The Fornax and Eridanus Clusters

The Fornax and Eridanus clusters are two very famous clusters in the southern hemisphere. Although they look near to each other, they are separated by about 20 million light years. The nearer Fornax cluster is about 65 million light years from us, and the Eridanus cluster is about 85 million light years from us. There are many other groups of galaxies scattered around these two clusters and collectively these groups are often called the Fornax Supercluster or Southern Supercluster.

The Fornax and Eridanus Clusters

The Fornax Cluster

This is a map of the Fornax Cluster. This is the most famous of the two clusters because it has a compact core of galaxies scattered across two degrees of the sky which makes it a popular target for amateur astronomers. This cluster contains two huge galaxies - NGC 1316 and NGC 1365 - which are larger than any of the galaxies in the Virgo cluster.

The Fornax Cluster

Below - the two largest galaxies in the Fornax cluster. NGC 1316 (left) is a massive lenticular galaxy - the faint signs of spiral structure in this galaxy may indicate that it has recently swallowed a spiral galaxy. NGC 1316 is a powerful radio source (it is known as Fornax A by radio astronomers). Visible above the galaxy is NGC 1317 - a spiral galaxy which may become another victim of this huge galactic cannibal. NGC 1365 (right) is the most famous galaxy in the Fornax cluster. It is a barred spiral galaxy with a beautiful shape.

NGC 1316 NGC 1365
NGC 1316 NGC 1365

This is a list of the main galaxies in the Fornax cluster. These are the 54 largest galaxies in this cluster. This is about one third of the number of comparable galaxies in the Virgo cluster.

  1              2        3      4     5      6    7     8
Name            Equatorial      Blue  Type  Size Size   RV
                Coordinates     Mag          (')  kly  km/s
                RA       Dec
ESO 357-07    03 10.4  -33 09   14.7  SBm    2.2   40   981
ESO 357-12    03 16.9  -35 32   14.8  SBcd   2.2   40  1445
IC 1913       03 19.6  -32 28   14.5  SBb    2.1   40  1318
NGC 1310      03 21.1  -37 06   13.0  SBc    1.9   35  1640
PGC 12625     03 22.1  -37 35     ?   Irr    2.9   55  1507
NGC 1316      03 22.7  -37 12    9.8  S0    11.5  215  1664
NGC 1317      03 22.7  -37 06   11.9  SBa    3.0   55  1815
NGC 1326      03 23.9  -36 28   11.5  S0     4.3   80  1247
NGC 1326A     03 25.1  -36 22   14.7  SBm    1.7   30  1719
NGC 1326B     03 25.3  -36 23   13.7  SBm    3.5   65   888
IC 1919       03 26.0  -32 54   13.9  E      1.6   30  1158
NGC 1336      03 26.5  -35 43   13.4  E      1.9   35  1360
NGC 1341      03 28.0  -37 09   13.3  SBab   1.6   30  1760
NGC 1339      03 28.1  -32 17   12.8  E      1.9   35  1240
NGC 1344      03 28.3  -31 04   11.2  E      5.6  105  1052
NGC 1351A     03 28.8  -35 11   14.2  SBbc   2.3   45  1241
ESO 358-10    03 29.7  -33 33   14.8  E      1.5   30  1620
NGC 1351      03 30.6  -34 51   12.4  E      3.2   60  1420
NGC 1350      03 31.1  -33 38   11.2  SBab   5.8  110  1785
NGC 1365      03 33.6  -36 08   10.3  SBb   11.0  205  1547
NGC 1366      03 33.9  -31 12   13.1  S0     1.9   35  1137
NGC 1374      03 35.3  -35 14   12.0  E      2.7   50  1240
NGC 1375      03 35.3  -35 16   13.4  S0     2.1   40   643
IC 335        03 35.5  -34 27   13.4  S0     2.3   45  1530
NGC 1379      03 36.1  -35 26   11.9  E      2.6   50  1264
NGC 1380      03 36.5  -34 59   11.1  S0     4.8   90  1737
NGC 1381      03 36.5  -35 18   12.7  S0     2.6   50  1673
NGC 1369      03 36.8  -36 15   13.6  Sa     1.7   30  1340
NGC 1386      03 36.8  -36 00   12.2  S0     3.4   65   755
NGC 1380A     03 36.8  -34 44   13.4  S0     2.5   45  1419
NGC 1387      03 37.0  -35 30   11.8  E      3.2   60  1219
NGC 1382      03 37.1  -35 12   13.8  E      1.5   30  1697
NGC 1389      03 37.2  -35 45   12.6  E      2.6   50   883
NGC 1399      03 38.5  -35 27   10.3  E      6.8  130  1335
NGC 1404      03 38.9  -35 36   10.9  E      4.1   75  1826
NGC 1406      03 39.4  -31 19   12.9  SBbc   3.9   75   963
NGC 1427A     03 40.1  -35 38   14.2  Irr    2.1   40  1927
ESO 358-50    03 41.1  -33 47   13.9  S0     1.6   30  1151
ESO 358-51    03 41.5  -34 53   14.1  Sa     1.5   30  1626
NGC 1425      03 42.2  -29 54   11.4  Sb     6.0  115  1402
NGC 1427      03 42.3  -35 24   11.8  E      3.6   70  1327
NGC 1428      03 42.4  -35 09   14.0  E      1.5   30  1602
ESO 358-54    03 43.0  -36 16   14.2  SBd    1.7   30   798
NGC 1437      03 43.6  -35 51   12.9  SBab   2.8   50  1296
ESO 358-60    03 45.2  -35 34   15.6  Irr    1.7   30   710
ESO 358-61    03 45.9  -36 22   14.0  Sc     2.5   45  1415
NGC 1460      03 46.2  -36 42   13.5  S0     1.7   30  1277
ESO 358-63    03 46.3  -34 57   12.6  Sc     4.8   90  1838
IC 1993       03 47.1  -33 42   12.5  SBb    2.5   45  1004
ESO 302-09    03 47.6  -38 35   14.6  SBd    2.2   40   908
ESO 302-14    03 51.7  -38 27   15.5  Irr    1.5   30   798
ESO 359-03    03 52.0  -33 28   14.1  Sab    1.8   35  1495
NGC 1484      03 54.3  -36 58   13.9  Sb     2.5   45   952
IC 2006       03 54.5  -35 58   12.5  E      1.9   35  1285
Column 1: The usual name of the galaxy.
Column 2: The Right Ascension for epoch 2000.
Column 3: The Declination for epoch 2000.
Column 4: The blue apparent magnitude of the galaxy.
Column 5: The galaxy type: E=Elliptical, S0=Lenticular, Sa,Sb,Sc,Sd=Spiral,
          SBa,SBb,SBc,SBd=Barred Spiral, Sm,SBm,Irr=Irregular.
Column 6: The angular diameter of the galaxy (arcminutes).
Column 7: The diameter of the galaxy (thousands of light years).
Column 8: The recessional velocity (km/s) of the galaxy relative to
          the cosmic microwave background.

