De Vaucouleurs Atlas Type: SA(rs)b
Telescope: Perkins 1.8-m
North up , East left
Field Dimensions: 3.4 x 2.6 arcminutes
RC3 Type: SAB(rs)b \
RSA Type: Sbc(s) II.2
Surface Brightness Range Displayed: 17.5-25.0 mag per square arcsec
Absolute Blue Magnitude: -19.7
De Vaucouleurs Atlas Description:
This high surface brightness galaxy is one of those strange cases where the classification criteria seem disturbingly inconsistent. The inner spiral is as patchy as an Sc galaxy, but the arms are as tightly wrapped as in an Sa galaxy. The whole pattern is imbedded within a very bright and smooth background disk that is very extended compared to the inner spiral. The appearance makes us recognize the spiral as an inner pseudoring . The Sb classification is based mainly on the inner spiral.
Knapen et al. (2004) have studied NGC 278 in detail and have concluded that its ring feature should be interpreted as a nuclear ring, possibly generated as the result of a minor merger . This paper also presents an HST color image of the central spiral.