Celestial Atlas
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Page last updated Apr 1, 2017
Checked Steinicke NGC Historic, added Dreyer NGC entries
WORKING 6850: Add/update Steinicke listings/data, check IDs

NGC 6850 (= PGC 64043)
Discovered (Jun 9, 1836) by
John Herschel
A 13th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type SB0/a?) in Telescopium (RA 20 03 29.8, Dec -54 50 43)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6850 (= GC 4530 = JH 3806, 1860 RA 19 52 28, NPD 145 13.8) is "very faint, small, round, brighter middle".
Physical Information: Apparent size 2.1 by 1.1? arcmin
DSS image of region near lenticular galaxy NGC 6850
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 6850
Below, a 2.4 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of lenticular galaxy NGC 6850

NGC 6851 (= PGC 64044)
Discovered (Sep 5, 1836) by
John Herschel
A 12th-magnitude elliptical galaxy (type E3?) in Telescopium (RA 20 03 34.3, Dec -48 17 04)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6851 (= GC 4531 = JH 3807, 1860 RA 19 53 19, NPD 138 39.2) is "pretty faint, small, very little extended, pretty suddenly brighter middle".
Physical Information: Apparent size 2.0 by 1.5? arcmin

PGC 64086 (= "NGC 6851A")
Not an NGC object but listed here since sometimes called NGC 6851A
A 14th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sbc?) in
Telescopium (RA 20 05 48.9, Dec -47 58 37)
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.3 by 0.6? arcmin

PGC 64082 (= "NGC 6851B")
Not an NGC object but listed here since sometimes called NGC 6851B
A 15th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SBcd?) in
Telescopium (RA 20 05 39.9, Dec -47 58 45)
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.1 by 0.2? arcmin

NGC 6852
Discovered (Jun 25, 1863) by
Albert Marth
A 13th-magnitude planetary nebula in Aquila (RA 20 00 39.2, Dec +01 43 43)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NG 6852 (= GC 5949, Marth #404, 1860 RA 19 53 28, NPD 88 39) is "a faint nebula, among stars".
Physical Information: Apparent size 0.47? arcmin
DSS image of region near planetary nebula NGC 6852
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 6852
Below, a 2.4 arcmin wide DSS image of the planetary nebula
DSS image of planetary nebula NGC 6852

NGC 6853 (=
M27), the Dumbbell Nebula
Discovered (Jul 12, 1764) by Charles Messier and listed as M27
Also observed (Aug 24, 1827) by John Herschel
A 7th-magnitude planetary nebula in Vulpecula (RA 19 59 36.3, Dec +22 43 18)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6853 (= GC 4532 = JH 2060, M 27, 1860 RA 19 53 33, NPD 67 39.6) is "a magnificent or otherwise interesting object, very bright, very large, binuclear, irregularly extended (Dumbbell)".
Physical Information: Apparent size 6.7? arcmin
Misti Mountain Observatory image of region near planetary nebula NGC 6853, the Dumbbell Nebula, also known as M27
Above, a 12 arcmin wide image of M27 (Image Credit & © Jim Misti, Misti Mountain Observatory; used by permission)
Below, a ? arcmin wide image of the nebula (Image Credit Joe & Gail Metcalf, Adam Block, NOAO, AURA, NSF)
NOAO image of planetary nebula NGC 6853, the Dumbbell Nebula, also known as M27

NGC 6854 (= PGC 64080)
Discovered (Jul 9, 1834) by
John Herschel
A 12th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type E/SB0?) in Telescopium (RA 20 05 38.6, Dec -54 22 30)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6854 (= GC 4533 = JH 3808, 1860 RA 19 54 41, NPD 144 45.7) is "faint, small, very little extended, gradually a little brighter middle".
Physical Information: Apparent size 2.0 by 1.3? arcmin

NGC 6855 (= PGC 64116)
Discovered (Jul 10, 1834) by
John Herschel
A 13th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type SB0/a?) in Telescopium (RA 20 06 49.7, Dec -56 23 23)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6855 (= GC 4534 = JH 3809, 1860 RA 19 55 32, NPD 146 47.0) is "pretty faint, small, round".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.5 by 1.3? arcmin

NGC 6856
Discovered (Sep 24, 1829) by
John Herschel
A group of stars in Cygnus (RA 19 59 17.1, Dec +56 07 53)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6856 (= GC 4535 = JH 2063, 1860 RA 19 56 09, NPD 34 15.2) is "a cluster, pretty small, pretty much compressed, irregularly round, stars from 12th to 16th magnitude".
Physical Information: Apparent size 3.0? arcmin. Possibly a physically connected group, or open cluster.

