Hickson Group 88
Hickson Compact Group 88
This group of 4 major galaxies and several more minor galaxies is #88 in the Hickson Compact Group (HCG) Catalog. This particular catalog of galaxies is a list of 100 compact groups of galaxies that were identified by a systematic search of the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey red prints. Each "Hickson Compact" group contains four or more galaxies and has a required minimal surface brightness. What is unusual about this particular group is that very little galactic interaction is yet detectable in spite of the group being so close together. The NGC designations from left to right are 6975, 6976, 6977, and 6978. If you click to enlarge the image you may see several more smaller galaxies. Colors in the image are enhanced via Photoshop saturation techniques to show the difference between various regions in the galaxies. All galaxies are spiral in nature with the three visually larger ones facing more or less toward us, while NGC 6975 (left) is edge on to us. In several hundred million years these galaxies may merge to form a larger super galaxy.
Optics: RC Optical System 20" F/8.2 (4165.6 mm Focal Length) Date: May 2009
Camera: SBIG ST10XME with Adaptive Optics Location: Columbus, Texas
Exposure: LRGB = 330:80:60:80 minutes Imager: Kent E. Biggs