Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia

Research Article

The Distance to NGC 5128 (Centaurus A)

Gretchen L. H. Harrisa1 c1, Marina Rejkubaa2 and William E. Harrisa3

a1 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Waterloo, Waterloo ON, N2L 3G1, Canada

a2 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, D-85748 Garching, Germany

a3 Department of Physics and Astronomy, McMaster University, Hamilton ON, L8P 2X7, Canada


In this paper we review the various high precision methods that are now available to determine the distance to NGC 5128. These methods include: Cepheids, TRGB (tip of the red giant branch), PNLF (planetary nebula luminosity function), SBF (surface brightness fluctuations), and Long Period Variable (LPV) Mira stars. From an evaluation of these methods and their uncertainties, we derive a best-estimate distance of 3.8±0.1 Mpc to NGC 5128 and find that this mean is now well supported by the current data. We also discuss the role of NGC 5128 more generally for the extragalactic distance scale as a testbed for the most direct possible comparison among these key methods.

(Received September 24 2009)

(Accepted February 26 2010)


  • Galaxies: distances and redshifts;
  • galaxies: individual (NGC 5128);
  • galaxies: stellar content


c1 Corresponding author. Email: