|Hickson 87: Galaxy Cluster (Capricornus) RA: 20h 48.3m / DEC: -19° 51'.0|
Instrument: 18-inch Obsession
Among the Hickson catalog of Compact Groups of Galaxies, many members are so faint they elude even the grasp of my 18-inch Obsession. Two of the four members of Hickson 87 fall in that category. Galaxies 87C and 87D were not seen. However, all is not lost; three galaxies are presented in the sketch at left, including Hickson 87A and Hickson 87B. My drawing represents a compilation of observations at 141X, 199X and 272X in the big Dobsonian. The field width is closest to that produced by the 17mm Nagler Type 4 eyepiece. The first galaxy to emerge from the night isn't even a member of the group. MCG -3-53-2 is located about 5' southwest of center. Its oval form covers a 1'.2 by 0'.5 area along a WSW to ENE axis. Cataloged as an SAB-type mixed spiral with an inner ring, MCG -3-53-2 has a blue magnitude of 15.5. Four 13th and 14th magnitude stars are grouped 3' to the northeast. About 7'.5 to the ENE, Hickson 87A is seen. This is MCG -3-53-5, a 1'.5 by 0'.3 peculiar-type galaxy shining at (B)15.3 magnitude. It points the way to a 12th magnitude star about 2'.5 to the northeast. Immediately to the southwest, another Hickson 87 member is seen. This is MCG -3-53-3, otherwise known as Hickson 87B. Its 0'.3 diameter form produces a dim 15.4 magnitude glow in blue light. Radial velocity and redshift measurements indicate a distance of about 430 million light-years for Hickson 87. Just north of Hickson 87B, a faint double star marks the location of this grouping. The stars are 14th and 15th magnitude embers separated by about 15". Another 50 stars dot the field. You'll find this challenging grouping about 5 degrees southwest of 4.1 magnitude Theta (23) Capricorni.
Layout, design & revisions © W. D. Ferris
Comments and Suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Revised: September 28, 2005 [WDF]