My Complete Hickson Notes 
(in the order they were observed)

My "first phase" of Hickson hunting--visually observing as many of these elusive 
groups as possible, pretty much ended in June of '98.  By then only two Hickson's 
were left on my list that I had no notes for: Hickson's 81 and 83 in Hercules.  I hold 
little hope for these, as they are 16th magnitude clusters, which, it appears, the 48" 
Schmidt Camera at Palomar had trouble with!  But, then again, they are still high in the 
sky, and, as I write this, Summer is not over!
At a more leisurely pace (interspersed with other observing projects), I plan to go back 
to ones that "skunked" me--especially ones I could not even ID the eyepiece field--not to
mention ones that have been seen through similar apertures by others: "Phase two," 
in other words.
By the end of June '98 I had searched for, and found, a total of 76 Hickson groups and 
have notes for about 199 individual galaxies therein.  The following are my notes; I hope 
these encourage others to pursue these objects, and have as much fun as I did!

Date:  08-25-96 

Steve Gottlieb, Jim Shields, and myself are Teacher's Assistants for an
Astronomy lab class in the Sierras which last a week; we just returned.
The students usually burn-out around midnight, leaving us to hunt down
some faint stuff with our trio of 17.5-inchers. 

Lately, all three of us have been into tracking down Hickson Compact Galaxy
Groups. These are galaxy clusters that were studied by a professional
astronomer, Paul Hickson in the early eighties for discordant redshifts among
their members. Finding these "gals" is a fun project for large aperture scopes:
they are not always visible in large scopes; often they are right on the
verge of being invisible! In addition, there are only 100 of these groups,
making it a "doable" project.  Atlas of Compact Groups of Galaxies  by Paul
Hickson (Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, 1994) can be had through The
Astronomy Book Club. Hickson groups are also part of the database on some
astronomy software: MegaStar, for example.

Jim downloaded 22-minute fields from the POSS plates for all 100
galaxy groups, added some of Steve's notes, as well as his own, and
made three-ring binders for all of us. For my part, I made a trio of
MegaStar maps for each galaxy group: a 30-degree finder field with
superimposed Telrad bullseye, a 4-degree erect image finder field, and
a 9-Nagler inverted field (22 minutes). I made four separate
spiral-bound books (Hickson 1-25; Hickson 26-50; Hickson 51-75; Hickson
76-100). Both sets of books--Jim's and my own--added to our pleasure
over the course of the week. Here are some of my notes:

Hickson 55: Very faint "clump", not on the meridian this time of year,
but easily starhopped to with the aid of a bright edge-on galaxy (NGC
3735) just one 9-Nag field SE. Use averted vision.

Hickson 66(13:38 +57 18): Very, very faint!...and small.

Hickson 68(13:53 +40 19): Excellent group! All five visible.

Hickson 78(15:48 +68 13): Very faint, only "A" seen; elongated.

Hickson 80(15:59 +65 14): Very faint; elongated; looks like one galaxy.

Hickson 82(16:28 +32 50): Averted vision; all four seen, nicely
separated. Nice group!

Hickson 84(16:44 +77 51): Very faint. "B" was tough; 3 total seen.

Hickson 85(18:50 +73 21): "A" & "B" no problem, quite dim.

Hickson 86(19:52 -30 50): Easy finder star-hop from M55. Very nice
triangular group.

Hickson 87(20:48 -19 51): Struck out on 8/9-10/96... Succeeded on
8/15-16/96. Very tough! "A" and "B" detached, "C" glimpsed once
(maybe). Double star in field confused eye.

Hickson 88(20:52 -05 45): Easy star-hop. Excellent group! Some detail
in "B" seen (clumpy, barred spiral?) Three seen; did not see "D"; Steve
did however.

Hickson 89(21:20 -03 55): Struck out! Could not even identify field!
Steve struck out too, but DID identify the field.  Miles Paul's notes
indicate this was the the most difficult of all the Hickson's that he
DID see. Was he using his 14" or his friend's 20"? Will try again...
(Note: Found the following month--check my notes following).

Hickson 90(22:02 -31 56): Excellent, bright group (nice after 89
skunked me). All four easily seen. Quite south.

Hickson 91(22:09 -27 46): "A" bright, "C" averted, "B" not seen--went
behind tree! ...try later/another night.