NGC 6857
Discovered (Sep 6, 1784) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Aug 19, 1828) by John Herschel
An emission nebula in Cygnus (RA 20 01 48.0, Dec +33 31 30)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6857 (= GC 4536 = JH 2062 = WH III 144, 1860 RA 19 56 24, NPD 56 51.6) is "faint, among Milky Way stars".
Physical Information: Apparent size 0.63? arcmin. (Steinicke notes not a planetary nebula)

NGC 6858
Discovered (Jul 29, 1829) by
John Herschel
A group of stars in Aquila (RA 20 03 00.0, Dec +11 15 36)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6858 (= GC 4537 = JH 2061, 1860 RA 19 56 24, NPD 79 07.4) is "a cluster, considerably large, extended, pretty rich, stars from 13th magnitude".
Physical Information: Apparent size 5.0? arcmin

NGC 6859
Recorded (Nov 24, 1852) by
George Bond
Three stars in Aquila (RA 20 03 49.5, Dec +00 26 40)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6859 (= GC 4538, G. P. Bond (24, HN 6), 1860 RA 19 56 40, NPD 89 56.7) is "a very small cluster, 10th magnitude star 1 second of time to west, 1' 29" to south (Auwers 46)", Auwers 46 meaning that John Herschel obtained the information about the discovery from Auwers' catalog.
Physical Information:

NGC 6860 (= PGC 64166)
Discovered (Aug 11, 1836) by
John Herschel
A 13th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sb?) in Pavo (RA 20 08 47.1, Dec -61 05 59)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6860 (= GC 4539 = JH 3810, 1860 RA 19 56 41, NPD 151 29.5) is "faint, pretty small, gradually brighter middle".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.3 by 0.8? arcmin

NGC 6861 (=
IC 4949 = PGC 64136)
Discovered (Jul 30, 1826) by James Dunlop (and later listed as NGC 6861)
Also observed (Jul 7, 1834) by John Herschel (and later listed as NGC 6861)
Discovered (Jul 8, 1897) by Lewis Swift (and later listed as IC 4949)
An 11th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type E/S0(s)? pec) in Telescopium (RA 20 07 19.4, Dec -48 22 10)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6861 (= GC 4540 = JH 3811, Dunlop 425, 1860 RA 19 57 05, NPD 138 46.1) is "bright, small, considerably extended, gradually pretty much brighter middle".
Physical Information: Apparent size 3.0 by 2.0? arcmin
*Carnegie and HLA have images of the galaxy and its core, respectively*

PGC 64086 (= "NGC 6861A")
Not an NGC object but listed here since sometimes called NGC 6861A
A 14th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sbc?) in
Telescopium (RA 20 05 48.9, Dec -47 58 37)
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.3 by 0.6? arcmin

PGC 64094 (= "NGC 6861B")
Not an NGC object but listed here since sometimes called NGC 6861B
A 14th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type S0?) in
Telescopium (RA 20 06 05.5, Dec -48 28 28)
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.2 by 0.3? arcmin

PGC 64107 (= "NGC 6861C")
Not an NGC object but listed here since sometimes called NGC 6861C
A 14th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type S0?) in
Telescopium (RA 20 06 41.3, Dec -48 38 57)
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.2 by 0.5? arcmin

PGC 64153 (= "NGC 6861D")
Not an NGC object but listed here since sometimes called NGC 6861D
A 12th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type E/S0?) in
Telescopium (RA 20 08 19.3, Dec -48 12 43)
Physical Information: Apparent size 2.1 by 0.7? arcmin

PGC 64216 (= "NGC 6861E")
Not an NGC object but listed here since sometimes called NGC 6861E
A 14th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sab?) in
Telescopium (RA 20 11 01.4, Dec -48 41 26)
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.4 by 0.3? arcmin

PGC 64219 (= "NGC 6861F")
Not an NGC object but listed here since sometimes called NGC 6861F
A 15th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SBd?) in
Telescopium (RA 20 11 11.7, Dec -48 16 32)
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.6 by 0.3? arcmin

NGC 6862 (= PGC 64168)
Discovered (Jul 9, 1834) by
John Herschel
A 13th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SBbc?) in Telescopium (RA 20 08 54.5, Dec -56 23 30)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6862 (= GC 4541 = JH 3812, 1860 RA 19 57 40, NPD 146 47.3) is "faint, small, a little extended, gradually a little brighter middle".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.6 by 1.3? arcmin

NGC 6863
Discovered (Jul 25, 1827) by
John Herschel
A chain of stars in Aquila (RA 20 05 07.3, Dec -03 33 13)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6863 (= GC 4542 = JH 2065, 1860 RA 19 57 47, NPD 93 57.0) is "a cluster, small, very much compressed, stars of 19th magnitude".

NGC 6864 (=
M75 = GCL 116)
Discovered (Aug 27, 1780) by Pierre Méchain
Recorded (1780) by Charles Messier as M75
Also observed (Jul 28, 1830) by John Herschel
A magnitude 8.6 globular cluster (type I) in Sagittarius (RA 20 06 04.8, Dec -21 55 15)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6864 (= GC 4543 = JH 2064, Méchain, M 75, 1860 RA 19 57 49, NPD 112 19.0) is "a globular cluster, bright, pretty large, round, very much brighter middle and bright nucleus, partially resolved (some stars seen)".
Physical Information: Over 100 light years across, and 60 to 100 thousand light years away (apparent size 6.8? arcmin).
Misti Mountain Observatory image of globular cluster NGC 6864, also known as M75, overlaid on DSS image of region near the cluster to fill in areas not otherwise covered
Above, a 12 arcmin wide composite image centered on NGC 6864
(Foreground image Misti Mountain Observatory (as shown below); superimposed on a DSS background)
Below, a ? arcmin wide image of the cluster
(Image Credit & © Jim Misti, Misti Mountain Observatory; used by permission)
Misti Mountain Observatory closeup of globular cluster NGC 6864, also known as M75
Below, a ? arcmin wide image of the cluster (Image Credit WIYN, AURA, NSF, NOAO)
NOAO image of globular cluster NGC 6864, also known as M75

NGC 6865 (= PGC 64089)
Discovered (Jun 28, 1863) by
Albert Marth
A 15th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type S0?) in Aquila (RA 20 05 56.4, Dec -09 02 26)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6865 (= GC 5950, Marth #405, 1860 RA 19 58 20, NPD 99 26) is "faint, small, extended".
Physical Information: Apparent size 0.8 by 0.6? arcmin

NGC 6866 (= OCL 183)
Discovered (Jul 23, 1783) by
Caroline Herschel
Also observed (Sep 11, 1790) by William Herschel
Also observed (Aug 21, 1829) by John Herschel
An 8th-magnitude open cluster (type II2m) in Cygnus (RA 20 03 55.1, Dec +44 09 33)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6866 (= GC 4544 = JH 2066 = WH VII 59, (Caroline Herschel), 1860 RA 19 59 11, NPD 46 23.8) is "a cluster, large, very rich, considerably compressed".
Discovery Notes: Although Caroline Herschel discovered this cluster in 1783, William Herschel's published paper only lists his own (later) observation of the cluster; hence her absence in Dreyer's entry for this object, and her inclusion here in parentheses.
Physical Information: Apparent size 7.0? arcmin

NGC 6867 (= PGC 64203)
Discovered (Jun 9, 1836) by
John Herschel
A 13th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SBbc?) in Telescopium (RA 20 10 30.0, Dec -54 47 03)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6867 (= GC 4545 = JH 3813, 1860 RA 19 59 32, NPD 145 11.1) is "most extremely faint, large, pretty much extended".
Physical Information: Apparent size 2.0 by 0.7? arcmin

NGC 6868 (= PGC 64192)
Discovered (Jul 7, 1834) by
John Herschel
An 11th-magnitude elliptical galaxy (type E2?) in Telescopium (RA 20 09 54.0, Dec -48 22 48)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6868 (= GC 4546 = JH 3814, 1860 RA 19 59 41, NPD 138 46.4) is "very bright, small, round, pretty gradually very much brighter middle".
Physical Information: Apparent size 3.6 by 2.8? arcmin

NGC 6869 (= PGC 63972)
Discovered (Aug 26, 1884) by
Lewis Swift
A 12th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type S0?) in Draco (RA 20 00 42.3, Dec +66 13 41)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6869 (Swift list II (#83) and IV (#??), 1860 RA 19 59 48, NPD 24 09.1) is "pretty bright, pretty small, round".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.6 by 1.3? arcmin

NGC 6870 (= PGC 64197)
Discovered (Jul 7, 1834) by
John Herschel
A 12th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sab?) in Telescopium (RA 20 10 10.4, Dec -48 17 12)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6870 (= GC 4547 = JH 3815, 1860 RA 19 59 58, NPD 138 41.3) is "considerably faint, considerably small, extended 90°, gradually brighter middle".
Physical Information: Apparent size 2.6 by 1.3? arcmin

NGC 6871 (= OCL 148)
First observed (Sep 23, 1783) by
William Herschel
Discovered (1825) by Wilhelm Struve
Also observed (Aug 19, 1828) by John Herschel
A 5th-magnitude open cluster (type IV3p) in Cygnus (RA 20 06 27.0, Dec +35 47 24)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6871 (= GC 4548 = JH 2067, Struve 2630, 1860 RA 20 00 38, NPD 54 37.2) is "a cluster, stars large and small, double star involved".
Discovery Notes: For more than a century it was thought that Struve was the first to observe this object; but per Steinicke, Herschel had already observed the cluster (but not recorded it as such) during his early studies of double stars, whence the date of observation shown above.
Physical Information: Apparent size 30? arcmin

NGC 6872 (= PGC 64413)
Discovered (Jun 27, 1835) by
John Herschel
A 12th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SB(s)b? pec) in Pavo (RA 20 16 57.0, Dec -70 46 04)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6872 (= GC 4549 = JH 3816, 1860 RA 20 02 03, NPD 161 11.9) is "faint, pretty small, a little extended, gradually a little brighter middle, 9th magnitude star 10.5 seconds of time to west, 1st of 4", the others being NGC 6876, 6877 and 6880.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 4555 km/sec, NGC 6872 is about 210 million light years away. Given that and its apparent size of 7.0 by 1.0 arcmin, it is about 430 thousand light years across. This is the extent of its wide-spread arms, which are caused by its gravitational interaction with lenticular galaxy IC 4970; the central portion of the galaxy, which is only 2.0 by 0.9 arcmin, is only about 125 thousand light years across. Still, our own Milky Way galaxy is only about 100 thousand light years across, so NGC 6872 is an unusually large galaxy (in fact, according to a 2013 NASA report, perhaps the largest known spiral galaxy).
Capella Observatory image of spiral galaxy NGC 6872 and IC 4970, superimposed on a DSS image of region near the interacting pair; the northwestern outskirts of NGC 6876 are also shown
Above, a 12 arcmin wide image centered on NGC 6872, showing IC 4970 and part of NGC 6876
(Image Credit & © above & below Capella Observatory (superimposed on DSS background); used by permission)
Below, a 6 arcmin wide closeup of the image above
Capella Observatory image of spiral galaxy NGC 6872 and IC 4970, superimposed on a DSS image of region near the interacting pair
Below, a 6.5 by 3.0 arcmin Gemini Observatory image of NGC 6872 and IC 4970 (north on upper right)
(Image Credit & © Sydney Girls High School Astronomy Club, Travis Rector (University of Alaska, Anchorage),
Ángel López-Sánchez (Australian Astronomical Observatory/Macquarie University), and the Australian Gemini Office)

Gemini Observatory image of interacting galaxies NGC 6872 and IC 4970

NGC 6873
Discovered (1825) by
Wilhelm Struve
Also observed (Aug 5, 1831) by John Herschel
A group of stars in Sagitta (RA 20 07 13.0, Dec +21 06 08)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6873 (= GC 4550 = JH 2068, Struve 2631, 1860 RA 20 02 05, NPD 69 17.9) is "a cluster, a little compressed, stars from 10th to 13th magnitude, double star involved".
Physical Information: Apparent size 14? arcmin

NGC 6874 (= OCL 157.1)
Discovered (Sep 15, 1792) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Aug 6, 1829) by John Herschel
An open cluster (type IV1m) in Cygnus (RA 20 07 48.0, Dec +38 14 00)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6874 (= GC 4551 = JH 2069 = WH VIII 86, 1860 RA 20 02 44, NPD 52 09.6) is "a cluster, poor, a little compressed".
Physical Information: Apparent size 7.0? arcmin

NGC 6875 (= PGC 64296)
Discovered (Jul 1, 1834) by
John Herschel
Also observed (date?) by DeLisle Stewart
A 12th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type E/SB0?) in Telescopium (RA 20 13 12.3, Dec -46 09 41)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6875 (= GC 4552 = JH 3819, 1860 RA 20 03 15, NPD 136 34.4) is "faint, very small, round, very gradually much brighter middle, 7th magnitude star to northeast". The second IC adds "7th magnitude star 3 arcmin to southwest, not northeast (DeLisle Stewart). h. in Cape Obs. has southeast", "h." meaning John Herschel (JH in this catalog).
Physical Information: Apparent size 2.4 by 1.4? arcmin.

PGC 64240 (= "NGC 6875A")
Not an NGC object but listed here since sometimes called NGC 6875A
A 13th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SBbc?) in
Telescopium (RA 20 11 55.9, Dec -46 08 35)
Physical Information: Apparent size 2.7 by 0.4? arcmin

NGC 6876 (= PGC 64447)
Discovered (Jun 27, 1835) by
John Herschel
An 11th-magnitude elliptical galaxy (type E??) in Pavo (RA 20 18 19.1, Dec -70 51 30)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6876 (= GC 4553 = JH 3817, 1860 RA 20 03 28, NPD 161 17.1) is "pretty bright, small, round, extremely small (faint) star to southeast, 2nd of 4", the others being NGC 6872, 6877 and 6880.
Physical Information: Apparent size 2.7 by 2.4? arcmin

IC 4945 (= PGC 64222 = "NGC 6876A")
Not an NGC object but listed here since sometimes called NGC 6876A
Discovered (Sep 21, 1900) by DeLisle Stewart
A magnitude 13.9 spiral galaxy (type Sb?) in Pavo (RA 20 11 16.9, Dec -71 00 46)
Warning About Non-Standard Designation: More appropriately called IC 4945 (especially since "NGC 6876A" is sometimes incorrectly used for NGC 6876 itself); see the IC entry for anything else.

NGC 6877 (= PGC 64457)
Discovered (Jun 27, 1835) by
John Herschel
A 12th-magnitude elliptical galaxy (type E??) in Pavo (RA 20 18 35.9, Dec -70 51 10)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6877 (= GC 4554 = JH 3818, 1860 RA 20 03 45, NPD 161 17.2) is "very faint, very small, round, 3rd of 4", the others being NGC 6872, 6876 and 6880.
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.1 by 0.6? arcmin

NGC 6878 (= PGC 64317)
Discovered (Jul 27, 1834) by
John Herschel
A 13th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SBb?) in Sagittarius (RA 20 13 53.2, Dec -44 31 36)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6878 (= GC 4555 = JH 3821, 1860 RA 20 04 03, NPD 134 56.5) is "very faint, pretty large, round, gradually a little brighter middle".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.6 by 1.3? arcmin