References:
The HyperLeda Database, (2003).

Below - three more galaxies in the Fornax cluster. NGC 1350 (left) is large barred spiral galaxy. NGC 1399 (centre) is the large elliptical galaxy at the heart of the cluster. NGC 1404 (right) is another large elliptical galaxy near NGC 1399.

NGC 1350 NGC 1399 NGC 1404
NGC 1350 NGC 1399 NGC 1404

Shown below is a picture of the middle of the Fornax Cluster. The cluster has a compact core containing a lot of bright galaxies which means that it actually looks better on a photograph than the Virgo cluster. The bright elliptical galaxy in the centre is NGC 1399, and the famous barred-spiral galaxy NGC 1365 can be seen at the bottom-right corner.

The Fornax Cluster
The middle of the Fornax cluster. Image size 2.0x1.6. DSS image.

Properties of the Fornax Cluster
Equatorial Coordinates RA=03h35m Dec=-36
Galactic Coordinates l=238 b=-54
Supergalactic Coordinates L=262 B=-41
Distance to the centre of the cluster 65 million light years
Number of large galaxies in the cluster 54
Alternative names for the cluster Fornax I cluster

The Eridanus Cluster

This is a map of the Eridanus Cluster. This cluster is less spectacular than the Fornax cluster, partly because the galaxies are spread across a larger area and partly because the cluster is rather further and hence dimmer than the Fornax cluster. The Eridanus cluster is roughly split into two halves: a northern subgroup around NGC 1407 and a southern subgroup around NGC 1395.

The Eridanus Cluster

Below - three spiral galaxies in the Eridanus cluster. NGC 1300 is a large barred spiral galaxy. NGC 1371 (centre) and NGC 1385 (right) are two spiral galaxies to the south of the centre of the cluster and probably close companions.