Hickson 92(22:36 +33 57): Stephan's Quintet. Nice group to end the
evening. Not as bright, or as big as I remembered it though; especially
compared to Hickson 90. 7331 and companions looked nice too.

In my ongoing quest to observe as many Hickson Compact Galaxy Groups as
possible, I found a few more last night (9/7-8/96) with the aid of my
17.5, a 9 Nagler(222x), DSC's, MegaStar generated finder maps, DSS
generated "photos" from the internet (thanks to Jim Shields), and the
keen eyes and experience of Steve Gottlieb.

Hickson 89 (21 20 9.8; -03 54 38): This one skunked Steve and I last
month. With great difficulty, I FINALLY found the (star-poor) field.
Only "A" was glimpsed, and with GREAT difficulty. Used Ken Archuleta's
20": "A" slightly brighter.

Hickson 90, 91, and 92 saw (and recorded) last month.

Hickson 93 (23 15 23.3; +18 58 57): All 5 seen! Nice, well-spaced
group. A,B,C, quite easy; D, E, quite difficult.

Hickson 94 (23 17 16.2; +18 43 13): Very nice COMPACT group. Small
galaxies, but bright--used 4.8 Nag (417x) At least 4 seen. Stellar-like

Hickson 95 (23 19 31.3; +09 29 57): Large (well, relatively), diffuse
glow with "clumpy" material. 3 galaxies; "D" not seen. A and C merge;
hard to pick apart.

Hickson 96 (23 28 1.1; +08 46 27): Nice pair... but then "A" looks a
little irregular, kind of like a mini M51, with attached companion
galaxy ("C"). A,B,C seen.

Hickson 97 (23 47 27.8; -02 18 51): Another nice group! "A" and "C"
obvious; "B" elongated, averted vision. "D" has foreground star
"attached," galaxy extends to n/e.

Hickson 98 (23 54 11.4; +00 22 20); Looks like one elongated, smaller
version of M82... Irregular patches of light. Nice little "hook" at s/e
end ("B"). Mistook 17th mag? star for "C"; Steve corrected me a few
minutes later with a peek through his 17.5, when both star and galaxy
could be picked off; with difficulty, of course.

Hickson 99 (00 00 42.8; +28 23 27): Nice. "B" first seen; "A" has
foreground star; "C" separated pair (with time) from "B."

Hickson 100 (00 01 21; +13 07 55): "A" and "B" easily seen. 15th mag
stars near "C" and "D" seen, but no galaxies.

Hickson 1 (00 26 7.1; +25 43 30): VERY tough! Easy to locate field,
however, with aid of distinctive asterisms. Only "A" glimpsed
occasionally. As tough an object as Hickson 89 was to see.

End of Hickson "hunting" (4am, moon rising; I am tired!)

Stopped down scope to 6"; looked at Saturn and then iota Cassiopeiae
(triple star). Excellent "seeing," a wonderful night.


HICKSON 2  (00 31; +08 28)"A" and "B" seen.  I thought I glimpsed "C" once.  
"A" larger but about the same mag as "B."  Orion-like belt asterism makes these 
easy to locate in eyepiece. Mag 13.4

HICKSON 3 (00 34; -07 34) Starhopped to field, but failed to see any "faint fuzzies." 
Skunked, in other words.  Along the way rediscovered Ngc 157; a nice 10th mag spiral. 
Mag 14.7

HICKSON 4 (00 34; -21 26) Featureless "blotch" ("A"). (Nice SB spiral in photo).  
NOTHING else in field--confirmed sighting with an asterism just outside the field. 

HICKSON 5 (Ngc 190) (00 39; +07 04) Looked like one mag 13 spiral gal.  Could not 
"bust apart" . A very tight group, indeed. Mag 14.6

HICKSON 6 (00 39; -08 24) Very, VERY faint--only a dim glow with averted vision--and 
only then if you know exactly where to look. Mag.15.3

HICKSON 7 (Ngc 192) (00 39: +00 52) Nice, widely spaced group. Three out of four 
seen: Three different sizes; one eliptical, one 3/4 edge-on, one large face-on. 
All have Ngc #'s (which tells you they are bright for  a Hickson Group). Mag 12.6

HICKSON 8 (00 49; +23 35) Skunked. Mag.14.5

HICKSON 9  (00 54; -23 33) Skunked. Mag 14.9

HICKSON 10 (Ngc 536)(01 26; +34 42) Nice group.  All four seen.  "A, B and C" fill up  
7 Nag field--"D" too;averted vision required for this one, though. Mag. 12.6

HICKSON 11 (01 27; -23 13) Very difficult.  Only "A" seen with certainty--though I 
thought I glimpsed "B" once or twice.  Faint oval glow ("A") located between two stars. 