PGC 64314 (= "NGC 6878A")
Not an NGC object but listed here since sometimes called NGC 6878A
A 13th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SBb?) in
Sagittarius (RA 20 13 36.1, Dec -44 48 59)
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.8 by 0.8? arcmin

NGC 6879
Discovered (May 8, 1883) by
Edward Pickering
Discovered (Sep 9, 1884) by Ralph Copeland
A 13th-magnitude planetary nebula in Sagitta (RA 20 10 26.6, Dec +16 55 22)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6879 (Pickering (HN 55), Copeland, 1860 RA 20 04 04, NPD 73 29.3) is "a planetary nebula, stellar, equivalent to 10th-magnitude star". The position precesses to RA 20 10 26.6, Dec +16 55 22, dead center on the star in question, so the identification is certain. As in the case of Pickering's other "stellar" planetaries, NGC 6879 is only a few arcsec across, and appears almost perfectly stellar even under high magnification; however, using a filter (such as an OIII filter) that blocks out all radiation save that emitted by clouds of interstellar gas it is possible to "blink" the object. Switching the filter in and out causes stars, which emit only a small portion of their light at the wavelengths passed by the filter, look markedly fainter when the filter is in place, while nebulae look nearly as bright with the filter as without.
Physical Information: Apparent size 9 arcsec.
DSS image of region near planetary nebula NGC 6879
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 6879
Below, even a 2.4 arcmin wide DSS image shows little evidence of its nebular nature
DSS image of planetary nebula NGC 6879

NGC 6880 (= PGC 64479)
Discovered (Jun 27, 1835) by
John Herschel
A 12th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type SB0/a?) in Pavo (RA 20 19 29.6, Dec -70 51 34)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6880 (= GC 4556 = JH 3820, 1860 RA 20 04 41, NPD 161 17.1) is "faint, small, round, mottled but not resolved, very small (faint) star attached, 4th of 4", the others being NGC 6872, 6876 and 6877.
Physical Information: Apparent size 2.0 by 0.9? arcmin

NGC 6881
Discovered (Nov 25, 1881) by
Edward Pickering
A 14th-magnitude planetary nebula in Cygnus (RA 20 10 52.5, Dec +37 24 44)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6881 (Pickering (HN 44), 1860 RA 20 05 43, NPD 53 00) is "a planetary nebula, stellar". The position precesses to RA 20 10 52.9, Dec +37 24 50, within 0.1 arcmin of the star in question, so the identification is certain. As in the case of Pickering's other "stellar" planetaries (such as NGC 6879), NGC 6881 is only a few arcsec across and appears almost perfectly stellar even under high magnification; however, using a filter (such as an OIII filter) which blocks out all radiation save that emitted by clouds of interstellar gas, it is possible to "blink" the object. Switching the filter in and out causes stars, which emit only a small portion of their light at the wavelengths passed by the filter, look markedly fainter when the filter is in place, while nebulae look nearly as bright with the filter as without.
Physical Information: Apparent size 16? arcsec.
DSS image of region near planetary nebula NGC 6881
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 6881
Below, even a 2.4 arcmin wide DSS image barely suggests the planetary's nebular nature
DSS image of planetary nebula NGC 6881
Below, a ? arcmin wide image of the nebula (Image Credit Joseph Schulman, ESA/ESO/NASA, Hubble Legacy Archive)
HST image of planetary nebula NGC 6881

NGC 6882 (=
NGC 6885 = OCL 132)
Discovered (Sep 9, 1784) by William Herschel (and later listed NGC 6885)
Also observed (Aug 18, 1828) by John Herschel (and later listed as NGC 6885)
Discovered (Sep 10, 1784) by William Herschel (and later listed NGC 6882)
An 8th-magnitude open cluster (type III2p) in Vulpecula (RA 20 11 58.0, Dec +26 29 00)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6882 (= GC 4557 = WH VIII 22, 1860 RA 20 05 58, NPD 63 42.6) is "a cluster, poor, a little compressed".
Physical Information: Apparent size 2.0? arcmin.

NGC 6883 (= OCL 152)
Discovered (Aug 19, 1828) by
John Herschel
An 8th-magnitude open cluster (type I3p) in Cygnus (RA 20 11 18.0, Dec +35 51 00)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6883 (= GC 4558 = JH 2070, 1860 RA 20 05 59, NPD 54 34.3) is "a cluster, pretty rich, double star involved".
Physical Information: Apparent size 35? arcmin

