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The Deer Lick Group and Stephan's Quintet

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#1 Araguaia

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 05:45 AM

I am not a faint galaxy fanatic.  With a 12" Dob, I hardly ever look for any galaxies fainter than magnitude 12 or so, unless they are near a brighter companion.  I went to the Deer Lick Group, easy to find below the foreleg of Pegasus, just before dawn today, looking mainly for NGC 7331, and perhaps hoping to glimpse some of its small companions.  It was a clear night - M33 was visible in direct vision as it rose near the zodiacal band.

 

NGC 7331 is a bright edge-on spiral of mag 10.5.  A classic view, a fine specimen of the type.  As I looked at it at 51x I did glimpse some companions in averted vision.  At 277x, two of them were clear, faint patches quite close to the big galaxy.  I kept seeing hints of a third one, and even of a fourth one where there should be none!  Perhaps a faint star dancing in the poor seeing...

 

Back at 51x, I noticed a patch of light to the SW.  It could be a distant faint cluster, but it looked more nebulous... could that be the famous Stephan's Quintet?  That close to the Deer Lick Group, fitting easily within the 1.6o true field?  I switched back to 277x, and there they were, four faint patches very close to each other, forming a cross of sorts with a faint nearby star.  I was surprised to be able to see them with direct vision, and to have found them so evident at 51x.  I imagined them just beyond reach, perhaps popping in and out if I managed to find the right patch of sky.  

 

A double galaxy group, therefore, with both visible in the same field.  A fine bunch of objects, despite the strange names - why "Deer Lick", and why Quintet when there seem to be four?


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#2 GamesForOne

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 06:31 AM

One of the galaxies in the group has a double nucleus appearance, therefore counting it twice. Could you observe the double nucleus visually? I would guess you could given your description of the seeing conditions and your magnification.

 

From this reference:

 

"The name of the group was reportedly given by Tomm Lorenzin, author of 1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing. This name was given in honor of the Deer Lick Gap in the mountains of North Carolina where he observed and had an especially fine view of this group of galaxies (source: Johannes Schedler)."

 

---

Michael Mc


Edited by GamesForOne, 10 July 2019 - 06:37 AM.

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#3 Araguaia

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 06:55 AM

Double nucleus... I see it now in the astrophotos.  I'll have to look for it tomorrow.  I may not see it - Stephan's Quintet peaks at only about 45o altitude, and seeing has been poor.

 

BTW, I just read that both of these groups have a brighter member that is "only" about 40 million light years away, while the fainter members of both groups are much further, at around 300 million light years away, and gravitationally bound to each other.  Quite a coincidence!  



#4 havasman

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 11:37 AM

The commonly identified 5 members of Stephan's Quintet are NGC7317/7318A/7318B/7319/7320. But the 6th member of the group is also visible. NGC7320C should be in the field with your aperture and sky conditions if you look for it. Try higher magnifications!

 

But are there really 6? It turns out it depends on how you want to count them as NGC7320 is now shown to be a foreground galaxy and it does show more blue when closely observed. NGC7320C on the other hand shows in the deepest studies to be a part of the large tidal system that results from the interactions of the actual group. Very interesting bunch of galaxies.



#5 Sasa

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 12:01 PM

 

 

NGC 7331 is a bright edge-on spiral of mag 10.5.  A classic view, a fine specimen of the type.  As I looked at it at 51x I did glimpse some companions in averted vision.  At 277x, two of them were clear, faint patches quite close to the big galaxy.  I kept seeing hints of a third one, and even of a fourth one where there should be none!  Perhaps a faint star dancing in the poor seeing...

 

You are not the first one noting non-existing galaxies near NGC7331. Several NGC objects around NGC7331, reported by observers of the past as nebular, were nothing more but stars. Would be interesting to figure out if you saw some of those (now) stellar NGC objects.

