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Type: galaxies (interacting), SB
Mag: B=12.45, V=11.59
Size: 6.309′ x 1.445′
Discovered by Sir John Herschel at the Cape of Good Hope with an 18-inch f/13 speculum telescope. He recorded it as "F, R, glbM, 30 arcseconds, has a vS star preceding; first of four." His next record reads: "F, E, 40 arcseconds long, has a star 9m 10.5 seconds preceding." The four object mentioned are NGC 6872, NGC 6876, NGC 6877 & NGC 6880.
Bergwall et.al. (1978(Astron. Astrophys. Suppl. 33, 243-255) gives this galaxy's B-magnitude in the Johnson system as 13.4. They remark: "The very large dimension and general morphology indicate mass loss due to interaction with ESO 073-IG 33 [IC 4970]. Associated (?) with ESO 073-IG 35 [NGC 6876], ESO 073-IG 36 [NGC 6877], ESO 073-IG 37 [NGC 6880] and ESO 073-IG 38 [IC 4981]."
Sandage (1975(Astrophysical Journal, 202, 563-582) notes that this galaxy is a member of the Pavo Group. Members include NGC 6872, NGC 6876, NGC 6877, NGC 6880, IC 4960, IC 4967 & IC 4970. NGC 6782 & IC 4970 are background members.
Reynolds, J.H. (1921) The spiral nebulae in the zone –40° to –90° (from the Franklin-Adams Plates). MNRAS, 81, 598.
Table, p601. 3x1, "F, 4 sn near"
Table IV: 2-br spiral the f. branch shows condensations into hazy stars; also deviates from its course near another F *.
De Vaucouleurs (1956) "Survey of bright galaxies south of -35° declination", Mem. Mount Stromlo, No. 13. (photographic study, plates taken with the 30-inch Reynolds reflector, 20-inch diaphragm); List II, p 68-73. Notes: "is 2' x 1' in MN 81, 1921, 601. Has long anomalous straight arm, probably due to interaction with IC 4970."
The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a galaxy.
Photo Index by Jim Lucyk: Sky&Tel. 8/81 p116, Cat.of South.Peculiar Gal.and Ass. Vol 2 (Arp&Madore, 1987) p1.1, Cat.of South.Peculiar Gal.and Ass. Vol 2 (Arp&Madore, 1987) p23.3.
Jack Bennett wrote in MNASSA, Vol 38, No 7-10, October 1979, p45: "NGC 6872 has recently been found to probably be the largest spiral galaxy known . . Readers may be interested to know that under favourable conditions this distant object can be seen with a 20cm Celestron telescope. With a magnification of 80 it appears as a faint irregular blur which apparently represents the luminous central region. There is a 9th magnitude foreground star a few seconds of arc preceding the centre. Attempts to glimpse this galaxy with telescopes of smaller aperture have been unsuccessful. About 7 or 8 minutes of arc South following the object is a smaller, roughly circular blur identified as galaxy NGC 6876. This is more easily seen and must undoubtedly be brighter than the 13th magnitude given in the RNGC."
15cm - Wmost of grp. 140x: m11 * on W side, halo reaches 2/3 way to *. ~circ,
mod even concen to mod br sub*ar nuc. I4970 is vsm 10" spot on N side
of -72, sharply concen. BS, 8Nov1993, LCO.
The Messier objects
The Bennett objects
The Caldwell list
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