HICKSON 12  (01 27; -4 40) Did not look for. Mag. 14.8

HICKSON 13 (01 32; -07 52) Field finally found. With great difficulty, "A" finally glimpsed 
with averted vision. A small, very dim blur between stars in a triangle asterism. Mag. 14.6

HICKSON 14 (02 00; -07 02) "A, B, C" seen with progressive difficulty. Between two 
stars.  All  were invisible until I relaxed my eyes; then they began to pop into view, one by 
one. Cool. Mag.14.2

HICKSON 15 (Ugc 1624)(02 07; +02 09) Five of six seen.  "A" only a little brighter than 
the rest.  "D" definitely second in brightness. Mag14.3

HICKSON 16  (Ngc 835; Arp 318) (02 09; -10 09) Bright gals!  Four of them. Brighter 
centers in all. Nice group. Mag. 12.8

HICKSON 17  (02 14; +13 19) Did not look for. Mag.16.5

HICKSON 18  (Arp 258; Ugc 2140) (02 39; +18 23) Great difficulty finding field; even 
greater difficulty glimpsing "A."  Very tough. Mag. 14.9

HICKSON 19  (02 43; -12 25) "A" seen.  "C" seen with great difficulty--no sign of B or D. 

HICKSON 20 (02 44; +26 06) Did not look for. Mag. 16.7

HICKSON 21  (Ngc 1099) (02 45; -17 38) All five seen easily; barely fit into 7 Nagler field. 
Mostly ellipticals, with one spiral. Mag.13.9

HICKSON 22 (Ngc 1199) (03 04; -15 38) "A" bright elliptical--seen quite easily.  "B" very 
difficult; no others seen. Mag.12.2 

HICKSON 23  (Ngc 1214) (03 07; -09 35)  Lovely little group!  Faint, though well spaced 
group. Counted 4 out of 5, I think.  "A" was an edge-on; "B" was a 3/4 tilted spiral. Mag14.3

HICKSON 24 (03 20; -10 52) Skunked! Mag 14.9

HICKSON 25  (03 21; -01 03)Two very faint, but direct vision "glows." Both large; plus 
both gals show slight elongation. Mag.13.9

End of observing on 9/27/96.

Observations for the night of Feb. 8-9, 1997 at my favorite deep-sky 
observing site in the Sierra foothills: Observations made with 9 Nagler (222x), unless noted 
otherwise. Seeing was good, dew was VERY present, and transparency was poor, 
especially early in the evening. Magnitudes are obtained from sources for the brightest 
member. Observing buddies and deep-sky officianados Steve Gottlieb and Jim Shields 
confirmed (or denied!) my sightings. Steve, especially, kept me honest:

HICKSON 30 (4 36, -2 50): An easy star  hop in Eridanus. Three very nice elongated 
Ngc galaxies en route (N 1618, 1622, 1625). A (mag 12.9) and B easily seen, C and D 
were only intermittingly glimpsed.

HICKSON 31 (Ngc 1741) (5 01, -4 15): A very tight, small group. Some irregularity seen. 
Tried to bust apart with 7mm Nag and 4.8 mm Nag. The 7mm (286x) gave the best view, 
but no clean separations. Mag: 12.5

HICKSON 32 (5 01, -15 25): Very tough. "A" (mag. 13.8) seen only, and then with 
averted vision.

HICKSON 33 (5 10, +18 01) Skunked. Did not find star field. Brightest member is mag 
15.4; may not be possible with my scope.

HICKSON 34 (Ngc 1875, Arp 327)(5 21, +6 41) An easy star hop. Almost direct vision 
(mag 14.2). A round, even blur ( "A").