 

BTW, the two brightest companions of NGC7331 are bright enough to be seen in smaller apertures. I managed to see NGC7335 and NGC7340 in 110mm refractor at powers of 100x and 130x (and NGC7320, 7317 and 7318 the same night as well).


Edited by Sasa, 10 July 2019 - 12:01 PM.


#6 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 02:13 PM

"The name of the group was reportedly given by Tomm Lorenzin, author of 1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing. This name was given in honor of the Deer Lick Gap in the mountains of North Carolina where he observed and had an especially fine view of this group of galaxies (source: Johannes Schedler).

When the Deer Lick moniker became commonplace, thanks to the interwebs, I remarked something along the lines that I claimed the right to name the hundreds of galaxies without nicknames, many of which have been viewed by many other amateur astronomers over the years, after the sites where I observed them. wink.gif

 

Dave Mitsky

 


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#7 KEEN 1@

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 04:34 PM

  I would encourage the OP to seek out the lesser members of the ' The Deer Lick' group, NGC 7335 (the brightest) 7340,7337 & 7326, aka 'the fleas'. They are challenging and present opportunities to sharpen observing skills, especially AV techniques. Their position within 8-10 arc minutes of NGC 7331 is a lovely coincidence.

  I frequently feel the humble privilege of seeing a photon from this galaxy group reach my eye after a journey of 300-400 million light years



#8 brentknight

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 11:18 PM

One of the galaxies in the group has a double nucleus appearance, therefore counting it twice. Could you observe the double nucleus visually? I would guess you could given your description of the seeing conditions and your magnification.

 

From this reference:

 

"The name of the group was reportedly given by Tomm Lorenzin, author of 1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing. This name was given in honor of the Deer Lick Gap in the mountains of North Carolina where he observed and had an especially fine view of this group of galaxies (source: Johannes Schedler)."

 

---

Michael Mc

Which now begs the question Why was that gap called Deer Lick...?



#9 brentknight

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 11:26 PM

Back when I first observed NGC 7331, I was using the first edition Sky Atlas 2000.  That atlas only shows the single galaxy, so when my friend and I noticed the companions nearby, we were totally thrilled and surprised.  The challenge back then was to figure out what the other galaxies were called.  We were at a very dark site and I believe we could see another three galaxies in addition to NGC 7331 with my old Odyssey I.


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#10 Araguaia

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 04:31 AM

I observed them again just now, this time a little more conscientiously, having studied some images and knowing roughly where things should be.  Sky conditions were slightly worse, but I could still find M33, despite the glow of the zodiacal band, which is right next to it this time of year.  It was washing out a strip of sky all the way to Uranus.

 

In the Deer Lick Group, at 277x, I could see three faint galaxies near NGC 7331.  One of them was tough to hold.  The Fleas, I presume.  I saw some flashes of things in AV but could see no more galaxies.  Does anyone have reliable figures for their surface brightness?

 

In Stephan's Quintet, I could see 4 galaxies again, easier than the ones in the Deer Lick Group.  Then, with averted vision, I saw their nucleuses pop, and indeed the central galaxy had a double nucleus!  I could only see it in AV, but fairly clearly - I may have seen it yesterday and assumed it was a pair of faint stars in the bad seeing.  So it is a quintet after all!


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#11 GamesForOne

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 07:28 AM

Which now begs the question Why was that gap called Deer Lick...?

Google the following:

 

history of deer lick gap

 

The first result will tell you why. I am continually astonished by the lack of basic Internet skills by the public. lol.gif

 

---

Michael Mc

 

P.S. I can't count how many times my Dad has asked me, "Could you look up" this or that on the computer? Dad, open a browser and Google it yourself! You even have a phone in your pocket that can do it right now!


Edited by GamesForOne, 11 July 2019 - 07:34 AM.


#12 KEEN 1@

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 07:28 AM

 In response to the question of Apollo regarding SB for the Deer Lick group? well, source estimates vary but the best say SB varies from the high 13 mag to low 14s with 7335 the lowest SB and 7337 the highest.

