Hickson 68: Galaxy Cluster in Canes Venatici

Hickson 68

Hickson 68

Sketch and Details by Bill Ferris

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Hickson 68: Galaxy Cluster (Canes Venatici)

RA: 13h 53.5m / DEC: +40º 17′.0

Instrument: 18-inch Obsession

Here’s a fine galaxy cluster that adorns the spring sky. Hickson 68 resides in eastern Canes Venatici and is closer to the bright stars of Boötes than to Cor Caroli. My sketch presents a 199X view in the big Obsession and is dominated by NGC 5350. This 11.3 magnitude barred spiral is northernmost in the group and has the designation, Hickson 68C. Its stellar core is embedded within a 3′.3 by 2′.4 oval nebulosity that becomes gradually brighter toward the middle. The bright stellar pair immediately west of NGC 5350 are 6.5 magnitude HD 121197 and 10.5 magnitude PPM 53793. A skosh more than 4′ south of Hickson 68C, resides a pair of galaxies sharing the same patch of sky. NGC 5353 is Hickson 68A. It is the larger and, at 10.9 magnitude, brighter of the pair. Its 2′.7 by 1′.5 oval form is aligned northwest to southeast and features a stellar core. Hickson 68B (NGC 5354) lies an arcminute to the north. Just the bright inner core of this 11.3 magnitude gotham is seen. The 1′ circular patch of haze is anchored to the sky by a faintly stellar core. Two galaxies are stationed to the east of center in my drawing. NGC 5355 (Hickson 68D) stands about 5′ west of NGC 5350. This 1′.2 by 0′.7 galaxy shines at 13.1 magnitude and is aligned north-northeast to south-southwest. NGC 5358 is the most challenging member of Hickson 68. Hickson 68E is a 14.6 (B) magnitude galaxy. It appears 1′.5 by 0.5 in size and is arranged northwest to southeast. A close pair of 13th magnitude GSC stars simmer an arcminute to the southwest.

One thought on “Hickson 68: Galaxy Cluster in Canes Venatici”

  1. Bill,

    If I had close access to really dark sky I would spend a good part of my observing time tracking down galaxy clusters. This is an exciting sketch of a good clutch of galaxies.


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