HICKSON 35 (8 45, +44 31) Skunked. High in the sky (ladder became tiresome). Tried 
a couple of times, could not ID star field. Brightest member: mag. 15.1 
This one later found on 4-28-98--see below.

HICKSON 36 (IC 528)(9 09, +15 47): Skunked. Could not ID star field, but this one 
SHOULD be possible; brightest member is IC 528, mag. 14.5

HICKSON 37 (Ngc 2783)(9 13, +30): Nice group, though only A and B sighted, a 
possible D sighting, no C found. Brightest member (A): mag. 13.0

HICKSON 38 (Arp 237)(9 27, +12 17): B and C merge, definitely brighter than the much 
harder to detect A. Mag. 14.8  A nice Ngc cluster nearby: N 2873, 2874, 2875. 

HICKSON 39 (Ugc 5057)(9 29, -1 20): Very, very faint. Only one sighted. My source 
says this is mag. 16.6! I doubt it is this dim, or I would not have been able to glimpse it.

HICKSON 40 (Arp 321)(9 38, -4 51): Nice "clumpy" group. Three distinctly seen with 4.8 
Nagler (417x) Glimpsed edge on structure of C. The POSS plates show a beautiful 
"zig-zaggy" group of elipticals and edge-ons... One of my finder booklets (which I made) 
has a photo of this beautiful cluster on the cover. Mag. 13.4

HICKSON 41 (Ugc 5345)(9 57, +45 13): Skunked. Did not ID star field. Should be 
possible, though. Mag. 13.9 This one later observed on 4-25-98; see below.

HICKSON 42 (Ngc 3091)(10 00, -19 38): At 11.7 mag, the second brightest of all 
Hickson's. A nice group, three easily seen. An easy star hop.

HICKSON 43 (10 11, -0 02) Skunked. Star poor field (no distinct asterisms). Mag. 15.1

HICKSON 44 (Ngc 3190, Arp 316): At 11.5 mag, the brightest of all Hickson's, and a real 
treat! All four seen; barely fit in my 9 Nagler FOV (22min). An easy star hop in the middle 
of the "neck" of Leo.

HICKSON 45 (Ugc 5564): Skunked.  Another star-poor field. Mag. 15.2

2:00 a.m. now, want to catch a nap  before I get up at 4:00 to view Hale-Bopp.

So: Out of 16 Hickson's I looked for, I saw 10; batting .625 that evening. Did better in Aug 
and Sept, but I ain't complaining. Total Hickson's seen to date: 34.

Every once in a while, I would take a break in my "Hickson hunt, " and feast my eyes on 
something brighter. Jim Shields showed me the Rosette with his new 27mm Panoptic and 
OIII filter: the best I have ever seen it (he has a 17.5 too)! Steve Gottlieb with his 27mm 
(and 17.5) showed me M81; again the best I have ever viewed it: one of the spiral arms 
was clearly arcing around 2/3 of the brighter core. Also, Steve was pointed at M65, M66 
and Ngc 3628 for a while--I swear you can see more (in these kind of bright objects) 
if you deprive yourself visually (like looking for Hickson's), for half the evening! Jim also 
had his spectroscope out and we viewed Mira (through my scope) which is approaching 
its brightest magnitude. Titanium oxide absorption lines were clearly evident, as well as 
an emission line, of, I think, hydrogen.  I borrowed Steve's H-beta filter and shared the 
view of the Horsehead for a while. 

On the night of 3/8-9/97 I continued my hunt of Hickson Compact Galaxy Groups. 

All observations made with a 17.5 F/4.5 coupled with a 9-Nagler (222X, 22-minute field) 
unless otherwise noted. "Seeing" on the night of 3/8-9 was fair to poor, transparency was 
fair; in addition, there were some thin cirrus clouds up there. Observing site: near the CA 
town of Plymouth, in the Sierra foothills, "Gold Country."

Before this weekend, I had observed a total of 34 Hickson clusters; I have since added 
*some* of these:

HICKSON 45 (10 19, +59 06)  Skunked. Photo shows very small, faint gals--probably 
out of reach for my scope. Mag. 15.2

HICKSON 46 (10 22, +17 51) Again, skunked: Not an encouraging way to start the 
evening!  Photo shows very small gals, probably would appear stellar if at all capable 
through my scope. Mag.16.1

HICKSON 47 (10 25, +13 44) Nice "clumpy" group. Breaks apart with averted vision. A 
and B seen. Mag. 14.6.

