluster listed above and well within its boundaries, so the identification is certain. (See NGC 2999 for a discussion of the duplicate entry.)
Physical Information: Small clusters can be difficult to see against the background of the Milky Way in modern photographs (such as the one below), but the relatively constant brightness and color of NGC 2972's two dozen or so brighter stars make the cluster reasonably visible. The cluster is about 6700 light years away, so its apparent size of about 5 arcmin corresponds to 10 light years. Listed in LEDA as an object of unknown nature with designation PGC 3518275, but that designation is not recognized by a search of the LEDA database.
DSS image of region near open cluster NGC 2972
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2972

NGC 2973
Recorded (Feb 5, 1837) by
John Herschel
Almost certainly three stars in Antlia (RA 09 41 34.7, Dec -30 02 53)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2973 (= GC 1903 = JH 4018, hon, 1860 RA 09 35 23, NPD 119 24.7) is "extremely faint, pretty small, 8th magnitude star to east" ("hon" meaning that this was among a few objects observed by Herschel during his Cape Observations, but accidentally omitted from his catalog of those observations, and only found in the errata). The position precesses to RA 09 41 31.4, Dec -30 02 50, in a completely stellar field, so NGC 2973 is presumably some small group of stars. The "star to east" must be 9th magnitude HD 84084, so (per Corwin) the most likely candidates are the triple star about 0.7 arcmin due east of the NGC position but northwest of HD 84084, or the double star due west of HD 84084 but about 2.6 arcmin south of the NGC position. Either positional error would not be terribly unusual, so the reason that Corwin slightly prefers (and I greatly prefer) the triple listed above is that its 25 arcsec apparent size could easily appear to be closer to 40 arcsec as a result of "seeing", but the 10 arcsec separation of the double star could not possibly appear that large, and would almost certainly have been described by Herschel as "extremely small". So although the identification of NGC 2973 as the triple star cannot be considered absolutely certain, it seems certain enough. Note: LEDA lists PGC 27439 as NGC 2973, so although that is certainly wrong it is discussed in the next entry.
Discovery Notes: Guillaume Bigourdan tried to observe every NGC object visible from Paris, but in the case of NGC 2973, although he thought he might have seen something near its position on Mar 5, 1891, he was sufficiently uncertain whether what he thought he saw actually existed that he did not attempt to measure its position.
Physical Information: The 25 arcsec wide "asterism" consists of stars of magnitude 14.9, 15.6 and 15.7, and (although too faint for Herschel to have noticed) a 17.5 magnitude star close to the northeastern member of the triple. Whether they have any physical relationship to each other is almost certainly unknown.
DSS image of region near the small group of stars listed as NGC 2973
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on the probable NGC 2973

PGC 27439 (not =
NGC 2973)
Not an NGC object but listed here since sometimes misidentified as NGC 2973
A magnitude 13(?) spiral galaxy (type Sa?) in Antlia (RA 09 37 59.6, Dec -30 08 55)
Historical Misidentification: As noted above, LEDA misidentifies PGC 27439 as NGC 2973. If the position were "off" the NGC position by a simple offset in right ascension or declination, or the NGC description fit the galaxy, that might be reasonable. But there is no 8th magnitude star anywhere near the galaxy, and its offset of almost 4 minutes of time and 6 arcmin of declination would be a very unusual mistake; so probably whoever was doing the (mis)identification of NGC 2973 simply picked a nearby galaxy more or less at random, and PGC 27439 was the unlucky winner of the lottery.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 4390 km/sec, PGC 27439 is about 205 million light years away. Given that and its apparent size of 1.3 by 0.9 arcmin, it is about 75 thousand light years across.
DSS image of region near spiral galaxy PGC 27439, which is sometimes misidentified as NGC 2973
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on PGC 27439
Below, a 1.6 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of spiral galaxy PGC 27439, which is sometimes misidentified as NGC 2973

NGC 2974 (= PGC 27762 =
NGC 2652)
Discovered (Jan 6, 1785) by William Herschel (and later listed as NGC 2974)
Also observed (Mar 12, 1826) by John Herschel
Discovered (1886) by Ormond Stone (and later listed as NGC 2652)
A magnitude 10.9 lenticular galaxy (type S0(r)a? pec) in Sextans (RA 09 42 33.3, Dec -03 41 57)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2974 (= GC 1904 = JH 630 = WH I 61, 1860 RA 09 35 29, NPD 93 03.7) is "bright, considerably small, irregularly round, brighter middle, 9th magnitude star 43 arcsec to southwest". The position precesses to RA 09 42 32.9, Dec -03 41 54, right on the galaxy listed above, there is nothing else nearby and the star on its southwestern outline makes the identification certain.
NGC Designation: Stone's right ascension was an hour of time west of the correct position, making the duplicate entry inevitable, but his description was perfect, so there is no doubt about the identity of the duplicate listing. Usually, this would mean that the galaxy would be referred to by the smaller entry number (as NGC 2652), but the identity of NGC 2652 was unknown until very recently, and after more than 120 years calling this galaxy NGC 2974 most references are reluctant to change its designation, so in this case the entry for NGC 2652 is treated as the duplicate, and NGC 2974 is treated as the main entry.
Physical Information: The galaxy is usually classified as elliptical, but it has a large number of (presumably) circular patterns centered on the nucleus, suggesting that it is actually a lenticular galaxy, with peculiar aspects more characteristic of a spiral galaxy (whence its type shown above). Based on a recessional velocity of 1885 km/sec, NGC 2974 is about 90 million light years away, in good agreement with widely varying redshift-independent distance estimates of 40 to 160 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of about 3.6 by 2.4 arcmin, it is about 90 thousand light years across. Listed as a Seyfert galaxy (type Sy 2).
DSS image of region near lenticular galaxy NGC 2974
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2974
Below, a 4 arcmin wide image of the galaxy (Image Credit & © Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey; used by permission)
Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey image of lenticular galaxy NGC 2974

