Darth Vader's Galaxy (NGC 936)

NGC 936
NGC 936: Image taken with FORS instrument on VLT in Chile © ESO 2010 [641]


This galaxy was discovered by William Herschel on 6 January 1785 using his 18.7 inch reflector. He cataloged it as IV 23 (Class IV = planetary nebulae, stars with burs, with milky chevelure, with short rays, remarkable shapes, etc.) and noted: «Considerably bright, a very bright nucleus with a chevelure of 3 or 4' diameter.» [463] His son John later observed the galaxy on 24 November 1821, cataloged it as h 223 and described it as «very bright, very large, round, pretty suddenly brighter in the middle, 2' diameter, fades away insensibly.» [466] Dreyer added the galaxy as NGC 936 to his New General Catalogue published in 1888. [313]

In the same night when William Herschel found NGC 936 he also cataloged a very faint nebula to the east as III 261 and noted: «very faint, considerably large.» [463] That discovery ended up as NGC 941. [313]

Due to the galaxy NGC 936 unusual shape resembling Darth Vader's TIE fighter in the 1977 Star Wars movie, it got nicknamed «Darth Vader's Galaxy». [641]

Physical Properties

NGC 936 harbours exclusively old stars and shows no sign of any recent star formation. It is debatable whether this galaxy is dominated, like most others, by a large amount of dark matter. [641] The redshift is z ≈ 0.004096. Given distances for NGC 936 range from 18 Mpc through 28 Mpc. The small galaxy NGC 941 has a redshift of z ≈ 0.005397 and lies around 16 Mpc to 21 Mpc away. [145]

Revised+Historic NGC/IC, Version 22/9, © Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke [277]
NameRADecTypebMagvMagB-VSBDimPAzD(z)MDDreyer DescriptionIdentification, Remarks
NGC 93602 27 37.5-01 09 23Gx (SB0-a) × 4.11350.00477020.1520.680vB, vL, R, mbMN, p of 2UGC 1929, MCG 0-7-17, CGCG 388-18
NGC 94102 28 27.8-01 09 04Gx (SBc)12.912.40.514.12.7 × 1.81700.00536422.6621.200vF, cL, R, f of 2UGC 1954, MCG 0-7-22, CGCG 388-23, KUG 0225-013, IRAS 02259-0122

Finder Chart

The galaxy NGC 908 is located in the constellation Cetus. The best observation time is September to December.

Finder Chart Darth Vader's Galaxy (NGC 936)
Darth Vader's Galaxy (NGC 936) in constellation Cetus. Charts created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. Limiting magnitudes: Constellation chart ~6.5 mag, DSS2 close-ups ~20 mag. [149, 160]

More Objects Nearby (±20°)


  • [145] SIMBAD astronomical database; simbad.u-strasbg.fr/simbad
  • [149] SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum; skysafariastronomy.com
  • [160] The STScI Digitized Sky Survey; archive.stsci.edu/cgi-bin/dss_form
  • [277] «Historische Deep-Sky Kataloge» von Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke; klima-luft.de/steinicke (2021-02-17)
  • [313] «A New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars, being the Catalogue of the late Sir John F.W. Herschel, Bart., revised, corrected, and enlarged» Dreyer, J. L. E. (1888); Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society. 49: 1–237; Bibcode:1888MmRAS..49....1D
  • [463] «Catalogue of one thousand new nebulae and clusters of stars» William Herschel, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 1 January 1786; DOI:10.1098/rstl.1786.0027
  • [466] «Observations of nebulæ and clusters of stars, made at Slough, with a twenty-feet reflector, between the years 1825 and 1833» John Frederick William Herschel, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 1 January 1833, Pages: 359-505; DOI:10.1098/rstl.1833.0021
  • [641] Darth Vader’s galaxy, NGC 936; eso.org/public/images/potw1009a (2023-09-02)