Hickson 68
Compact Galaxy Group
Five members: NGC 5353, NGC 5354, NGC 5355, NGC 5358 and NGC 5350
Visual Magnitude of Brightest Member: 10.5
Apparent Diameter: 9.2'
Light Travel Time: 100 million yrs
Minimum requirements to view: 10-inch scope under dark skies

The 68th entry of Paul Hickson's catalog of compact galaxy groups sports a quintet of galaxies within 10o of the famous Whirlpool galaxy.  At least a 10" scope is required to see all five members.  A 6" will show the three brightest, NGC 5353, 5354, and 5350, as well as the nearby NGC 5371 and 5313.

In a 6" the view of NGC 5353 and 5354 is dominated primarily by their bright cores.  NGC 5350 is considerably larger and more diffuse; it may require averted vision.  The presence of a nearby 6th magnitude star may make this galaxy difficult.  Use high magnification--at least 130x.  I noted in my log that the nearby star is actually a nice pair at low power.  The nearby NGC 5371 is even  larger and much more diffuse and may also require averted vision to see.


The view in a 6" at 135x. N is down, E is right.

In 10" or larger scopes the much fainter NGC 5355 and 5358 appear, completing the quintet and the close NGC 5353/5354 galaxies make a very nice pair at high magnification.  This group is a joy in my 18-inch f/4.5!  NGC 5353/54 make a pretty pair and NGC 5350 appears large and smooth.  My best view was at at 260x.


The view in an 18" Dobsonian at 190x. N is down and E is right.


The above image is from the DSS.  North is down and east is to the right.

Millennium Star Atlas Vol II Chart 608
Sky Atlas 2000 Chart 7
Uranometria 2000 Vol I Chart 76

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