   Even in more powerful scopes AV will be required aided by no Moon, no LP, above average seeing and patience and preparation, but worth the work.



#13 GamesForOne

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 07:36 AM

When the Deer Lick moniker became commonplace, thanks to the interwebs, I remarked something along the lines that I claimed the right to name the hundreds of galaxies without nicknames, many of which have been viewed by many other amateur astronomers over the years, after the sites where I observed them. wink.gif

 

Dave Mitsky

 

I guess it is like the new patent laws. It is not "first to invent" but "first to publish" if you want the credit! So... give us some nicknames we can start using.  grin.gif

 

---

Michael Mc



#14 brentknight

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 02:23 PM

Google the following:

 

history of deer lick gap

 

The first result will tell you why. I am continually astonished by the lack of basic Internet skills by the public. lol.gif

 

---

Michael Mc

 

P.S. I can't count how many times my Dad has asked me, "Could you look up" this or that on the computer? Dad, open a browser and Google it yourself! You even have a phone in your pocket that can do it right now!

I'm continually astonished that some people can't tell the difference between a comment and a request for a search string...



#15 GamesForOne

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 02:47 PM

I'm continually astonished that some people can't tell the difference between a comment and a request for a search string...

Living in the south you should know that southerners can be sensitive about inferences you may have meant by your comment. The reason for the name is much less salacious.

 

---

Michael Mc



#16 brentknight

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 03:16 PM

Well, Michael - if my comment caused you offense, I am truly sorry as it was not my intention.  I have seen comments about this object where it was thought the name actually represented something about the cluster.  That is where the confusion and the interest came from for me.



#17 Araguaia

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 03:23 PM

Come, now... I am sure NGC 7331 represents the Deer, making the smaller ones the Fleas... makes sense.

 

A deer lick is just a place where deer go to lick minerals from the ground.  Nothing salacious about it.  I am surprised it also made a good observing site.



#18 GamesForOne

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 03:26 PM

Well, Michael - if my comment caused you offense, I am truly sorry as it was not my intention.  I have seen comments about this object where it was thought the name actually represented something about the cluster.  That is where the confusion and the interest came from for me.

No problem... smile.gif  Yes, I too thought perhaps the nickname had something to do with the visual appearance until I looked it up.

 

I also frequent overlooks in the mountains along the TN/NC border for night sky viewing but never thought to give a nickname to an astronomical object(s) based on the location where I got the best view... That's a new one on me.

 

---

Michael Mc



#19 GamesForOne

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 03:34 PM

Come, now... I am sure NGC 7331 represents the Deer, making the smaller ones the Fleas... makes sense.

 

A deer lick is just a place where deer go to lick minerals from the ground.  Nothing salacious about it.  I am surprised it also made a good observing site.

The mountain ridges in the Appalachians such as along the NC/TN border and up the Blue Ridge Parkway make good observing locations because:

 

a) They are in isolated areas where few people live and therefore there is less artificial light,

b) The best overlooks offer clear sight lines to the horizon(s),

c) The elevation gain gives some improvement over the haze and humidity that builds in the valleys especially in summer,

d) It is just plain beautiful to be up in the mountains, especially in the Fall season.

 

However, regarding (a), my fellow club members and myself notice increasing light pollution each new season even for our most remote observing locations. Over the last 10-15 years it is quite obvious. For example, the Atlanta light dome is absolutely massive and has grown so much over the last two decades that its effects are seen even 80 to 100 miles to the north.

 

---

Michael Mc


Edited by GamesForOne, 11 July 2019 - 03:48 PM.


#20 Starman1

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 04:50 PM

I am not a faint galaxy fanatic.  With a 12" Dob, I hardly ever look for any galaxies fainter than magnitude 12 or so, unless they are near a brighter companion.  I went to the Deer Lick Group, easy to find below the foreleg of Pegasus, just before dawn today, looking mainly for NGC 7331, and perhaps hoping to glimpse some of its small companions.  It was a clear night - M33 was visible in direct vision as it rose near the zodiacal band.

