Stephans Quintet (Hickson 92)

Hickson 92
Hickson 92: Galaxy group «Stephans Quintett» in Pegasus; 500 mm Cassegrain 3625 mm f/7.2; SBIG STL11K; 17x10 min lum, 6x10 min RGB; Bernese Highlands; © 2011 Radek Chromik


This compact group of galaxies was the first to be discovered. It was first sighted by the French astronomer Jean Marie Édouard Stephan in 1876. From 1866 to 1907 he was director of the observatory in Marseille. At that time, however, he only saw four nebulae and wrote: «The four nebulae 19, 20, 21 and 22 are very, very faint, very small and difficult to observe. The most beautiful is 19, then 20, 21, 22. Although 22 is the smallest of the four, it is the brightest.» [420]

The four nebulae were included in 1888 by the Danish-Irish astronomer Johann (John) Louis Emil Dreyer as NGC 7317, NGC 7318, NGC 7319, NGC 7320 in his «New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars». [313] Stephan's former quartet became a quintet when NGC 7318 emerged as two galaxies and were henceforth called NGC 7318A and NGC 7318B. The American astronomer Halton Arp listed this group under the name Arp 319 in his 1966 «Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies» as an example of a group of galaxies. [199]

Stephans Quintet
Stephans Quintet: Image taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. © NASA, ESA, Hubble SM4 ERO Team [421]

Paul Hickson lists this group of galaxies in his 1993 «Atlas of Compact Groups of Galaxies" as HCG 92. He wrote: «This is the famous group of Stephan's Quintet, also Arp 319 and VV 228. It consists of a compact quartet plus a bright, lower redshift, spiral galaxy (NGC 7320). The quartet has a relatively high velocity dispersion and a short crossing time. The distorted galaxy (NGC 7319) is an infrared and radio source.» [166]

Physical Properties

The brightest and largest galaxy in this quintet is NGC 7320. It does not belong to the group, but has a much smaller redshift and is in the foreground at a distance of about 14-18 Mpc, while the other galaxies are about 90-97 Mpc. [145] It is believed that it could be the physical companion of the larger galaxies NGC 7331, which is roughly the same distance away. A little further east is another small galaxy: NGC 7320C. It is about the same distance as the other galaxies and actually belongs to the group. All members of this group show gravitational interactions with one another. Kinematic studies showed that NGC 7320C and NGC 7318B invaded the group and created the tidal arms. [422]

Revised+Historic NGC/IC, Version 22/9, © Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke [277]
NameRADecTypebMagvMagDimDreyer DescriptionIdentification, Remarks
NGC 731722 35 51.9+33 56 43Gx (E4)14.613.60.4 × 0.4vF, vSMCG 6-49-38, CGCG 514-60, VV 288, Arp 319, HCG 92E, Stephan's quintet
NGC 7318 A22 35 56.7+33 57 58Gx (E2/P)14.313.41.2 × 1eF, eSUGC 12099, MCG 6-49-39, CGCG 514-61, VV 288, Arp 319, ARAK 560, HCG 92D, NPM1G +33.0464, Stephan's quintet
NGC 7318 B22 35 58.3+33 58 00Gx (SBbc) × 1.1eF, eSUGC 12100, MCG 6-49-40, CGCG 514-62, Arp 319, VV 288, HCG 92B, NPM1G +33.0464, Stephan's quintet
NGC 731922 36 03.5+33 58 35Gx (SBbc) × 1.1eF, eSUGC 12102, MCG 6-49-41, CGCG 514-64, IRAS 22337+3342, NPM1G +33.0466, HCG 92C, Arp 319, VV 288, Stephan's quintet
NGC 732022 36 03.5+33 56 54Gx (Scd) × 1.1F, vSUGC 12101, MCG 6-49-42, CGCG 514-63, VV 288, Arp 319, HCG 92A, Stephan's quintet
NGC 7320 A22 36 32.2+33 47 46Gx (S0) × 0.2F, vS
NGC 7320 B22 37 28.1+33 55 24Gx (S)15.614.80.6 × 0.2F, vSCGCG 514-72
NGC 7320 C22 36 20.3+33 59 08Gx (SB0-a)16.715.50.6 × 0.4F, vSMCG 6-49-43, NPM1G +33.0467, Member of Stephan's quintet?

Finder Chart

The galaxy group is located in the constellation Pegasus. The larger and brighter galaxy NGC 7331 can be used as a search aid. Stephen's quintet is only half a degree southwest of it. The best observation time is June to November.

Chart Stephans Quintet (Hickson 92)
Stephans Quintet (Hickson 92) in constellation Pegasus. Chart created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. [149, 160]

Visual Observation

762 mm Aperture: All five members of Stephen's quintet (NGC 7317, 7318A, 7318B, 7319, 7320) were clearly visible. A more detailed description was omitted due to advanced tiredness in the early morning hour. — 14. 8. 2021 Bernd Nies, Eduard von Bergen, 30" Slipstream Dobsonian, Hasliberg.

More Objects Nearby (±15°)


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)
313«A New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars, being the Catalogue of the late Sir John F.W. Herschel, Bart., revised, corrected, and enlarged» Dreyer, J. L. E. (1888); Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society. 49: 1–237; Bibcode:1888MmRAS..49....1D
420«Nébuleuses nouvelles découvertes et observées à l'Observatoire de Marseille» Par M. E. Stephan; Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 37, Issue 6, April 1877, Pages 334–339; DOI:10.1093/mnras/37.6.334
421Galactic Wreckage in Stephan's Quintet; (2021-08-19)
422«Searching for intergalactic star forming regions in Stephan’s Quintet with SITELLE» S. Duarte Puertas, J. Iglesias-Páramo, J. M. Vilchez, L. Drissen, C. Kehrig and T. Martin; A&A Volume 629, September 2019; DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201935686