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RA: 00h 18m 18.49s
Dec: +30° 04′ 16.6″
Ch: MSA:150, U2:89, SA:4
Type: galaxy, S0:
Mag: B=14.5, V=?
Size: 1.348′ x 1.258′
NGC 68 is the brightest galaxy in a compact group. WH listed one of his fifth class ("large") nebulae here, so I think it likely that he saw the merged light of at least NGC 68, 70, and 71, the three brightest in the group. Several of the stars in the vicinity probably also added to the "object" that WH catalogued.
LdR picked out seven of the nebulae here, and suspected at least two others. His sketch shows the seven, along with several stars, two of which turn out to be galaxies. See NGC 67, IC 1538, and IC 1539 for more on this group.
Synonyms: H V-016
Discovered in 1784 by William Herschel with an 18.7-inch f/13 speculum telescope. He called it "eF, 5 or 6' long."
Observations with the 72-inch f/8.8 speculum telescope at Birr Castle: "Oct 7, 1855. There are 6 or 8 stars of about 14-15 mag and several smaller ones; I counted 7 knots, the 3 northern of which are the brightest; sketched. See fig 1."
van den Bergh, S. (1961) Stability of clusters of galaxies. Astron.J., 66(10), 566-571.
VV 166 = NGC 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, Anon.
(Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 14.5 mag galaxy. Their coded description reads E,R,BM,DIFHALO,INGRP.
The Messier objects
The Bennett objects
The Caldwell list
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