 

NGC 7331 is a bright edge-on spiral of mag 10.5.  A classic view, a fine specimen of the type.  As I looked at it at 51x I did glimpse some companions in averted vision.  At 277x, two of them were clear, faint patches quite close to the big galaxy.  I kept seeing hints of a third one, and even of a fourth one where there should be none!  Perhaps a faint star dancing in the poor seeing...

 

Back at 51x, I noticed a patch of light to the SW.  It could be a distant faint cluster, but it looked more nebulous... could that be the famous Stephan's Quintet?  That close to the Deer Lick Group, fitting easily within the 1.6o true field?  I switched back to 277x, and there they were, four faint patches very close to each other, forming a cross of sorts with a faint nearby star.  I was surprised to be able to see them with direct vision, and to have found them so evident at 51x.  I imagined them just beyond reach, perhaps popping in and out if I managed to find the right patch of sky.  

 

A double galaxy group, therefore, with both visible in the same field.  A fine bunch of objects, despite the strange names - why "Deer Lick", and why Quintet when there seem to be four?

In my 12.5", Stephan's Quintet has 6 galaxies.  Ironically, one of the center group is NOT a part of the group, while the one farther out is.

So, there are 5 in the group, but 6 close together in the field.

look at the B&W photo to see all 6: https://en.wikipedia...ephan's_Quintet

note that NGC7320 is considered to be a nearer object than the other 5.

 

As for the Deerlick group, it's interesting that name stuck, as this was the name given the 4 small galaxies here by a group of observers that met in a site called "Deerlick Gap" (in Georgia?  Nope: No.Carolina.)

In photos, there are a lot more small galaxies here, but these 4 have been spotted by 8".  I don't know of any smaller scope to have seen all 4.


Edited by Starman1, 11 July 2019 - 04:53 PM.


#21 havasman

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 08:45 PM

Stephan's Quintet has 6 galaxies.  

Absolutely true visually. And given the OP's location and history of observations I'm relatively surprised this is not apparent. But the seeing conditions are said to be limiting these days so that may explain it.



#22 AllanDystrup

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 06:35 AM

.

     I observed the Deer Lick group and Stephan's Quintet two years ago, with my 3" refractor from my suburban NELM~5 backyard.

 

     I could not see the galaxies in the Quintet using glass only, but at 110x using live video I noted: "I can easily identify the two central galaxies NGC 7318A-B, as a pair of faint fuzzy “eyes”. The galaxies NGC 7317 and 7320 each appear as a pair of stars, where one “star” is fuzzy (the galaxy) while the other is a foreground star from our own galaxy. Finally NGC 7319 can be spotted as a faint, hazy spot, while NGC 7320c is too faint to be detected by my equipment".
    
I've posted my observation including drawing of the Quintet here: https://www.cloudyni...-ngc/?p=7635066

 

 

     In the Deer Lick group, I could see NGC 7331 (the "salt stone") as a faint hazy spot at 24x, and the three "deer" NGC 7337, NGC 7340 and NGC 7335 as fainter companions at 110x (using live video). It seems I didn't post that observation at CN (in the "Classic Best NGC" thread), so I'll include it here:

 

 

 
RASC 003   NGC7331, SAC078, CALD030, HER338(1-53) --- G-Sb Perseus
NGC RASC  SAC CALD HER-400 Season Con Type R.A. DEC m_v Size Comment
> 7331 R003 S078 C030 H388 (1,53) F Peg G-Sb 22:37.1 +34:25 9,5 10.7x4.0 *Large, bright Sb gx,  PA 171dg