HICKSON 48 (IC 2597)(10 38, -27 05) A very nice one to search for: many other 
galaxies around, including groups. One of Hickson's criteria to include a galaxy cluster 
into his catalog, was to study only *isolated* groups; he certainly bent the rules on this 
one!  Anyway, A and B easily seen. What is odd is that the photo shows A clearly 
brighter AND larger than B; however, B appears to be much larger, if indeed dimmer 
(using averted vision and visual purple here, rather than film emulsion).  Mag. 13.2

HICKSON 49 (10 56,+67 11)  Did not even try for. Photo shows very, very dim, small 
gals. Mag 15.9; may be possible though--might try another night.

HICKSON 50 (11 17, +54 55) This one truly looks impossible on the photo!  Mag. 
18.4--good luck!  Did not even try for.

HICKSON 51 (Ngc 3651)(11 22, +24 17) A very nice group. Five (rather easily) seen. 
E looks stellar, even in the photo; I made a note to try to find a better photo to see if this 
one is truly a galaxy or not. Mag. 13.9

HICKSON 52 (11 26, +21 05)  I spent a long time looking for this one early in the 
evening, to no avail. Steve Gottlieb did find A in his 17.5 much later in the evening. 
I confirmed in his scope--it was VERY faint.  I did not want to torture myself any further 
with this one, so I did not go back looking for it... maybe on another night, I will glimpse 
A through my scope. Mag. 14.9

HICKSON 53 (Ngc 3697) (11 29, +20 46) Good group, A quite large and evident; B and 
C easy to bust apart with averted vision. A, even in the photo, looks like it could be a 
foreground object--another instance where Hickson may have bent the rules a little to get 
his catalog to round out to 100!  Mag. 12.9

HICKSON 54 (IC 700) (11 29, +20 35) Only a 22-min eyepiece field away from Hickson 
53. Bright--well, ALMOST direct vision--oval patch.  Steve Gottlieb, much later through 
his scope, could detect a little brightening on the edge--I confirmed, or is it conceeded?  

HICKSON 55 (Arp 329, Ugc 6514) (11 32, +70 49) Seen, and recorded, before in Aug. 
of last year. A very faint "clump."  Mag.15.4

HICKSON 56 (Arp 322) (11 32, +70 49) One of my favorites. Seen before in July 96, but 
no notes taken. Just off the edge of the magnificent foreground barred spiral Ngc 3718, 
which dwarfs this cluster--nice perspective!  Anyway, the real challenge is to see A; a 
detached member of this group, and an edge-on gal, to boot. Bagged it (A) but only with 
averted vision. Mag. 14.5

HICKSON 57 (Copeland's Septet) (11 38, +22) Seven gals seen of approximate same 
mag; one of the seven seen was technically not part of the group. Very nice. Mag. 14.0

HICKSON 58 (Ngc 3822) (11 42, +10 18) Very nice group. Very well spaced; all five gals
seen. Mag. 13.6

HICKSON 59 (Ic 736) (11 48,+12 44) A and B seen quite easily. Mag. 14.4

HICKSON 60 (12 03, +51 41)  Didn't even try for. Photo makes it look impossible. 
Mag 15.0

HICKSON 61 (The Box) (Ngc 4169) (12 12, +29 11) One of the best viewed so far! got three edge-ons (two in a line, one a right angle to the others) and a spiral on 
the other "corner."  Mag.12.6

HICKSON 62 (Ngc 4759) (12 53, -09 13)  Nice tight little cluster. Three (A,B,C) seen; 
one slightly detached.

Observations for 4-25-98.  Seeing very poor, transparency very poor also, due to smoke 
particulants in the air. Using 17.5 F/4.5 scope, with 9 Nagler (222X; 22 arc-minute field), 
as usual.

HICKSON 35 (8 45, +44 31) Very tough! This one skunked me last year (Feb, '97). 
Faint blur on the edge of averted "imagination,"  once or twice busted two small cores 
(stellar-like) apart. Mag 15.1

HICKSON 41 (9 57, + 45 13)  This one skunked me last year, too... But this time, I 
bagged two of them: "A" fairly easy, "B" comes out eventually; both about 3/4 edge-ons. 