NGC 6884 (=
NGC 6766)
Discovered (May 8, 1883) by Edward Pickering (and later listed as NGC 6766)
Discovered (Sep 20, 1884) by Ralph Copeland (and later listed as NGC 6884)
An 11th-magnitude planetary nebula in Cygnus (RA 20 10 23.7, Dec +46 27 40)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6884 (Copeland, 1860 RA 20 05 59, NPD 43 57.2) is "a planetary nebula, stellar". The position precesses to RA 20 10 23.6, Dec +46 27 37, dead on the star in question, so the identification is certain. (For a discussion of the double listing, and of Pickering's ingenious way of detecting "stellar" planetaries, see NGC 6766.)
Physical Information: As for many of the "stellar" planetaries discovered by Pickering and Copeland, NGC 6884 is hardly discernible from an ordinary star save with the use of filters. A "blink" comparison, in which a filter which blocks out light not given off by clouds of interstellar gas, is the easiest way for an amateur observer to tell which of the numerous stars in the region is the planetary nebula. When using such a filter (an OIII filter is the one most commonly used) stars appear noticeably fainter, while nebulous objects are nearly as bright as without the filter; so switching back and forth, the observer looks for objects which "blink" brighter than their neighbors when using the filter. However, as shown in the images below, NGC 6884 does exhibit a nebular ring around the central star. The ring is so much fainter than the star that it would not be visible either visually or in photographs taken with most amateur telescopes. The "normal" planetary nebula (such as imaged by the HST in the last image below) is part of the stellar object at the center of the ring, and I have yet to find any reference to the ring in the literature. This does not mean that it does not exist, and is merely an "artifact"; it is probably a roughly spherical cloud of material ejected by the central star a few thousand years ago, now faded to insignificance. If so, it represents the eventual fate of all planetary nebulae -- to become so large, rarefied, and poorly illuminated that they fade and disappear even as they continue to expand into interstellar space. The distance of objects such as NGC 6884 is typically more a matter of guesswork than direct observation, as the stars at their center are not Main Sequence stars, and have no "standard candle" to help us determine how bright they really are, and from that how far away they might be. In this case, studies of the expansion of the nebula (using HST images) by Palen et al yield distance estimates of 4 to 8 thousand light years; not a terribly precise value, but still better than nothing. Given that and the approximately 1.2 arcmin size of the outer ring, the outer structure is about 2 light years across, while the few arcsec apparent size of the "stellar" planetary corresponds to about a tenth of that value.
DSS image of region near planetary nebula NGC 6884
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 6884
Below, a 2.4 arcmin wide DSS image of the nebula shows a faint outer ring
DSS image of planetary nebula NGC 6884
Below, a ? arcmin wide image of the nebula's core (Image Credit Howard Bond (STScI), NASA/ESA/HST)
HST image of planetary nebula NGC 6884

NGC 6885 (=
NGC 6882 = OCL 132)
Discovered (Sep 9, 1784) by William Herschel (and later listed NGC 6885)
Also observed (Aug 18, 1828) by John Herschel (and later listed as NGC 6885)
Discovered (Sep 10, 1784) by William Herschel (and later listed NGC 6882)
An 8th-magnitude open cluster (type III2p) in Vulpecula (RA 20 11 58.0, Dec +26 29 00)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6885 (= GC 4559 = JH 2071 = WH VIII 20, 1860 RA 20 06 07, NPD 63 55.7) is "a cluster, very bright, very large, rich, a little compressed, stars from 6th to 11th magnitude".
Physical Information: Given the duplicate entry, see NGC 6882 for anything else.

NGC 6886
Discovered (Sep 17, 1884) by
Ralph Copeland
An 11th-magnitude planetary nebula in Sagitta (RA 20 12 42.8, Dec +19 59 24)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6886 (Copeland, 1860 RA 20 06 29, NPD 70 25.7) is "a planetary nebula, stellar, equivalent to 10th magnitude". The position precesses to RA 20 12 42.5, Dec +19 59 22, dead on the star in question, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Like most of Copeland's stellar planetaries, NGC 6886 is essentially indistinguishable from an ordinary star using ordinary methods of observation (its apparent size of 0.17 arcmin = only 10 arcsec); but see NGC 6884 for a discussion of the "blink" method used by amateur observers to identify such objects, or NGC 6766 for a discussion of the spectroscopic method used by observers of the late 1800's and early 1900's.
DSS image of region near planetary nebula NGC 6886
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 6886
Below, a 2.4 arcmin wide DSS image only hints at the nature of the planetary nebula
DSS image of planetary nebula NGC 6886
Below, a ? arcmin wide image of the nebula's core (Image Credit ESA/NASA/HST)
HST image of planetary nebula NGC 6886

NGC 6887 (= PGC 64427)
Discovered (Jul 24, 1835) by
John Herschel
A 12th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sbc?) in Telescopium (RA 20 17 17.0, Dec -52 47 50)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6887 (= GC 4560 = JH 3822, 1860 RA 20 06 38, NPD 143 12.5) is "pretty faint, considerably large, pretty much extended, gradually a little brighter middle".
Physical Information: Apparent size 3.2 by 1.3? arcmin

NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula
Discovered (Sep 15, 1792) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Oct 18, 1895) by Guillaume Bigourdan
A 7th-magnitude emission nebula in Cygnus (RA 20 12 06.5, Dec +38 21 18)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6888 (= GC 4561 = WH IV 72, 1860 RA 20 07 22, NPD 52 01.5) is "faint, very large, very much extended, double star attached". The second IC lists a corrected 1860 RA (per Bigourdan) of 20 07 01.
Discovery Notes: Bigourdan also observed the region on Jun 30, 1884, and stated that the region was "rich in stars", but that he could find no sign of the nebula; it was only on the date shown above that he found the nebula "20 seconds of time preceding" the NGC position (whence the correction in the IC2).
Physical Information: The Crescent Nebula is an emission nebula caused by the collision of two waves of gaseous emissions by the "bright" (7th-magnitude) star near its center, WR 136. The star is an approximately 4.5 million year old Wolf-Rayet star of perhaps 40 to 80 solar masses. Wolf-Rayet stars are very massive, extremely hot stars (originally O-type Main Sequence stars) which are near the end of their lives. A few hundred thousand years ago the star swelled up to become a red super-giant, and ejected a few tenths of a solar mass of gas at about 20 thousand miles per hour. About 200 thousand years later, it heated up to several hundred thousand degrees, and began ejecting about a solar mass of super-heated gas per ten thousand years, at nearly 1% the speed of light (3 to 4 million miles per hour). As the faster moving, hotter gas reached the shower-moving, cooler gas previously released, it created a supersonic shock wave, causing the nebula to emit visible (primarily red H) light, as well as ultraviolet and X-radiation. The complex filamentary structure of the nebula is real, but its spherical structure is tissue-thin in comparison to its size. Only the surface of the structure is glowing; the hot gas streaming away from the star is essentially invisible. Within a few thousand years the current nebula will fade away, as its gas disperses into the surrounding space; but within a hundred thousand years, a new and even more spectacular nebula will form when the star supernovas. WR 136 and its nebula are about 4700 light years away. Given that and the approximately 18 by 12 arcmin apparent size of the nebula, NGC 6888 is about 25 light years across.
DSS image of emission nebula NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula
Above, a 20 arcmin wide view of NGC 6888
Below, a ? arcmin wide image of the nebula (Image Credit T. A. Rector (NRAO), NOAO, AURA, NSF)
NOAO image of emission nebula NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula
Below, a HST false-color image of a shock-heated portion of the nebula. The black and white visible-light image shows the region covered by the HST closeup. (Image Credit NASA, Brian D. Moore, Jeff Hester, Paul Scowen (Arizona State University), Reginald Dufour (Rice University))
HST image of a portion of emission nebula NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula
Below, a Chandra space telescope X-ray image of a region which includes the HST image above, superimposed on a ground-based image of the whole nebula. The X-radiation detected by Chandra (shown in false-color blue) represents gas shock-heated to about 2 million Fahrenheit degrees. (Image Credits: X-ray: NASA/UIUC/Y. Chu & R. Gruendl et al. Optical: SDSU/MLO/Y. Chu et al.)
Chandra X-ray image of a portion of emission nebula NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula, superimposed on a ground-based image of the entire nebula

NGC 6889 (= PGC 64464)
Discovered (Jun 9, 1836) by
John Herschel
A 13th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SBbc?) in Telescopium (RA 20 18 53.3, Dec -53 57 24)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6889 (= GC 4562 = JH 3823, 1860 RA 20 08 06, NPD 144 23.0) is "very faint, large, a little extended".
Physical Information: Apparent size 0.9 by 0.7? arcmin

NGC 6890 (= PGC 64446)
Discovered (Jul 1, 1834) by
John Herschel
A 12th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SBb?) in Sagittarius (RA 20 18 18.0, Dec -44 48 23)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6890 (= GC 4563 = JH 3824, 1860 RA 20 08 30, NPD 135 13.9) is "pretty faint, small, round, very gradually a little brighter middle".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.6 by 1.3? arcmin

NGC 6891
Discovered (Sep 22, 1884) by
Ralph Copeland
An 11th-magnitude planetary nebula in Delphinus (RA 20 15 08.9, Dec +12 42 17)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6891 (Copeland, 1860 RA 20 08 32, NPD 77 41.2) is "a planetary nebula, stellar, equivalent to 9.5 magnitude". The position precesses to RA 20 15 07.4, Dec +12 44 15, about 2 arcmin north northwest of the star in question, but there is nothing else nearby which in any way matches the description, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Like many of Copeland's "stellar" planetary nebulae, the central portion of NGC 6891 looks very much like a star (its 0.35 arcmin apparent size corresponding to only 21 arcsec), but there is a faint outer ring visible in long-exposure photographs, which (as in the case of NGC 6884) was presumably ejected by the central star several thousand years ago, and is now fading from view; and even the inner region displays a complex structure in high-resolution images, such as the HST image below. The distance of planetary nebulae is typically more a matter of guesswork than direct observation, as the stars at their center are not Main Sequence stars, and provide no "standard candle" to help us determine how bright they really are. In the case of NGC 6891, the distance has been estimated from studies of the expansion of the nebula, as measured with HST images spaced over a period of about four years. The expansion rate for NGC 6891 turned out to be so slow that it could not be measured in the brief time involved; but comparison with the other objects studied suggests that it is at least 3000 light years away, as any closer distance would have yielded measurable results (closer distances making the nebula and its expansion rate appear larger).
DSS image of region near planetary nebula NGC 6891
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 6891
Below, a 2.4 arcmin wide DSS image of the nebula shows a faint outer halo
DSS image of planetary nebula NGC 6891
Below, a ? arcmin wide HST image of the central nebula (Image Credit Hubble Legacy Archive)
HST image of planetary nebula NGC 6891

