Group of Galaxies Hickson 16 (Arp 318)

Hickson 16 / Arp 318
Hickson 16 / Arp 318: Image taken with Hubble Space Telescope. © 2015 NASA, ESA, ESO, Jane Charlton [566]


These four galaxies were discovered by William Herschel on 28 November 1785 with his 18.7" reflector telescope. He cataloged them as class II (faint nebulae) with numbers 482, 483, 484, 485 and noted: «Four. The preceding two both faint, extended, small within 1' distance in the direction of the parallel of declination. The following two both pretty faint, pretty small extended about 2' distance and nearly in the direction of the meridian.» [464]

In 1966 the American astronomer Halton Christian Arp published his «Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies», which was the result of more than four years of direct photography with the 200-inch Hale telescope of Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories. He collected 338 unusual looking galaxies or group of galaxies and ordered them empirically according to their form and visual appearance. This group of galaxies with the number 318 was arranged in group #311-321 as groups of galaxies. He noted: «Faint, diffuse streamers, peculiar galaxies.» [199]

The British-Canadian astronomer Paul Hickson presented in 1982 his systematic search for groups of galaxies on the photo plates of the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (POSS) to the public. In order to be classified by him as a galaxy group, at least four members should be identifiable, which had to be reasonably compact and isolated from the rest. The catalog contains 100 groups of galaxies. [140] The group number 16 has 4 members. In the 1993 special issue of his «Atlas of Compact Groups of Galaxies» he misidentified it with Arp 327 and noted: «Consists of four clearly distorted late type galaxies of comparable luminosity. All but galaxy b (NGC 833) have strong radio and infrared emission.» [166]

Physical Properties

NGC 839 is a LINER (Low-Ionisation Nuclear Emission-line Regions) contain heated gas at their cores, which spew out radiation. Its companion NGC 838 is a LINER-type galaxy with lots of starburst activity and no central black hole. NGC 835 and NGC 833, are both Seyfert 2 galaxies which have luminous cores when observed at other wavelengths than in the visible light, and are home to active supermassive black holes.

The X-ray emission emanating from the black hole within NGC 833 is so high that it suggests the galaxy has been stripped of gas and dust by past interactions with other galaxies. It is not alone in having a violent history – the morphology of NGC 839 is likely due to a galactic merger in the recent past, and long tails of glowing gas can be seen stretching away from the galaxies on the right of the image. [566]

The distance to this compact group of galaxies is estimated to 52.50 Mpc. [145]

Revised+Historic NGC/IC, Version 22/9, © Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke [277]
NameRADecTypebMagvMagDimDreyer DescriptionIdentification, Remarks
NGC 83302 09 20.8-10 07 58Gx (Sa/P)13.712.71.5 × 0.7F, S, R, 1st of 4MCG -2-6-30, Arp 318, HCG 16B
NGC 83502 09 24.6-10 08 07Gx (SBab/P)12.912.11.3 × 1.1F, S, R, 2nd of 4MCG -2-6-31, MK 1021, Arp 318, IRAS 02069-1022, HCG 16A, KUG 0206-103
NGC 83802 09 38.4-10 08 45Gx (S0)13.613.01.2 × 0.9vF, vS, R, 3rd of 4MCG -2-6-33, MK 1022, Arp 318, IRAS 02071-1023, HCG 16C, KUG 0207-103
NGC 83902 09 42.9-10 11 00Gx (S0/P)13.913.11.4 × 0.7vF, pS, R, 4th of 4MCG -2-6-34, Arp 318, HCG 16D, IRAS 02072-1025

Finder Chart

The Hickson 16 compact group of galaxies can be found in the constellation Cetus. The best time for observation is in the months from September to December.

Chart Group of Galaxies Hickson 16 (Arp 318)
Group of Galaxies Hickson 16 (Arp 318) in constellation Cetus. Chart created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. [149, 160]

More Objects Nearby (±20°)


140«Systematic properties of compact groups of galaxies» Hickson, P.; Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 255, p. 382-391 (1982); DOI:10.1086/159838; Bibcode:1982ApJ...255..382H
145SIMBAD astronomical database;
149SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum;
160The STScI Digitized Sky Survey;
166Atlas of Compact Groups of Galaxies (Special Issue); Hickson, P.; Astrophysical Letters and Communications, Vol. 29, p. 1, 1993; Bibcode:1993ApL&C..29....1H
199«Atlas Of Peculiar Galaxies», Halton Arp, 1966; Astrophysical Journal Supplement, vol. 14, p.1 (1966); DOI:10.1086/190147; Bibcode:1966ApJS...14....1A
277«Historische Deep-Sky Kataloge» von Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke; (2021-02-17)
464«Catalogue of a second thousand of new nebulae and clusters of stars; with a few introductory remarks on the construction of the heavens» William Herschel, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 1 January 1789; DOI:10.1098/rstl.1789.0021
566Hubble views a bizarre cosmic quartet [HEIC1514]; (2022-11-07)