Maffei 1 is located only 0.55° from the galactic plane in the middle of the zone of avoidance and suffers from about 4.7 magnitudes of extinction (a factor of about 1/70) in visible light. In addition to extinction, observation of Maffei 1 is further hindered by the fact that it is covered by myriads of faint Milky Way stars, which can easily be confused with its own. As a result, determining its distance has been particularly difficult.
In 1971, soon after its discovery, Hyron Spinrad estimated the distance to Maffei 1 at about 1 Mpc, which would place it within the Local Group of galaxies. In 1983 this estimate was revised up to 2.1+1.3
−0.8 Mpc by Ronald Buta and Marshall McCall using the general relation between the luminosity and velocity dispersion for elliptical galaxies. That distance puts Maffei 1 well outside the Local Group, but close enough to have influenced it in the past.
In 1993 Gerard Luppino and John Tonry used surface brightness fluctuations to derive a new distance estimate to Maffei 1 of 4.15 ± 0.5 Mpc. Later in 2001, Tim Davidge and Sidney van den Bergh used adaptive optics to observe the brightest asymptotic giant branch stars in Maffei 1 and concluded that it is located at the distance 4.4+0.6
−0.5 Mpc from the Sun. The latest determination of the distance to Maffei 1, which is based on the re-calibrated luminosity/velocity dispersion relation for the elliptical galaxies and the updated extinction, is 2.85 ± 0.36 Mpc.
The larger (≥3 Mpc) distances reported in the past 20 years would imply that Maffei 1 has never been close enough to the Local Group to significantly influence its dynamics.
Maffei 1 moves away from the Sun at the speed of about 66 km/s. Its velocity relative to the Local Group's center of mass is, however, 297 km/s away. That means that Maffei 1 participates in the general expansion of the Universe.
Read more about this topic: Maffei 1
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Famous quotes containing the word distance:
“For time is the longest distance between two places.”
—Tennessee Williams (19141983)
“Remember? We sat on a slab of rock.
From this distance in time,
it seems the color
of iris, rotting and turning purpler,
but it was only
the usual gray rock”
—Robert Lowell (19171977)
“We have been told over and over about the importance of bonding to our children. Rarely do we hear about the skill of letting go, or, as one parent said, that we raise our children to leave us. Early childhood, as our kids gain skills and eagerly want some distance from us, is a time to build a kind of adult-child balance which permits both of us room.”
—Joan Sheingold Ditzion (20th century)