Stephen's Quintet -- Arp Peculiar Galaxy # 319
Stephen's Quintet is another very tough challenge to find and photograph.
The quintet is a prototype of a class of objects known as compact groups of galaxies and has been studied intensively for decades.
As its name implies this is a group of five galaxies (NGC7317, 7318A, 7318B, 7319 and 7320) and lies about 270 million light-years away in the constellation of Pegasus (North-west of the Great Square of Pegasus).
The galaxy group discovered by the French astronomer Edouard Stephan in 1877, using the Foucault 80-cm reflector at the Marseilles Observatory -- and it was the first such grouping to be found. Today we know of hundreds of similar groupings, but few are as spectacular as Stephan's Quintet.
2006 September 16, 19 hours 37 minutes local time.
Sky -- excellent. 4 out of 5. Dark sky.
5 minute exposure on 3 megapixel CCD.
14 inch Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope with 3910mm focal length.