NGC 2975 (= PGC 27664)
Discovered (1886) by
Ormond Stone
Probably a magnitude 14.8 lenticular galaxy (type E/SA0?) in Hydra (RA 09 41 16.1, Dec -16 40 27)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NPD 2975 (Ormond Stone list I (#157), 1860 RA 09 35 35, NPD 106 00.8) is "most extremely faint, small, round, gradually brighter middle". The position precesses to RA 09 42 13.6, Dec -16 38 59, but there is nothing there. Bigourdan failed to find anything near the supposed position on Jan 23, 1890, so a problem was known to exist very early on, but there appears to be no mention of how an identification of NGC 2975 with the galaxy listed above was made. Odds are that it is based on the fact that Leander McCormick Observatory positions were often off by a minute or two in right ascension, and if the right ascension recorded by Stone is reduced by one minute, the "corrected" position precesses to RA 09 41 13.9, Dec -16 38 58, about 1.5 arcmin north northwest of the galaxy listed above. The description fits and there is nothing else anywhere near the parallel of declination, so the identification is reasonable, though not as certain as it would be if there was a sketch of the region or a note such as "star to northwest". And though there is nothing to say whether this is the line of reasoning that was followed, there is also nothing to indicate that anyone has questioned the identification, so it is at least (hopefully!) better than nothing.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 16200 km/sec, a straightforward calculation indicates that NGC 2975 is about 755 million light years away. However, for objects at such distances we should take into account the expansion of the Universe during the time it took their light to reach us. Doing that shows that the galaxy was about 710 million light years away at the time the light by which we see it was emitted, about 725 million years ago (the difference between the two numbers being due to the expansion of the intervening space during the light-travel time). Given that and its apparent size of 0.4 by 0.35 arcmin, it is about 80 thousand light years across.
DSS image of region near lenticular galaxy NGC 2975
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2975
Below, a 0.8 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of lenticular galaxy NGC 2975

NGC 2976 (= PGC 28120)
Discovered (Nov 8, 1801) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Apr 2, 1832) by John Herschel
A magnitude 10.2 spiral galaxy (type Scd? pec) in Ursa Major (RA 09 47 15.3, Dec +67 55 00)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2976 (= GC 1905 = JH 625 = WH I 285, 1860 RA 09 35 36, NPD 21 26.6) is "bright, very large, much extended 152°, star involved". The position precesses to RA 09 47 12.7, Dec +67 54 55, right on the galaxy listed above, the description fits and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: NGC 2976's recessional velocity of only 5 km/sec is useless for determining its distance, and redshift-independent distance estimates range from 7 to 19 million light years, with a median value of 12 million light years. Presuming the median is reasonably accurate, the galaxy's apparent size of 4.7 by 2.6 arcmin corresponds to about 15 thousand light years. The galaxy is on the fringe of the M81 group of galaxies, and it is believed that interaction with galaxies in that group stripped its outer regions of gas about 500 million years ago, so that new stars are now forming only within a 5000 light year wide region at the center of the galaxy.
SDSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2976
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2976
Below, a 5 arcmin wide SDSS image of the alaxy
SDSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2976
Below, a 2.2 by 2.4 arcmin wide HST image of part of the galaxy (North is at the top)
(Image Credit NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton & B. Williams (University of Washington, Seattle))
HST image of part of spiral galaxy NGC 2976
Below, a 3 by 3.6 arcmin wide image of the galaxy, using Hubble Legacy data to fill in missing areas
(Image Credit Hubble Legacy Archive, Wikimedia Commons)
Combination of HST and Hubble Legacy Archive images of most of spiral galaxy NGC 1976

NGC 2977 (= PGC 27845)
Discovered (Apr 2, 1801) by
William Herschel
A magnitude 12.5 spiral galaxy (type Sb?) in Draco (RA 09 43 46.1, Dec +74 51 35)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2977 (= GC 1906 = WH I 282, 1860 RA 09 35 48, NPD 14 15.1) is "considerably bright, pretty large, irregular figure (place doubtful)". This precesses to RA 09 49 43.9, Dec +75 06 16, but as the "doubtful" position might lead us to expect, there is nothing there. A note at the end of the NGC states that all Herschel's discoveries of April 2, 1801 (I 282-284, II 903-905 and III 963 - 971) were affected by some large error. In that note Dreyer assumes the problem was due to all the observations being compared with a single star which was presumably misidentified, but that proved to be incorrect, as discussed in the Discovery Notes below. However, thanks to a 1911 request by Dreyer for the Astronomer Royal to photograph the region involved, in Dreyer's 1912 publication of corrections to Herschel's observations he was able to state "The place according to Greenwich plate is (1860 RA) 09 29 42, (NPD) 14 30.5.". This precesses to RA 09 43 45.9, Dec +74 51 34, dead center on the galaxy listed above, so the identification is certain.
Discovery Notes: As noted above, Herschel's positions for everything he observed on Apr 2, 1801 were very poor. Dreyer assumed that this was due to his using an incorrect comparison star, but though he was correct in recognizing the problem, his suggestion as to its cause was not correct. In 2011-12 Steinicke showed that instead of Herschel placing his telescope on the meridian, as was his usual practice, he must have placed it 7 degrees off the meridian (corresponding to an error of 28 minutes of time in right ascension), causing his sister Caroline's reductions to be off by some fraction of that 7 degrees, depending upon the declination of the objects observed. A long note by Corwin for NGC 3752 discusses the matter in great detail, firmly establishing the identities of all the NGC objects in question on the basis of Steinicke's recalculations and the ROG (Royal Observatory Greenwich) plates.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 3050 km/sec, NGC 2977 is about 140 million light years away, in good agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 140 to 145 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 1.5 by 0.65 arcmin, it is about 60 thousand light years across.
DSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2977
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2977
Below, a 1.6 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2977

