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Type: galaxy, Sa
Mag: B=15.9, V=15
Size: 0.6′ x 0.3′
NGC 7699, NGC 7700, and NGC 7701. The brightest of this triplet was found by WH and given the number III 188 in his first catalogue. This galaxy was also observed by d'Arrest who marked the identification with H III 188 questionable (until I can find time to translate his Latin descriptions, I won't know why he queried the ID; I suspect Herschel's position is not too good). His four observations provide the good NGC position for NGC 7701. The NGC description is also accurate -- there is an 11th magnitude star south-preceding.
In November of 1864, after d'Arrest had made his observations, but before he published them, Marth found the other two galaxies in the group with Laselle's 48-inch reflector during one of their stays at Malta. Though neither was verified, the positions and descriptions are good enough to establish the identifications.
There the matter rested until I included the two largest of the galaxies in the ESGC. Unfortunately, I reversed the identifications in the prepublication version of ESGC, calling NGC 7700 "NGC 7701" and vice versa. Steve Gottlieb caught the mistake, but unfortunately not until after publication of RC3.
In any event, this is one case in which the NGC positions and descriptions point to exactly the right galaxies. My apologies for muddying the waters!
The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a galaxy. Their coded description reads SLEL,BM.
The Messier objects
The Bennett objects
The Caldwell list
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