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NGC 6118 (13,669 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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NGC 6118

NGC 6118, LEDA 57924, MCG+00-42-002, UGC 10350, II 402, h 1953, GC 4180

RA: 16h 21m 48.6s
Dec: −02° 17′ 2.8″

Con: Serpens
Ch: MSA:1301, U2:246, SA:15


(reference key)

Type: galaxy, Sc

Mag: B=13.2, V=?

Size: 4.677′ x 1.905′
PA: 58°

Historical observations

William Herschel (c.1784)

Synonyms: H II-402

Discovered in 1785 by William Herschel with an 18.7-inch f/13 speculum telescope. He called it "F, cL, extended sp-nf, r, 3' long, 2' broad."

Published comments

Helwan Obs. Bulletin No 22 (1921)

vF, 3' long, E 45deg approx; spiral with alm.stell.N. plate poor.

Helwan Obs. Bulletin No 30 (1924)

F, 4'x1.25', E 55deg, spiral, lEN.

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 12.0 mag galaxy. Their coded description reads S,EL,VDIF,BM,BKNARMS ARMS IN DIF DSK.

Ryder & Dopita (1993)

Included in the CCD-atlas of Ryder S.D. & Dopita M.A. (1993) "An H-alpha Atlas of Nearby Southern Spiral Galaxies" Astrophys.J.Suppl. 88, 415. They note: "Even at an inclination approaching 70 degrees, the disk of NGC 6118 has quite a low surface brightness. It does, however, have one of the more regular and symmetric spiral patterns of all the galaxies in this atlas, and the H II regions trace these quite beautifully. The two major arms start just outside the tiny bulge and can be followed for a full rotation each."

Modern observations

Mitsky, Dave (IAAC)

Observer: Dave Mitsky

Your skills: Intermediate (some years)

Date/time of observation: 7/26/98 02:45 UT

Location of site: Stellafane ATM Convention, Springfield, Vermont (Lat 43dN, Elev )

Site classification: Rural

Sky darkness: 6.5 Limiting magnitude

Seeing: 9 1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)

Moon presence: None - moon not in sky

Instrument: 8" f/7 Newtonian

Magnification: 65, 84, 119x

Object(s): NGC 6118

Constellation: Serpens

Data: mag 11.5 size 4.3'x1.3'

Position: RA 16:21.8 DEC -02d:17'


I was finally able to log NGC 6118, the so-called Blinking Galaxy, from the dark skies of the 1998 Stellafane ATM Convention. (I have been unable to positively log this object using 17 and 20" classical Cassegrains in light polluted south central Pennsylvania.) Using averted vision and noted amateur astronomer and author Phil Harrington's 8" f/7 Newtonian and a 22mm Panoptic, 17mm Ploessl, and 12mm Nagler I noted an extremely dim, elongated, amorphous glow. Jiggling the scope helped me to see this somewhat inclined spiral galaxy. The best view, if one can call it that, was at 84x with the 17mm Ploessl.

Tom Lorenzin

Tom Lorenzin, in the e-version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "12.2M; 4.5' x 2' extent; large, very soft slash, axis oriented NE-SW, very little brighter center; TOUGH!."

Steve Coe

Steve Coe, observing with a 13" f/5.6, notes: "Pretty faint, pretty large, somewhat brighter in the middle and elongated 2.5 X 1 in PA 60 at 100X. Averted vision helps with this low surface brightness object."

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