NGC 2978 (= PGC 27808)
Discovered (Mar 10, 1886) by
Lewis Swift
Also observed (Jan 1, 1898 to Jun 30, 1898) by Herbert Howe
A magnitude 12.8 spiral galaxy (type (R)SAB(rs)bc?) in Sextans (RA 09 43 16.8, Dec -09 44 45)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2978 (Swift list III (#46), 1860 RA 09 36 09, NPD 99 07.7) is "extremely faint, small, round, III 528 ten arcmin to north", III 528 being NGC 2980. The second IC lists a corrected RA (per Howe) of 09 36 25. The corrected NGC position precesses to RA 09 43 17.4, Dec -09 46 00, about 1.2 arcmin south of the galaxy listed above, and Howe's actual position of (1900) RA 09 38 23, Dec -09 17.3 falls right on the galaxy. The description fits, there is nothing else nearby, and NGC 2980 is about 8 arcmin to the north, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: The NED lists two recessional velocities, 1800 km/sec and 5645 km/sec. The former corresponds to a distance of only 85 million light years, while the latter corresponds to a distance of 265 million light years. Redshift-independent distance estimates range from 135 to 330 million light years, with a median value much closer to the larger distance, implying that the 1800 km/sec recessional velocity is wrong, presumably due to a misidentification of the object that the radial velocity belongs to. (This is one of the reasons for trying to determine exactly which galaxies correspond to a given designation.) Given a distance of 265 million light years, the galaxy's apparent size of 0.95 by 0.85 arcmin corresponds to about 75 thousand light years, which is a far more reasonable value for a galaxy of its appearance than the much smaller value that would correspond to the (almost certainly incorrect) smaller distance.
DSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2978
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2978
Below, a 1.1 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2978

NGC 2979 (= PGC 27795, and probably =
NGC 3050)
Discovered (Mar 25, 1786) by William Herschel (and later listed as NGC 2979)
Also observed (Mar 9, 1828) by John Herschel (and later listed as NGC 2979)
Recorded (1886) by Frank Muller (and later listed as NGC 3050)
A magnitude 12.3 spiral galaxy (type (R)SA(r)a?) in Sextans (RA 09 43 08.7, Dec -10 23 00)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2979 (= GC 1907 = JH 631 = WH III 521, 1860 RA 09 36 17, NPD 99 44.7) is "pretty faint, pretty small, a very little extended, pretty suddenly bright middle". The position precesses to RA 09 43 08.2, Dec -10 22 59, right on the galaxy listed above, the description fits and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain. (See NGC 3050 for a discussion of the double listing.)
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 2720 km/sec, NGC 2979 is about 125 million light years away. Given that and its apparent size of 1.5 by 0.9 arcmin, it is about 55 thousand light years across. It is listed as a Seyfert galaxy (type Sy 2).
DSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2979
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2979
Below, a 1.8 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2979

NGC 2980 (= PGC 27799)
Discovered (Mar 27, 1786) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Mar 9, 1828) by John Herschel
A magnitude 13.0 spiral galaxy (type SAB(s)c?) in Sextans (RA 09 43 12.0, Dec -09 36 45)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2980 (= GC 1908 = JH 632 = WH III 528, 1860 RA 09 36 18, NPD 98 58.0) is "very faint, pretty small, a little extended 0°, very gradually a little brighter middle". The position precesses to RA 09 43 10.7, Dec -09 36 17, on the northwestern rim of the galaxy listed above, the description fits and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 5720 km/sec, NGC 2980 is about 265 million light years away, in good agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 225 to 335 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 1.75 by 0.75 arcmin, it is about 135 thousand light years across.
DSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2980
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2980
Below, a 2 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2980

NGC 2981 (= PGC 27925)
Almost certainly discovered (Mar 27, 1886) by
Johann Palisa
but discovery attributed by Steinicke to Samuel Oppenheim
A magnitude 13.6 spiral galaxy (type SAB(rs)bc?) in Leo (RA 09 44 56.6, Dec +31 05 52)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2981 (Palisa, 1860 RA 09 36 40, NPD 58 14.3) is "very faint". The position precesses to RA 09 44 55.6, Dec +31 07 18, less than 1.5 arcmin north of the galaxy listed above and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Discovery Notes: Although Dreyer credits Palisa with the observation, the paper published by Dr. Weiss of the Vienna Observatory which reported the observation used variations of the Greek letter π (pi) to indicate observations by Palisa, and the observation that became NGC 2981 is marked with an ω (omega). In the remarks for Dr. Weiss' paper there is no indication of anyone who might be associated with that symbol, but Dr. Oppenheim's observations are indicated by variations on the letter ο (omicron), and Steinicke supposes the omega to be an incorrect indication that Oppenheim was the observer. However, every other nebula listed in the paper by Dr. Weiss was observed by Palisa, and he observed two other objects only a few minutes of time to the west on the night in question (which probably means only a few minutes earlier), so it seems far more likely that Palisa was the actual observer, and the omega was supposed to be a pi.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 10405 km/sec, a straightforward calculation indicates that NGC 2981 is about 485 million light years away. However, for objects at such distances we should take into account the expansion of the Universe during the time it took their light to reach us. Doing that shows that the galaxy was about 465 million light years away at the time the light by which we see it was emitted, about 475 million years ago (the difference between the two numbers being due to the expansion of the intervening space during the light-travel time). Given that and its apparent size of 1.2 by 1.0 arcmin, the galaxy is about 160 thousand light years across.
SDSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2981
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2981
Below, a 1.5 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2981

