(IAAC) Obj: ngc7317, ngc7318, ngc7319, ngc7320 (Stephan's Quintet) - Inst: Newt 20" f/5

Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate
Date and UT of Observation: 1996-11-16/17, 03:45 UT
Location: Basin Camp, Evans Notch, NH, USA (44N)
Site classification: rural
Limiting magnitude: 7.5
Seeing: 4/5 - poor
Moon up: no
Instrument: Newt Reflector 20" f/5 (dob)
Magnification: 70x, 115x, 210x
Filters used: None, DeepSky
Object: ngc7317, ngc7318, ngc7319, ngc7320 (Stephan's Quintet)
Category: Cluster of Galaxies
Constellation: Peg
Data: mags 12.5 - 13.5  sizes 0.8' - 2.2' (catalog)
RA/DE: 22h36m  +33o58m
Stephan's Quintet - my first and only Hickson galaxy cluster! I had seen
this grouping many years ago in a 16", but knew nothing about them at the
time. This time, I plied the tiny interacting galaxies with all the
eyepieces I could get my hands on, in search of detail. They were easily
found from n7331 at 75x, and in fact were nearly in the same field,
although little of that large spiral could be seen. One or two companions
of n7331 formed a nice in-field comparison with the members of the Quintet.
At this low power, only three "globs" of nebulosity could be detected, with
only a single central condensation apparent - in the "clump" formed the two
galaxies which are most closely interacting. With a loaned 22m Panoptic at
115x, all five cores stood out nicely, with an obvious and somewhat mottle
connection between the two interacters. The elongation of the interacting
pair was about 6' (uneven). The two other "inner" members showed halos
elongated about 3' x 2' each, while the fifth member showed only an
amorphous haze surrounding the weakly concentrated core. Unfortunately, the
seeing on this night prevented effective use of higher powers (210x or
higher). Little additional detail could be seen using the DeepSky filter.

Karen Simmons & Lew Gramer dedalus@alum.mit.edu http://www.tiac.net/users/lewkaren