sponsored by psychohistorian.org
RA: 13h 00m 51.55s
Dec: +28° 02′ 33.6″
Con: Coma Berenices
Ch: MSA:653, U2:109, SA:7
Type: galaxy (in cluster), E
Mag: B=14.9, V=?
Size: 0.741′ x 0.446′
NGC 4908. Malcolm has pointed out that this number and IC 4051 may have been switched by most observers and in most cataloguers. Only Bigourdan and Vorontsov-Velyaminov in MCG put the NGC number on the brighter, larger, south-southeastern object. d'Arrest's position, copied correctly into the NGC, actually falls a bit closer to the smaller, fainter north-northwestern galaxy of the pair. And the IC position, adopted from Kobold's micrometric observation, lands almost exactly on the brighter object because he was apparently the first observer to put the NGC identification on the fainter object. Bigourdan did the opposite, but Dreyer apparently went with Kobold's position simply because, as published, it is has more precision. Bigourdan is still credited as a co-discoverer of the IC galaxy, though.
I suspect that Dreyer did not make much of a fuss about the discrepancy between Kobold and Bigourdan because he was distracted by an identification problem involving H III 363 -- JH incorrectly put this number on h 1510 = NGC 4894. Again, Malcolm and I think that WH, like d'Arrest, must have seen the brighter of the two galaxies. So, Dreyer's identification of WH's object as IC 4051 is as misleading as the NGC and IC positions.
In any event, because of Kobold's assumption that the NGC position is for the fainter galaxy, just about everyone has the identifications reversed. This probably includes Milton Humason who found a supernova near "IC 4051" in 1950. Unfortunately, Humason does not give a position or a finding chart for the SN and galaxy in his PASP note, but I am pretty sure that it is the brighter, southern object.
All this stands on d'Arrest's having actually seen the brighter galaxy. If he actually saw the fainter -- and it is only a tenth of a magnitude or so fainter -- then the NGC and IC have exactly the correct identifications. And so does everyone except Bigourdan and MCG.
The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 15.0 mag galaxy. Their coded description reads E,R,BM,COMA.
The Messier objects
The Bennett objects
The Caldwell list
DOCdb is still in beta-release.
Known issues, feature requests, and updates on bug fixes, are here:
Found a bug? Have a comment or suggestion to improve DOCdb? Please let us know!
DOCdb is a free online resource that exists to promote deep sky observing.
You could help by sharing your observations, writing an article, digitizing and proof-reading historical material, and more.
Everything on DOCdb.net is © 2004-2010 by Auke Slotegraaf, unless stated otherwise or if you can prove you have divine permission to use it. Before using material published here, please consult the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.5 License. Some material on DOCdb is copyright the individual authors. If in doubt, don't reproduce. And that goes for having children, too. Please note that the recommended browser for DOCdb is Firefox 3.x. You may also get good results with K-Meleon. Good luck if you're using IE. A successful experience with other browsers, including Opera and Safari, may vary.