NGC 2982 (= OCL 770 = "PGC 3518276")
Discovered (Jun 24, 1826) by
James Dunlop
Also observed (Feb 28, 1837) by John Herschel (3184)
An open cluster (type III1p) in Vela (RA 09 42 00, Dec -44 00 00)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2982 (= GC 1910 = JH 3184, (Dunlop #468), 1860 RA 09 36 52, NPD 133 33.7) is a "cluster, poor, extended, stars from 10th to 11th magnitude". The position precesses to RA 09 42 18.8, Dec -44 11 58, but there is nothing there. Per Corwin the problem is due to the fact that the NPD published in Herschel's Cape of Good Horn observations actually belongs to the next object observed that night; so although the right ascension might be reasonably accurate, the declination could be off by half a degree or more, depending upon how much Herschel moved his telescope north and south while allowing the sky to sweep past his field of view. Based on Herschel's description ("A cluster of about 20 stars 11 m, and 2 of 10' [10.5] m, forming an oblong nearly in parallel."), the cluster should consist of a number of bright stars scattered along an east-west line. The cluster listed above is only 12 arcmin north of the invalid declination, perfectly fits Herschel's description, and as a result is generally considered to be NGC 2982.
Discovery Notes: Dreyer did not list Dunlop's observations unless confirmed by Herschel, so the prior discovery is not noted in the NGC entry; but later study has determined that Dunlop did observe this object, hence the inclusion of his observation in parentheses. As shown above, LEDA lists the cluster as PGC 3518276; but that designation is not recognized by a search of the LEDA database.
Physical Information: NGC 2982 is believed to be a little over 8000 light years away. Given that and its apparent size of 12 by 7 arcmin, it is about 30 light years across.
DSS image of region near open cluster NGC 2982
Above, a 15 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2982

NGC 2983 (= PGC 27840)
Discovered (Mar 10, 1785) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Feb 1, 1837) by John Herschel
Also observed (Jul 1, 1899 to Jun 30, 1900) by Herbert Howe
A magnitude 11.8 lenticular galaxy (type SB0(rs)a?) in Hydra (RA 09 43 41.1, Dec -20 28 38)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2983 (= GC 1911 = JH 3185 = WH III 289, 1860 RA 09 37 08, NPD 109 49.9) is "faint, pretty small, round, brighter middle, mottled but not resolved, stellar". The position precesses to RA 09 43 39.0, Dec -20 28 16, on the northwestern rim of the galaxy listed above and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Discovery Notes: A note at the end of the NGC quotes John Herschel but adds nothing to the NGC entry, so is added here only in passing: "h 3185 = III 289. P.D. of Auwers 5' too small, owing to a misprint in P. T.". And in a 1900 paper, Howe states that a 14th magnitude star is "a trifle north" and 2 seconds of time to the west (in the images below this is the star superimposed on the image of the galaxy, about halfway from the nucleus to the western rim of the galaxy).
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 2030 km/sec, NGC 2983 is about 95 million light years away, in good agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 70 to 135 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 2.4 by 1.4 arcmin, it is about 65 thousand light years across.
DSS image of region near lenticular galaxy NGC 2983
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2983 (the star at top is magnitude 6.6 HD 84257)
Below, a 2.6 arcmin wide image of the galaxy (Image Credit & © Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey; used by permission)
Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey image of lenticular galaxy NGC 2983

NGC 2984 (= PGC 27838 =
IC 556)
Discovered (Mar 15, 1784) by William Herschel (and later listed as NGC 2984)
Also observed (January 1828) by John Herschel (and later listed as NGC 2984)
Discovered (Apr 22, 1892) by Stephane Javelle (and later listed as IC 556)
A magnitude 13.4 lenticular galaxy (type S0?) in Leo (RA 09 43 40.4, Dec +11 03 39)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2984 (= GC 1912 = JH 633 = WH III 34, 1860 RA 09 37 23, NPD 78 20.2) is "extremely faint, very small, round, brighter middle (? PD 15')", the query meaning that John Herschel considered his position only approximate, and thought perhaps his father's position, which was north of his own, might be more accurate. The NGC position precesses to RA 09 44 54.6, Dec +11 01 21, while the more northerly position precesses to RA 09 44 54.8, Dec +11 06 33. Both positions lie in a completely stellar region, but there is a reasonable candidate a minute to the west of them lying between the two declinations, namely the galaxy accurately measured by Javelle and then listed as IC 556. In the 1920's Karl Reinmuth, after doing a survey of the elder Herschel's observations, suggested that IC 556 was NGC 2984, and that suggestion has been generally accepted for nearly a century, as indicated by the title of this entry.
Discovery Notes: William Herschel's comparison star was 5 (ξ) Leonis, whose modern position is J2000 RA 09 31 56.7, Dec +11 17 59. In the 216 years since Herschel's observation, its proper motion has reduced the star's right ascension by 0.1 seconds of time and 19 seconds of arc, so in 1784 it was at J2000 RA 09 31 56.8, Dec +11 18 18, or (1784) RA 09 20 15.7, Dec +12 14 48. Herschel's offsets were 13 minutes of time east and 10 arcmin south of the star, so III 34 should have been at (1784) RA 09 33 15.7, Dec +12 04 48, which precesses to J2000 RA 09 44 53.5, Dec +11 05 51, just over a minute of time east and 2 arcmin north of IC 556. IC 557 is also in the region, but it is half a magnitude fainter than IC 556, which is already near the limit of the Herschels' ability to observe faint nebulae, and its nucleus (which is all the Herschels could have seen of either galaxy) is much fainter, so it is considered a far less likely candidate.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 6225 km/sec, NGC 2984 is about 290 million light years away. Given that and its apparent size of 0.7 by 0.6 arcmin, it is about 60 thousand light years across.
SDSS image of region near lenticular galaxy IC 556, which is almost certainly NGC 2984
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2984 = IC 556, also showing IC 557
Below, an 8 arcmin wide simulation of the appearance of the galaxies as seen by visual observers
SDSS image of region between NGC 2984 = IC 556 and IC 557, simulating their appearance to visual observers, to show how unlikely it is that NGC 2984 might be IC 557
Below, a 1 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of lenticular galaxy NGC 2984 = IC 556

NGC 2985 (= PGC 28316)
Discovered (Apr 3, 1785) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Nov 4, 1831) by John Herschel
Also observed (Oct 20, 1863) by Heinrich d'Arrest
Also observed (Oct 14, 1865) by George Rümker
A magnitude 10.4 spiral galaxy (type (R)SA(rs)ab?) in Ursa Major (RA 09 50 22.2, Dec +72 16 44)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2985 (= GC 1909 = JH 629 = WH I 78, 1860 RA 09 37 38, NPD 17 04.5) is "very bright, considerably large, round, pretty suddenly much brighter middle, star involved to east". The position precesses to RA 09 50 22.1, Dec +72 16 43, dead center on the galaxy listed above, the description fits (including the "star involved to east") and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Discovery Notes: In Dreyer's 1877 GC Supplement he notes that (per d'Arrest and G. Rümker) the RA for John Herschel's GC 1909 was a minute of time too small. That correction is included in the NGC entry, but means that d'Arrest and Rümker should be listed as other observers, as I have done above.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 1320 km/sec, NGC 2985 is about 60 million light years away, in reasonable agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 65 to 75 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of about 7 by 6 arcmin, it is about 130 thousand light years across, counting its faint outer arms. It is listed as a Seyfert galaxy (type Sy 1.9).
DSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2985
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2985
Below, an 8 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy, including its faint outer regions
DSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2985
Below, a 1.4 by 1.8 arcmin wide image of the core of the galaxy (Image Credit Hubble Legacy Archive, Judy Schmidt)
HST image of the core of spiral galaxy NGC 2985

NGC 2986 (= PGC 27885)
Discovered (Mar 10, 1785) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Feb 12, 1885) by Basilius Engelhardt
A magnitude 10.8 elliptical galaxy (type E2?) in Hydra (RA 09 44 16.0, Dec -21 16 41)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2986 (= GC 1913 = WH II 311, Engelhardt, 1860 RA 09 37 47, NPD 110 38.3) is "pretty bright, pretty small, irregularly round, much brighter middle". The position precesses to RA 09 44 16.4, Dec -21 16 44, right on the galaxy listed above, the description fits and there is nothing comparable nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 2300 km/sec, NGC 2986 is about 105 million light years away, in good agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 70 to 155 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 5.0 by 4.0 arcmin, it is about 155 thousand light years across.
DSS image of region near elliptical galaxy NGC 2986
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2986
Below, a 6 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of elliptical galaxy NGC 2986
Below, a 5 arcmin wide image of the galaxy (Image Credit & © Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey; used by permission)
Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey image of elliptical galaxy NGC 2986

NGC 2987 (= PGC 27981)
Discovered (Mar 25, 1884) by
Édouard Stephan
A magnitude 12.9 spiral galaxy (type Sab?) in Sextans (RA 09 45 41.5, Dec +04 56 31)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2987 (Stephan list XIII (#51), 1860 RA 09 38 22, NPD 84 25.0) is "extremely faint, small, irregular figure, several very faint stars involved". The position precesses to RA 09 45 42.0, Dec +04 56 27, right on the galaxy listed above and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 3740 km/sec, NGC 2987 is about 175 million light years away, in good agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 175 to 185 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 1.45 by 0.7 arcmin, it is about 75 thousand light years across.
SDSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2987
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2987
Below, a 1.6 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2987

NGC 2988 (= PGC 28078)
Discovered (Feb 19, 1855) by
R. J. Mitchell
A magnitude 14.6 spiral galaxy (type SBbc?) in Leo (RA 09 46 48.0, Dec +22 00 44)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2988 (= GC 1916, 3rd Lord Rosse, 1860 RA 09 38 50, NPD 67 21) is "extremely faint, west of h634", h634 being NGC 2991. The position precesses to RA 09 46 43.6, Dec +22 00 22, just over an arcmin west southwest of the galaxy listed above, but the reference to NGC 2991 and the lack of anything else in the region makes the identification certain.
Discovery Notes: Although Dreyer credits the report of the discovery to William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, he notes that many of Rosse's nebular discoveries were actually made by his assistants, George Stoney, Bindon Stoney and R. J. Mitchell.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 7610 km/sec, a straightforward calculation indicates that NGC 2988 is about 355 million light years away. However, for objects at such distances we should take into account the expansion of the Universe during the time it took their light to reach us. Doing that shows that the galaxy was about 345 million light years away at the time the light by which we see it was emitted, about 350 million years ago (the difference between the two numbers being due to the expansion of the intervening space during the light-travel time). Given that and its apparent size of 0.75 by 0.15 arcmin, it is about 75 thousand light years across. The recessional velocity of NGC 2988 is sufficiently similar to that of its apparent companion (NGC 2991) that they may be a physical pair; and if so, the slightly distorted appearance of NGC 2991 suggests that they may be close enough to have interacted with each other at some time.
SDSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2988, also showing part of NGC 2991
Above, a 0.8 arcmin wide SDSS image of NGC 2988, also showing NGC 2991 (which see for other images)

NGC 2989 (= PGC 27962)
Discovered (Feb 12, 1836) by
John Herschel
A magnitude 13.0 spiral galaxy (type SAB(s)bc? pec) in Hydra (RA 09 45 25.2, Dec -18 22 26)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2989 (= GC 1915 = JH 3186, 1860 RA 09 38 52, NPD 107 44.4) is "faint, round, gradually brighter middle, double star to east". The position precesses to RA 09 45 27.7, Dec -18 22 58, only about 0.8 arcmin southeast of the galaxy listed above, the description fits (including the double star to the southeast) and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 4145 km/sec, NGC 2989 is about 195 million light years away, in good agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 135 to 210 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of about 2.5 by 1.05 arcmin (including its extended outer arms), it is about 140 thousand light years across. NGC 2989 is listed as a starburst galaxy.
DSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2989
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2989
Below, a 2.4 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2989
Below, a 0.8 by 0.85 arcmin wide image of the nucleus (Image Credit Hubble Legacy Archive, Wikimedia Commons)
HST image of core of spiral galaxy NGC 2989