NGC 1300 NGC 1371 NGC 1385
NGC 1300 NGC 1371 NGC 1385

This is a list of the 73 largest galaxies in the Eridanus cluster. This is a longer list than that for the Fornax cluster. The Eridanus cluster seems to be the slightly larger and the slightly richer of the two clusters.

  1              2        3      4     5      6    7     8
Name            Equatorial      Blue  Type  Size Size   RV
                Coordinates     Mag          (')  kly  km/s
                RA       Dec
ESO 547-09    03 06.0  -19 23   16.8  Irr    1.3   35  1509
ESO 547-12    03 09.6  -17 50   16.5  Scd    1.5   35  1837
NGC 1232      03 09.8  -20 35   10.7  SBc    6.9  170  1517
IC 1898       03 10.3  -22 24   13.7  SBc    3.4   85  1164
ESO 547-20    03 13.0  -17 56   16.0  SBm    1.2   30  1825
NGC 1258      03 14.1  -21 46   13.9  SBc    1.3   30  1340
NGC 1297      03 19.2  -19 06   13.5  E      2.0   50  1395
NGC 1300      03 19.7  -19 25   11.2  SBbc   6.0  150  1421
NGC 1315      03 23.1  -21 23   14.0  S0     1.5   35  1534
PGC 12680     03 23.4  -19 17     ?   Irr    1.3   30  1400
ESO 548-05    03 23.8  -19 45   14.7  SBm    1.5   35  1690
NGC 1325      03 24.4  -21 33   12.3  SBbc   4.7  115  1446
NGC 1325A     03 24.8  -21 20   13.6  SBcd   1.8   45  1188
ESO 548-16    03 26.0  -21 20   15.6  Scd    1.7   40  1977
NGC 1332      03 26.3  -21 20   11.4  E      4.2  105  1383
ESO 548-21    03 27.6  -21 14   14.7  SBd    2.0   50  1541
ESO 548-25    03 29.0  -22 09   15.0  SBa    1.3   30  1542
NGC 1345      03 29.5  -17 47   14.3  SBc    1.4   35  1385
ESO 481-30    03 29.6  -23 21   15.5  Scd    1.5   35  1504
NGC 1347      03 29.7  -22 17   13.9  SBc    1.4   35  1624
ESO 548-28    03 30.6  -17 56   14.0  S0     1.3   35  1360
ESO 548-29    03 30.8  -21 03   14.3  SBbc   1.1   30  1175
NGC 1353      03 32.1  -20 49   12.4  SBb    3.5   85  1390
ESO 548-32    03 32.3  -17 43   15.8  SBm    1.6   40  1815
ESO 548-33    03 32.5  -18 57   14.5  S0     1.3   35  1552
ESO 548-34    03 33.0  -21 05   14.6  SBc    1.1   30  1610
ESO 482-05    03 33.0  -24 08   15.2  SBcd   2.1   50  1783
IC 1952       03 33.4  -23 43   13.5  SBbc   2.5   60  1683
IC 1953       03 33.7  -21 29   12.7  SBc    2.6   65  1733
NGC 1359      03 33.8  -19 29   13.0  SBm    2.1   55  1833
NGC 1362      03 33.9  -20 17   14.2  S0     1.2   30  1085
ESO 548-44    03 34.3  -19 25   14.2  S0     1.3   35  1561
ESO 548-47    03 34.7  -19 02   14.1  S0     2.5   60  1472
NGC 1371      03 35.0  -24 56   11.6  SBa    5.6  140  1344
NGC 1370      03 35.2  -20 22   13.9  E      1.5   35   933
IC 1962       03 35.6  -21 18   14.8  SBd    2.5   60  1670
ESO 482-11    03 36.3  -25 36   14.7  Sbc    1.4   35  1469
NGC 1377      03 36.7  -20 54   13.8  S0     1.7   45  1645
NGC 1385      03 37.5  -24 30   11.5  SBc    3.7   90  1373
NGC 1383      03 37.7  -18 20   13.8  S0     1.7   40  1828
ESO 482-17    03 37.7  -22 55   14.9  Sab    1.3   30  1330
NGC 1390      03 37.9  -19 00   14.9  SBa    1.3   35  1078
NGC 1395      03 38.5  -23 02   10.7  E      5.6  140  1577
NGC 1398      03 38.9  -26 20   10.5  SBab   7.1  175  1289
NGC 1403      03 39.2  -22 23   14.1  E      1.3   30  1751
NGC 1401      03 39.4  -22 43   13.7  S0     1.9   50  1406