    
_______________________________________ DATA ___________________________________________
RASC 3 (Sbc):  Pos.: RA:22h37.1m, DEC:+34°25’, Con: Pegasus
NGC 7331  Mag.: 9.5m;  SB: 13.3m/amin , Dim: 9.7’ x 4.5’, 130 KLY diameter; Dist:  47 MLY; Age: -- GYR
Rating: 2-3/5   (5=easy);  Min. Aperture: 7 x 35 Bin;  Discoverer:  William Herschel, 1784
    

_______________________________________ OBSERVATIONS_____________________________ 
Obs-1:    Time: 2016-10-25, 20:00 UT,  Loc.:56N 12E Denmark, Alleroed,
Setup: 1.7xGPC + ATC K-40mm; 0.5x RED +R2 live video.  
Transp.: (2)-3/7, Haze, no Moon, Seeing: 5-6/10, Bortle: Red/Orange, suburban (SQM 17.9 NELM 5.0m)

    

_______________________________________ COMMENTS  _____________________________

     It is late October, and after two weeks of cloudy autumn nights (and days), there is now finally a cool, clear evening with the first stars peeping out; The transparency is however below medium due to high atmospheric humidity (haze), so the NELM is only around 5m (SQM 17.9).

     My target for tonight is NGC 7331 (RASC 3). I start my star hop from Beta PEG (Scheat), then 5° NW to Eta PEG (Matar), that forms a nice wide bino double with Omicron PEG. Right between Omi PEG and Pi PEG (7° further up NW), there is a pair of ~6m stars, the brightest being 38 PEG. From 38 PEG I now pan the telescope 3° UP NE to a close pair of ~6m stars. This is my anchor for the final hop to NGC 7331.

     Placing my ‘anchor’ pair of stars at the N edge of the 1.7° FOV of my K-40mm finder eyepiece (24x), there’s a Zig-zag line of stars down a good 1° S to a pair of 9m stars, just SW of the center of the field of view. NGC 7331 is 15’ SE of this pair, and is seen as a faint hazy spot at 24x in the finder eyepiece. Clicking up the magnification …

 

DL-WS.jpg

 

     For more detail, I now click over to live video, using my R2 ccd/lcd, which yields 110x in a 0.3° FOV; NGC 7331 is immediately revealed as a very beautiful galaxy, clearly elongated in the SSE-NNW direction. I can see its bright, elliptical bulge (a good 1’ in the long axis), with a central stellar nucleus, that is offset towards the W (caused by the galaxy’s 22° tilt from edge on). The W edge of the galaxy clearly fades away more abruptly than the E part (due to a prominent dust lane), and I can glimpse a thin, dark dust lane crossing the galaxy to the S of the bulge. The galaxy also shows a dim, elliptical outer halo, but this is without any structure at my current 110x magnification.

     In the same field of view as NGC 7331, I can also with some effort (and knowing where to look) distinguish three other, very faint hazy spots, indicated on my drawing as: 1 (NGC 7337), 2 (NGC 7340) and 3 (NGC 7335). These – together with the fainter still #4 (NGC 7336, which I did NOT see) – constitute the “Deer Lick Group” of galaxies, where NGC 7331 is imaged at a salt stone and the other NGC galaxies are seen as deer. While the “salt-lick” is a relatively close neighbor (47 MLY), the “deer” galaxies are ca 10 times as far away (280-400 MLY), and thus much smaller and fainter compared to NGC 7331.  [Other imaginative amateurs have seen NGC 7331 as the deer, and the smaller NGCs as fleas, but I prefer the Deer Lick description].

    To verify my sketch of the group, I take a snapshot of the R2 image. Later at the computer, I am able to verify the capture of the three deer, and - just for the fun of it - I can also identify 4 double stars, that have been classified as NGCs (presumably in the belief that they were proper DSOs).

 

Info:     NGC7331 is found 4½° NNW of Eta (η) Pegasi. It is a spiral galaxy, tilted 22° from edge on, of type Sbc (ie. with somewhat tightly coiled arms, a relatively small nucleus, and no bar).

 -- Allan

 

 


Edited by AllanDystrup, 12 July 2019 - 06:37 AM.

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