NGC 6892
Recorded (Jul 19, 1865) by Heinrich d'Arrest
Four stars in Sagitta (RA 20 16 57.1, Dec +18 01 12)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6892 (= GC 5951, d'Arrest, 1860 RA 20 10 33, NPD 72 23.9) is "an extremely faint nebulous star (perhaps an extremely small cluster?)" (the parentheses being in the original NGC entry).
Physical Information:

NGC 6893 (= PGC 64507)
Discovered (Jul 7, 1834) by
John Herschel
A 12th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type SB0?) in Telescopium (RA 20 20 49.6, Dec -48 14 22)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6893 (= GC 4564 = JH 3825, 1860 RA 20 10 43, NPD 138 40.9) is "pretty faint, small, round, suddenly very bright middle equivalent to 12th magnitude star".
Discovery Notes: In the NGC entry Dreyer copies John Herschel's GC description of "svbM*12". This would normally be read "suddenly very brighter middle equivalent to 12th magnitude star", but that is not consistent with Herschel's typical descriptions, so he probably meant to write "svBM*12", which would translate as "suddenly very bright middle equivalent to 12th magnitude star", as shown in the Historical Identification above.
Physical Information: Apparent size 2.6 by 1.7? arcmin

NGC 6894
Discovered (Jul 17, 1784) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Sep 4, 1825) by John Herschel
A 12th-magnitude planetary nebula in Cygnus (RA 20 16 24.0, Dec +30 33 57)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6894 (= GC 4565 = JH 2072 = WH IV 13, 1860 RA 20 10 45, NPD 59 51.8) is "a very remarkable object, an annular nebula, faint, small, very very little extended".
Physical Information: Apparent size 0.92? arcmin
NOAO view of region near planetary nebula NGC 6894, overlaid on SDSS image of the region not covered by the NOAO image
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS/NOAO composite centered on NGC 6894 (NOAO Image Credit as below)
Below, a 2.4 arcmin wide image of the planetary (Image Credit Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF)
NOAO image of planetary nebula NGC 6894
Below, a ? arcmin wide HST image of part of the nebula (Image Credit Hubble Legacy Archive)
Raw HST image of northern portion of planetary nebula NGC 6894

NGC 6895
Discovered (Sep 30, 1790) by
William Herschel
A group of stars in Cygnus (RA 20 16 32.0, Dec +50 14 24)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6895 (= GC 4566 = WH VIII 83, 1860 RA 20 12 24, NPD 40 12.1) is "a cluster, pretty rich, a little compressed".
Physical Information: Apparent size 15? arcmin

NGC 6896
Recorded (Apr 16, 1862) by
Heinrich d'Arrest
Two stars in Cygnus (RA 20 18 03.6, Dec +30 38 26)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6896 (= GC 4567, d'Arrest, 1860 RA 20 12 26, NPD 59 47.4) is "a cluster (plus a nebula), small, stars very small (faint)", "plus a nebula?" being in parenthese in the original entry.

NGC 6897 (= PGC 64513)
Discovered (Jun 28, 1863) by
Albert Marth
Discovered (Aug 24, 1867) by Truman Safford
A 14th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sbc?) in Capricornus (RA 20 21 01.3, Dec -12 15 18)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6897 (= GC 5952, Marth #406, (Safford #??), 1860 RA 20 13 18, NPD 102 42) is "very faint, small".
Discovery Notes: Safford's observations were not published until many years after the fact, so Dreyer was not aware of them until the NGC was in the last stages of preparation. As a result, Safford's discoveries are partially noted in an appendix, and not at all in the individual NGC entries (hence his inclusion here in parentheses).
Physical Information: Apparent size 0.9 by 0.5? arcmin

NGC 6898 (= PGC 64517)
Discovered (Jun 28, 1863) by
Albert Marth
Discovered (Aug 24, 1867) by Truman Safford
A 13th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sa?) in Capricornus (RA 20 21 08.0, Dec -12 21 32)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6898 (= GC 5953, Marth #407, (Safford #??), 1860 RA 20 13 24, NPD 102 48) is "faint, small, irregularly round".
Discovery Notes: Safford's observations were not published until many years after the fact, so Dreyer was not aware of them until the NGC was in the last stages of preparation. As a result, Safford's discoveries are partially noted in an appendix, and not at all in the individual NGC entries (hence his inclusion here in parentheses).
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.2 by 0.7? arcmin

NGC 6899 (= PGC 64630)
Discovered (Jul 24, 1835) by
John Herschel
A 13th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SBbc?) in Telescopium (RA 20 24 22.3, Dec -50 26 01)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6899 (= GC 4568 = JH 3826, 1860 RA 20 14 04, NPD 140 52.0) is "faint, small, round, gradually a little brighter middle, among stars".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.7 by 1.0? arcmin
DSS image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 6899
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 6899
Below, a 2.4 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 6899
Celestial Atlas
(NGC 6800 - 6849) ←     NGC Objects: NGC 6850 - 6899     → (NGC 6900 - 6949)