NGC 2990 (= PGC 28026 = PGC 1287864)
Discovered (Dec 29, 1786) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Feb 27, 1865) by Heinrich d'Arrest
A magnitude 12.7 spiral galaxy (type SABbc?) in Sextans (RA 09 46 17.2, Dec +05 42 32)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2990 (= GC 1914 = WH II 624, d'Arrest, 1860 RA 09 38 56, NPD 83 38.3) is "faint, pretty small, a little extended 90°" (Herschel's position was poor, so Dreyer used d'Arrest's position, which was 1860 RA 09 38 56.5, NPD 83 38 16). The position precesses to RA 09 46 17.4, Dec +05 43 05, only half an arcmin north of the galaxy listed above, the description fits and there is nothing comparable nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 3090 km/sec, NGC 2990 is about 145 million light years away, in good agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 95 to 150 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 1.15 by 0.6 arcmin, it is about 50 thousand light years across.
SDSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2990
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2990
Below, a 1.3 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 2990

NGC 2991 (= PGC 28079)
Discovered (Feb 24, 1827) by
John Herschel
A magnitude 12.6 lenticular galaxy (type S0? pec) in Leo (RA 09 46 50.1, Dec +22 00 50)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2991 (= GC 1917 = JH 634, 1860 RA 09 38 57, NPD 67 20.5) is "faint, very small, brighter middle, southwestern of 2", the other being NGC 2994. The position precesses to RA 09 46 50.6, Dec +22 00 51, right on the galaxy listed above, the description fits (including its position relative to NGC 2994) and there is nothing comparable nearby, so the identification is certain.
Discovery Notes: The identity of the galaxy on its western rim, NGC 2988 was confirmed by its position relative to NGC 2991, as noted in its entry.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 7455 km/sec, a straightforward calculation indicates that NGC 2991 is about 345 million light years away, in fair agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 370 to 400 million light years. However, for objects at such distances we should take into account the expansion of the Universe during the time it took their light to reach us. Doing that shows that the galaxy was about 335 million light years away at the time the light by which we see it was emitted, about 340 million years ago (the difference between the two numbers being due to the expansion of the intervening space during the light-travel time). Given that and its apparent size of 1.0 by 0.7 arcmin, it is about 100 thousand light years across. The recessional velocity of NGC 2991 is sufficiently similar to that of its apparent companion (NGC 2988) that they may be a physical pair; and if so, the slightly distorted appearance of NGC 2991 suggests that they may be close enough to have interacted with each other at some time.
SDSS image of lenticular galaxy NGC 2991, also showing NGC 2988 and NGC 2994
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2991, also showing NGC 2988 and 2994
Below, a 1.5 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy and NGC 2988
SDSS image of lenticular galaxy NGC 2991, also showing NGC 2988

NGC 2992 (= PGC 27982, and with
NGC 2993 = Arp 245)
Discovered (Feb 8, 1785) by William Herschel
Also observed (Dec 16, 1827) by John Herschel
A magnitude 12.2 spiral galaxy (type Sa? pec) in Hydra (RA 09 45 42.0, Dec -14 19 35)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2992 (= GC 1918 = JH 635 = WH III 277, 1860 RA 09 38 58, NPD 103 41.1) is "considerably faint, small, round, brighter middle, stellar, western of 2", the other being NGC 2993. The position precesses to RA 09 45 41.9, Dec -14 19 41, right on the galaxy listed above, the description fits and save for the "eastern of 2" there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: The distended portions of NGC 2992 and NGC 2993 make it clear that they are interacting, and therefore at the same distance. The recessional velocity of NGC 2992 is 2310 km/sec, while that of NGC 2993 is 2430 km/sec, but the difference of 120 km/sec must represent their "peculiar velocity" (their non-Hubble expansion velocity relative to each other), so their average recessional velocity should be used to estimate their Hubble distance. That value of 2370 km/sec corresponds to a distance of about 110 million light years, in good agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 95 to 125 million light years for NGC 2992, and 100 million light years for NGC 2993. Given that and its apparent size of 1.75 by 0.7 arcmin, the main body of NGC 2992 is about 55 thousand light years across, while its distorted outer extensions' apparent size of 4.5 by 1.45 arcmin corresponds to about 145 thousand light years. The entire system, including the distorted outer extensions of both galaxies, has an apparent size of 7.9 by 3.5 arcmin, corresponding to about 255 thousand light years. NGC 2992 is listed as a Seyfert galaxy (type Sy 1.9).
DSS image of region near the interacting pair of spiral galaxies, NGC 2992 and NGC 2993, that comprise Arp 245
Above, a 12 arcmin wide image centered between NGC 2992 and 2993
(A superposition of the Mount Lemmon image below on a DSS background to fill in missing areas)
Below, a 6 by 8.5 arcmin wide image of Arp 245
(Image Credit & © above and below Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona; used by permission)
Mount Lemmon SkyCenter image of Arp 245, the pair of interacting spiral galaxies listed as NGC 2992 and NGC 2993
Below, a 3 by 5.5 arcmin wide image of NGC 2992, also showing part of NGC 2993 (Image Credit as above)
Mount Lemmon SkyCenter image of spiral galaxy NGC 2992, which is part of Arp 245

NGC 2993 (= PGC 27991, and with
NGC 2992 = Arp 245)
Discovered (Feb 8, 1785) by William Herschel
Also observed (Dec 16, 1827) by John Herschel
A magnitude 12.6 spiral galaxy (type Sa? pec) in Hydra (RA 09 45 48.4, Dec -14 22 06)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2993 (= GC 1919 = JH 637 = WH III 278, 1860 RA 09 39 05, NPD 103 43.4) is "considerably faint, small, round, brighter middle, stellar, eastern of 2", the other being NGC 2992. The position precesses to RA 09 45 48.8, Dec -14 22 00, right on the galaxy listed above, the description fits and save for the "western of 2" there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on the discussion of distances in the entry for NGC 2992, NGC 2993 must be about 110 million light years away. Given that, its central region's apparent size of 1.2 by 1.1 arcmin corresponds to about 40 thousand light years, while the 4.5 by 2.4 arcmin apparent size including its distorted outer extensions corresponds to about 145 thousand light years. The entire system, including the distorted outer extensions of both galaxies, has an apparent size of 7.9 by 3.5 arcmin, corresponding to about 255 thousand light years.
Mount Lemmon SkyCenter image of spiral galaxy NGC 2993, which is part of Arp 245
Above, a 4.5 arcmin wide image of NGC 2993; for other images, see NGC 2992
(Image Credit & © Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona; used by permission)

