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RA: 17h 47m 5.44s
Dec: +57° 18′ 4.9″
Ch: MSA:1079, U2:53, SA:3
Ref: Corwin (2004)
Type: stars (three)
Mag: B=?, V=?
NGC 6473 and NGC 6474 were both found on 22 July 1886 by Lewis Swift. However, there is only one galaxy near his position, though he clearly says he found two (there is a typo in the NGC description for N6474: for "n of 3", read "n of 2").
Swift's positions are separated by only 15 arcsec in declination, and his description for N6473 (eeF, S, R, s of 2) is not very helpful, even if it is short enough to have made it into NGC unchanged. However, his full description for N6474 is more interesting: "eF, pS, R; 3 sts in a line near and 3 others in a line point to it; e diff; n of 2." The three stars in a line near the galaxy are southeast of it, and the three stars pointing to it are to the northeast. This pins down NGC 6474 pretty well.
The only thing close south of the galaxy is an 18th magnitude star that Swift could not have seen. However, to the northeast, about 30 arcseconds away, there is a 16th magnitude star that he might have seen. Is this NGC 6473? If so, Swift got his directions confused. He's done that before, so this star is a possibility for N6473.
Bigourdan went further south in search of N6473. Four arcmin from Swift's place, Bigourdan found a triple star which he mistook for a nebula. He called it N6473 and measured it on two nights. On a third night, he measured another star which he thought was the same "nebula", but which he found later to be not just different, but uncatalogued as well. It has ended up with the number IC 4668 (which see).
In any event, Bigourdan's triple is also a possibility for Swift's nebula. It would mean a 4 arcmin error in Swift's position, not too much of a stretch.
The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 15.0 mag galaxy. Their coded description reads EL,BM,DKLN SEDGE.
The Messier objects
The Bennett objects
The Caldwell list
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