NGC 891: A Close-Up Look at the Silver Sliver Galaxy

NGC 891 Silver Sliver Galaxy
NGC 891 – the Silver Sliver Galaxy. Photo by amateur astronomer Hunter Wilson. License: CC BY-SA 3.0.

NGC 891, also known as the Silver Sliver Galaxy, has long been a subject of fascination for astronomers. With its edge-on orientation and similarity to our own Milky Way, it presents a wealth of mysteries waiting to be unraveled.

In this article, we’ll take a close-up look at NGC 891 and answer some questions you may have about this enigmatic celestial body.

Where is NGC 891 located?

NGC 891 is a galaxy located in the constellation of Andromeda, about 30 million light-years away from Earth. It is a member of the NGC 1023 group of galaxies in the Local Supercluster.

What type of galaxy is NGC 891?

NGC 891 is an edge-on unbarred spiral galaxy. This type of galaxy lacks a central bar like the one in our own Milky Way galaxy.

How big is NGC 891?

Its disk is approximately 100,000 light-years in diameter and contains a prominent dust lane that runs along its midplane. The galaxy also has a prominent central bulge and a halo of stars that extends far beyond its disk.

NGC 891 Hubble
A close up on the northern part of NGC 891 by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/STScI/WikiSky.

Why is NGC 891 known as the Silver Sliver Galaxy?

This unique galaxy is often referred to as the Silver Sliver Galaxy due to its thin, elongated shape from our vantage point. NGC 891 is a popular target for astronomers due to its edge-on orientation, which gives us a rare opportunity to study its structure and contents.

Why is NGC 891 also known as the Outer Limits Galaxy?

NGC 891 is sometimes called the Outer Limits Galaxy because it appeared in the end credits of the famous Outer Limits TV show alongside the Andromeda Galaxy,  M67, the Sombrero Galaxy, the Pinwheel Galaxy, NGC 5128, NGC 1300, and M81. This TV show brought some recognition to this galaxy in popular culture.


Despite its relative proximity, there is still much we don’t know about NGC 891, and astronomers continue to study this fascinating galaxy to unravel its mysteries.

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Paul Tomaszewski is a science & tech writer as well as a programmer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of CosmoBC. He has a degree in computer science from John Abbott College, a bachelor's degree in technology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and completed some business and economics classes at Concordia University in Montreal. While in college he was the vice-president of the Astronomy Club. In his spare time he is an amateur astronomer and enjoys reading or watching science-fiction. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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