NGC 2994 (= PGC 28122 = PGC 1663286)
Discovered (Feb 24, 1827) by
John Herschel
A magnitude 13.1 lenticular galaxy (type S0(rs)a?) in Leo (RA 09 47 16.1, Dec +22 05 22)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2994 (= GC 1920 = JH 636, 1860 RA 09 39 22, NPD 67 15.9) is "faint, small, round, brighter middle, northeastern of 2", the other being NGC 2991. The position precesses to RA 09 47 15.6, Dec +22 05 24, right on the galaxy listed above, the description fits (including the reference to the other nebula) and there is nothing else nearby, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 7385 km/sec, a straightforward calculation indicates that NGC 2994 is about 345 million light years away. However, for objects at such distances we should take into account the expansion of the Universe during the time it took their light to reach us. Doing that shows that the galaxy was about 335 million light years away at the time the light by which we see it was emitted, about 340 million years ago (the difference between the two numbers being due to the expansion of the intervening space during the light-travel time). Given that and its apparent size of 1.1 by 0.6 arcmin, the galaxy is about 105 thousand light years across.
SDSS image of region near lenticular galaxy NGC 2994
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2994, also showing NGC 2991
Below, a 1.3 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of lenticular galaxy NGC 2994

NGC 2995 (= "PGC 5067533")
Recorded (Apr 5, 1837) by
John Herschel
Presumably some group of stars in Vela
Perhaps a smaller group centered at RA 09 44 03, Dec -54 36 18
or perhaps a larger group centered at RA 09 43 50, Dec -54 33 12
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2995 (= GC 1921 = JH 3189, 1860 RA 09 39 22, NPD 144 08.0) is a "cluster, poor, a little compressed". The position precesses to RA 09 44 03.7, Dec -54 46 31, but there is nothing there that resembles any kind of cluster. However (per Corwin), there is a group of stars about 10 arcmin north of Herschel's position that seems to fit his original description: "...at least 20 stars 11th magnitude and upwards, and many smaller". Given Herschel's poor position and the uncertain description of the "cluster" given below, whether either group of stars listed above is what Herschel observed cannot be known, but they probably represent the best "educated guess" that can be made, so the identification is considered reasonably certain. Listed in LEDA as a group of stars with designation PGC 5067533, but that designation is not recognized by a search of the LEDA database.
Physical Information: The group centered near the first position listed above consists of an approximately 8 by 5 arcmin wide clump of stars, as shown in the 15 arcmin wide view below. The group centered near the second position consists of the smaller group plus extensions to the north and east covering a region about 20 by 20 arcmin, as shown in the 30 arcmin wide view below. So the smaller, denser clump of stars is thought to be part of NGC 2995 regardless of how that object is defined; but whether it is a real cluster or merely an accidental scattering of stars is not known.
DSS image of region near the smaller group of stars listed as NGC 2995
Above, a 15 arcmin wide DSS image centered on the smaller group listed as NGC 2995
Below, a 30 arcmin wide DSS image centered on the larger group listed as NGC 2995
DSS image of region near the larger group of stars listed as NGC 2995

NGC 2996 (= PGC 28049)
Discovered (Mar 23, 1835) by
John Herschel
Also observed (Jul 1, 1899 to Jun 30, 1900) by Herbert Howe
A magnitude 12.7 peculiar galaxy (type (R)SA0(r)a? pec) in Hydra (RA 09 46 30.2, Dec -21 34 18)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2996 (= GC 1922 = JH 3187, 1860 RA 09 39 28, NPD 110 56.8) is "very faint, small, 20th magnitude star 1 arcmin to east". Given the technology of the day, the 20th magnitude star is an obvious misprint; the second IC lists a corrected RA (per Howe) of 09 40 01 and adds "The star to the east is of 9th magnitude, not 20th". The position precesses to RA 09 46 30.3, Dec -21 35 30, just over an arcmin south of the galaxy listed above, but there is nothing else nearby and the 10th magnitude star just east of the galaxy makes the identification certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 8775 km/sec, a straightforward calculation indicates that NGC 2996 is about 419 million light years away. However, for objects at such distances we should take into account the expansion of the Universe during the time it took their light to reach us. Doing that shows that the galaxy was about 395 million light years away at the time the light by which we see it was emitted, about 400 million years ago (the difference between the two numbers being due to the expansion of the intervening space during the light-travel time). Given that and its apparent size of 0.6 by 0.5 arcmin, the central galaxy is about 70 thousand light years across, but the distorted extensions surrounding the galaxy have an apparent size of 2.7 by 1.6 arcmin, corresponding to about 310 thousand light years. Note: The "type" of NGC 2996 is very uncertain, "peculiar" being the most telling part of its description; but it reminds me of NGC 7252, the Atoms for Peace galaxy, so I have tentatively assigned it the same type.
DSS image of region near peculiar galaxy NGC 2996
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2996
Below, a 3.4 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of peculiar galaxy NGC 2996