HICKSON 43 (10 11, -00 02)  Skunked last year, and now this year!  Could not even ID 
eyepiece field, in either case. Mag. 15.1

HICKSON 63 (13 02, -32 46)  Very difficult.  Glimpsed "A." Very southern object--needs 
lower lattitude!  Nice photo, though. Mag. 13.3

HICKSON 64  (13 25, -3 52) Very difficult.  Glimpsed one, very, very faint gal. Mag.14.7

HICKSON 65  (13 29, -29 30)  Did not look for; too far south, plus bad seeing... will try 
under better conditions. Mag.13.7

HICKSON 66 (13 38, +57 19)  Very, very faint.  Could not bust apart--probably seeing 
"A" and "B" together, as I could detect a little elongation. Mag.15.4

HICKSON 67 (Ngc 5306) (13 49, -7 12)  I stumbled upon notes taken for this one last 
year (6-7-97)!  I don't know how typing them up escaped me!  My notes:  "A, B, C" hard, 
but possible to break apart with 7 Nagler.  "B" an edge-on, extremely difficult. Mag.12.7

HICKSON 68  (Ngc 5353) (13:53 +40 19)  Seen, and recorded (above) in August of '97. 
My notes: Excellent group! All five visible. Mag.11.8

HICKSON 69 (13 55, +25 04)  Skunked.  Found finder field, looked for a long time to ID 
eyepiece field--no luck; no fuzzies, either. Mag.14.9

HICKSON 70  (IC 4371) (14 04, +33 20)  Actually the only Hickson viewed the week 
before (4-18-98) between "sucker holes" around 2 AM.  Glimpsed it earlier in the evening 
through Steve's scope. It takes a nice photo--seven gals!  In my scope, I could only 
make out one faint, small gal ("A"). Mag.14.5


Observations for 6/27-28/98:

HICKSON 71 (IC 4381) (14 10; +25 30) Nice--difficult, more difficult, most difficult. 
"A": large face-on (no detail seen). "B" small edge-on. "C"
very difficult; had to know exactly where to look--or not to look--small smudge--
averted vision, only. Mag.13.8

HICKSON 72 (Arp 328) (14 47; +19 05) Nice string of gals.  Eye picks up pretty quickly, 
but very hard to bust apart... thought I counted four once, but usually these gals 
looks like the Milky Way to our unaided eyes--unresolved, that is. Mag.13.9

HICKSON 73 (Ngc 5829, Arp 42) (15 03; +23 20) Large amorphous glow ("A"). 
Looked for "B"; at first, no dice... then it started popping in and out 
of view--almost star-like.  Enroute to this Hickson, I bumped into old Izar 
(an eyepiece field away), a famous and beautiful double in Bootes. Mag. 13.3

HICKSON 74 (Ngc 5910) (15 19; +20 54) Nice direct vision glow with "notch" 
on North edge--actually another semi-detached gal ("B"). Mag. 14.1

HICKSON 75 (15 21; +21 11) Just a half a degree to the N/E from Hickson 74 lies this 
cluster of six gals--at least that's what the photo shows!  I saw only two gals, both 
direct vision, but both were "merging" : a bright elliptical and an edge-on 
("A" and "B"). Mag. 14.9

HICKSON 76 (Ngc 5944) (15 32; +07 19) Badly positioned (in Serpens) but did see all 
four gals, with difficulty... could not distinguish "types."  Mag 14.4

HICKSON 77 (15 49; +21 50) Small, faint, "quasi-stellar." Tough. Thought 
"A" and "B" busted apart once or twice. Mag. 15.2

HICKSON 78 (15 48; +68 13) Observed two years ago on 8/13/96. Notes: Very faint, only 
"A" seen--elongated. Mag.14.4

HICKSON 79 (Seyfert's Sextet) (Ngc 6027)(15 59; +20 45) Actually started the evening 
with this one. Clumpy, fairly bright group. Very difficult to bust apart, however: no 
luck with a 7mm Nagler, for example. Looked like two irregular gals joined at the hip. 
Photo shows very tight group. Mag. 13.8

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