NGC 1400      03 39.5  -18 41   12.3  E      2.3   60   415
ESO 548-63    03 39.6  -20 01   15.1  Sbc    1.4   35  1846
ESO 548-65    03 40.0  -19 22   15.3  Sa     1.4   35  1102
IC 343        03 40.1  -18 27   14.3  S0     1.4   35  1730
NGC 1407      03 40.2  -18 35   10.9  E      5.1  125  1650
ESO 548-68    03 40.3  -18 56   14.3  E      1.3   35  1636
NGC 1412      03 40.5  -26 52   14.7  S0     1.4   35  1675
ESO 548-70    03 40.7  -22 17   15.4  SBcd   1.6   40  1615
ESO 482-32    03 40.7  -26 47   15.9  Irr    1.2   30  1621
NGC 1415      03 40.9  -22 34   12.8  Sa     3.3   80  1451
NGC 1414      03 41.0  -21 43   14.6  SBbc   1.6   40  1464
ESO 482-35    03 41.2  -23 50   14.2  SBab   1.8   45  1756
NGC 1422      03 41.5  -21 41   14.2  SBab   2.3   55  1514
IC 346        03 41.7  -18 16   13.9  S0     1.9   45  1830
ESO 548-79    03 41.9  -18 54   14.8  Sa     1.1   30  1914
ESO 548-82    03 42.7  -17 30   15.4  Sbc    1.1   30  1590
NGC 1426      03 42.8  -22 06   12.7  E      2.5   60  1296
ESO 549-02    03 43.0  -19 01   14.9  SBm    1.3   30   988
ESO 549-06    03 43.6  -21 14   15.7  Irr    1.3   30  1490
NGC 1439      03 44.8  -21 55   12.4  E      2.6   65  1577
NGC 1440      03 45.0  -18 16   12.9  S0     2.2   55  1403
NGC 1438      03 45.3  -23 00   13.3  SBa    2.0   50  1438
NGC 1452      03 45.4  -18 38   12.9  Sa     2.3   60  1619
ESO 549-18    03 48.2  -21 28   13.3  SBc    2.5   60  1473
ESO 482-46    03 49.7  -27 00   13.7  Sc     3.5   90  1422
ESO 482-49    03 52.4  -23 03   15.3  Sc     1.1   30  1377
NGC 1482      03 54.6  -20 30   13.3  S0     2.2   55  1753
Column 1: The usual name of the galaxy.
Column 2: The Right Ascension for epoch 2000.
Column 3: The Declination for epoch 2000.
Column 4: The blue apparent magnitude of the galaxy.
Column 5: The galaxy type: E=Elliptical, S0=Lenticular, Sa,Sb,Sc,Sd=Spiral,
          SBa,SBb,SBc,SBd=Barred Spiral, Sm,SBm,Irr=Irregular.
Column 6: The angular diameter of the galaxy (arcminutes).
Column 7: The diameter of the galaxy (thousands of light years).
Column 8: The recessional velocity (km/s) of the galaxy relative to
          the cosmic microwave background.

References:
The HyperLeda Database, (2003).

Below - three more galaxies in the Eridanus cluster. NGC 1395 (left) is the largest elliptical galaxy in the southern half of the cluster. NGC 1398 (centre) is a large spiral galaxy at the southern edge of the cluster. NGC 1407 (right) is the largest elliptical galaxy in the northern half of the cluster.

NGC 1395 NGC 1398 NGC 1407
NGC 1395 NGC 1398 NGC 1407

Shown below is NGC 1232. Located to the right of the cluster, this is another of the many spiral galaxies located in this group. This is one the most beautiful galaxies in the cluster because of its multiple spiral arms.

NGC 1232
NGC 1232

Properties of the Eridanus Cluster
Equatorial Coordinates RA=03h35m Dec=-22
Galactic Coordinates l=214 b=-53
Supergalactic Coordinates L=281 B=-43
Distance to the centre of the cluster 85 million light years
Number of large galaxies in the cluster 73
Alternative names for the cluster Fornax II cluster
The Virgo Supercluster Back to the Virgo Supercluster page