NGC 2997 (= PGC 27978)
Discovered (Mar 4, 1793) by
William Herschel
Also observed (May 7, 1826) by James Dunlop
Also observed (Jan 28, 1835) by John Herschel
A magnitude 9.5 spiral galaxy (type SAB(rs)c?) in Antlia (RA 09 45 38.8, Dec -31 11 27)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2997 (= GC 1923 = JH 3188 = WH V 50, (Dunlop 622), 1860 RA 09 39 33, NPD 120 32.8) is "a remarkable object, very faint, very large, very gradually then very suddenly bright middle and 4 arcsec nucleus, 19s.5 d". The position precesses to RA 09 45 40.2, Dec -31 11 25, nearly dead center on the galaxy listed above and the description fits (the last comment referring to the double star 22 seconds of time east of the nucleus, not far from the left side of the wide-field image below), so the identification is certain.
Discovery Notes: Dreyer did not list Dunlop's observations unless confirmed by Herschel, so Dunlop's observation is not noted in the NGC entry; but later study has determined that Dunlop did observe this object, hence the inclusion of his observation in parentheses.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 1090 km/sec, NGC 2997 is about 50 million light years away, in reasonable agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 25 to 45 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 9.7 by 8.6 arcmin, it is about 140 thousand light years across.
DSS image of region near lenticular galaxy NGC 2997
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 2997
Below, an 8.5 by 6.5 arcmin wide image of the galaxy (Image Credit & © Capella Observatory; used by permission)
Capella Observatory image of spiral galaxy NGC 2997
Below, a 6.4 by 4.75 arcmin wide infrared image of the central part of the galaxy (Image Credit ESO)
ESO infrared image of spiral galaxy NGC 2997

NGC 2998 (= PGC 28196)
Discovered (Jan 15, 1788) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Mar 19, 1828) by John Herschel
Also observed (Mar 1, 1854) by William Lawrence, 4th Lord Rosse, and/or his assistants
Also observed (Apr 1, 1878) by John Dreyer
A magnitude 12.5 spiral galaxy (type SAB(rs)c?) in Ursa Major (RA 09 48 43.6, Dec +44 04 53)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2998 (= GC 1924 = JH 638 = WH II 717, 1860 RA 09 40 02, NPD 45 15.5) is "pretty faint, pretty large, extended 51°, brighter middle and nucleus, mottled but not resolved". The position precesses to RA 09 48 54.5, Dec +44 05 40, just over 2 arcmin northeast of the galaxy listed above, but the description fits and there is nothing comparable nearby, so the identification is certain.
Discovery Notes: A note at the end of the GC states "h638 and group (the nebulae to the east of NGC 2998). The places are founded on my obs. of 1878, Apr. 1. GC 1936-37 (and Lord Rosse's) novae near h641 (= NGC 3010) have been omitted, as the obs. of 1854, Mar. 1, was no doubt of h638 and group, and not of h640-41." In other words, Dreyer's own observations were used for the positions listed in the NGC for a number of nebulae near NGC 2998, and observations made by Lord Rosse or his assistants that were listed by John Herschel as GC 1936 and 1937 were not novae near NGC 3010 but reobservations of objects near NGC 2998, and were therefore not given their own (erroneous) NGC entries. (For those wondering why GC 1936 and 1937 are not listed in the NGC, this explains their absence.)
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 4785 km/sec, NGC 2998 is about 225 million light years away, in good agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 145 to 225 million light years. Given that and its apparent size of 3.2 by 1.3 arcmin, it is about 210 thousand light years across.
SDSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 2298
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 2998
Also shown are NGC 3000, 3002, 3004, 3005 and 3006 and PGC 28208
Below, a 3 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of NGC 2298

NGC 2999 (almost certainly = OCL 778 = "PGC 3518275" =
NGC 2972)
Discovered (May 9, 1826) by James Dunlop (and later listed as NGC 2972)
Discovered (May 9, 1826) by James Dunlop (and later listed as NGC 2999)
Also observed (Feb 18, 1836) by John Herschel (and later listed as NGC 2972)
Also observed (Apr 13, 1834) by John Herschel (and later listed as NGC 2999)
Almost certainly a magnitude 9.9 open cluster (type I1p) in Vela (RA 09 40 12, Dec -50 19 30)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 2999 (= GC 1927 = JH 3191, Dunlop 397, 1860 RA 09 40 05, NPD 139 47.2) is a "cluster, small, a little rich, irregular figure, stars from 12th to 15th magnitude". The position precesses to RA 09 45 09.0, Dec -50 25 49, but there is nothing there (in fact, because the position lies in front of an extended dust-filled region there are fewer visible stars in the region than usual). However, Herschel was fully aware that the position might be wrong, stating at the end of his Cape of Good Hope description "Observed for Dunlop 397, and place only rough. Possibly the same object with (sweep) 680, No. 27, which see above (No. 3183)", JH 3183 being NGC 2972. The Cape of Good Hope description is not the same as for JH 3183, but is not sufficiently different to rule out its being the same stellar grouping, and the descriptions of the two entries in the General Catalog are more nearly identical. To show how uncertain Herschel was of the situation, in the Cape of Good Hope observations JH 3183 is listed as Dunlop 397, but in the General Catalog JH 3191 is listed as Dunlop 397, so Herschel clearly had no idea which if either of the two observations was correct. Despite that, given the nearly 5 minutes of time difference in right ascension and more than 5 arcmin difference in declination, he felt obliged to list the two observations as separate objects in the GC, and as a result Dreyer did the same in the NGC, producing an almost certainly duplicate entry. It should be noted that such a situation is not unusual for observers who "sweep" the heavens (that is, observe objects in a limited range of declinations while the westward movement of the sky causes the telescope to "sweep" eastward in the sky), as objects observed in one sweep can easily be mistaken for an apparently different object in a subsequent sweep just north or south of the original one, and many observers using that technique in the era of visual observations occasionally ended up with duplicate entries in their catalogs as a result of mis-measurements in one sweep or another. Given the preceding, it seems very reasonable to identify NGC 2999 and 2972 as duplicate observations of the same object, and as a result this identification of NGC 2999 has been generally (and probably universally) accepted.
Physical Information: Given the almost certain duplicate entry, see NGC 2972 for anything else (including the nonsensical PGC designation).
Celestial Atlas
(NGC 2900 - 2949) ←     NGC Objects: NGC 2950 - 2999     → (NGC 3000 - 3049)