Celestial Atlas
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Page last updated Apr 2, 2017
Checked Steinicke's discovery data, added Dreyer's NGC entries
WORKING 6950: Add/update Steinicke listings/data, check IDs

NGC 6950
Discovered (Oct 15, 1784) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Aug 26, 1827) by John Herschel
A group of stars in Delphinus (RA 20 41 10.5, Dec +16 38 55)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6950 (= GC 4597 = JH 2085 = WH VIII 23, 1860 RA 20 34 41, NPD 73 50.6) is "a cluster, poor, very little compressed".
Physical Information: A loose group of stars scattered across a 10 to 15 arcmin wide region.
DSS image of stellar grouping NGC 6950
Above, a 20 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 6950

NGC 6951 (=
NGC 6952 = PGC 65086)
Discovered (1877) by Jérôme Coggia (and later listed as NGC 6952)
Discovered (1878) by Lewis Swift (and later listed as NGC 6951)
Also observed (date?) by William Denning (while listed as NGC 6951 and 6952)
An 11th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SAB(rs)bc?) in Cepheus (RA 20 37 14.0, Dec +66 06 21)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6951 (Swift list II (#85), 1860 RA 20 35 16, NPD 24 23.0) is "pretty bright, pretty large, a little extended". The identity of the two entries has been recognized for more than a century. A note in the first Index Catalog indicates that (per Denning) NGC 6951 and 6952 are the same, and the second Index Catalog adds "6951: Place correct, 6952 to be struck out." Swift's position precesses to RA 20 37 02.0, Dec +66 06 28, about 12 seconds of time west of the nucleus, but well within the outline of the galaxy, so the identification is certain.
Discovery Notes: Swift's list II states that he observed the nebula on Sep 14, 1885, which is often given as the date of discovery; but his description says "Discovered many years ago with 4 1/2 inch." Wolfgang Steinicke gives 1878 as the date of that earlier observation, whence the date listed above.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 1425 km/sec, NGC 6951 is about 65 million light years away, in good agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 60 to 80 million light years. Given that and its 3.9 by 3.2 arcmin apparent size, the galaxy is about 75 thousand light years across. The bright core classifies NGC 6951 as a Seyfert galaxy (type Sy 2).
NOAO image of region near spiral galaxy NGC 6951, superimposed on a DSS background to show areas otherwise not covered
Above, a 12 arcmin wide composite image centered on NGC 6951 (NOAO image below overlaid on DSS background)
Below, a 5 arcmin wide image of the galaxy (Image Credit Cam & Connie Baher/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF)
NOAO image of spiral galaxy NGC 6951
Below, a 2.4 arcmin wide view of the eastern part of the galaxy (Image Credit Hubble Legacy Archive)
HST image of spiral galaxy NGC 6951

NGC 6952 (=
NGC 6951 = PGC 65086)
Discovered (1877) by Jérôme Coggia (and later listed as NGC 6952)
Discovered (1878) by Lewis Swift (and later listed as NGC 6951)
Also observed by William Denning (while listed as NGC 6951 and 6952)
An 11th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SAB(rs)bc?) in Cepheus (RA 20 37 14.0, Dec +66 06 21)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6952 (Coggia, 1860 RA 20 35 53, NPD 24 03.1) is "pretty bright, oval, diffuse, 15th magnitude star close following (to east)". Coggia's position precesses to RA 20 37 34.6, Dec +66 26 27, which is 20 arcmin north of the correct position, whereas Swift's position was reasonably accurate, so a double listing was inevitable. But as noted at NGC 6951, the equivalence of the two entries has been known for more than a century, the similarity of the two descriptions and the 15th-magnitude star just to the east of the nebula having led Denning to report it (as noted in the first IC), and Dreyer to state that NGC 6952 should be struck out (in the second IC).
Physical Information: Given the duplicate entry, see NGC 6951 for anything else.

NGC 6953
Discovered (Sep 14, 1885) by
Lewis Swift
Also observed (Sep 16, 1889) by Guillaume Bigourdan
Also observed (between Jul 1, 1899 and Jun 30, 1900) by Herbert Howe
A group of stars in Cepheus (RA 20 38 41.0, Dec +65 48 12)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6953 (Swift list II (#86), 1860 RA 20 36 08, NPD 24 43.5) is "most extremely faint, pretty large, round, very difficult". The second IC states "17s preceding (to the west of) the place is a very small group of 4 stars but no nebula (Howe). Bigourdan's place agrees with this."
Physical Information: Apparent size about 1.5 arcmin wide?

NGC 6954 (= PGC 65279)
Discovered (Jun 28, 1863) by
Albert Marth
A 13th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type S0/a?) in Delphinus (RA 20 44 03.3, Dec +03 12 34)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6954 (= GC 5969, Marth #421, 1860 RA 20 37 01, NPD 87 18) is "faint, small, very little extended".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.0 by 0.6? arcmin

NGC 6955 (= PGC 65287)
Discovered (Jun 28, 1863) by
Albert Marth
A 14th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sbc?) in Delphinus (RA 20 44 17.9, Dec +02 35 43)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6955 (= GC 5970, Marth #422, 1860 RA 20 37 12, NPD 87 55) is "extremely faint, pretty large, round".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.4 by 1.3? arcmin

NGC 6956 (= PGC 65269)
Discovered (Oct 19, 1784) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Jul 29, 1829) by John Herschel
A 12th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SBb?) in Delphinus (RA 20 43 53.7, Dec +12 30 44)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6956 (= GC 4598 = JH 2086 = WH III 219, 1860 RA 20 37 17, NPD 77 59.4) is "very faint, small, stellar, double star attached".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.9 by 1.9? arcmin

NGC 6957 (= PGC 65302)
Discovered (Jun 28, 1863) by
Albert Marth
A 14th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sc?) in Delphinus (RA 20 44 47.7, Dec +02 34 50)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6957 (= GC 5971, Marth #423, 1860 RA 20 37 41, NPD 87 55) is "very faint, small, round".
Physical Information: Apparent size 0.5 by 0.4? arcmin

NGC 6958 (= PGC 65436)
Discovered (Aug 24, 1834) by
John Herschel
An 11th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type E/S0?) in Microscopium (RA 20 48 42.6, Dec -37 59 52)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6958 (= GC 4599 = JH 3841, 1860 RA 20 39 39, NPD 128 30.4) is "bright, considerably small, pretty gradually much brighter middle, 4 stars to west".
Physical Information: Apparent size 2.5 by 1.9? arcmin

NGC 6959 (= PGC 65369)
Discovered (Sep 22, 1884) by
Guillaume Bigourdan
Also observed (Oct 17, 1897) by Guillaume Bigourdan
A 14th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type S0?) in Aquarius (RA 20 47 07.2, Dec +00 25 49)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6959 (Bigourdan (list II #84), 1860 RA 20 39 47, NPD 90 04.4) is "very faint". The second IC lists a corrected RA (per Bigourdan) of 20 39 58.
Discovery Notes: Bigourdan observed this object on four occasions: Sep 22, 1884, Aug 12, 1885, Oct 2, 1891 and Oct 17, 1897. In his "big" compendium he states that the position for his first observation was combined with the observation of Oct 17, 1897 to give the result in that catalog, and that a comparison of the position of his reference star with the position of NGC 6962 shows that the NGC position for NGC 6959 was 11 seconds of time too small (whence the IC2 correction). On that basis, the observation that should be credited with the IC2 correction is the one for Oct 17, 1897.
Physical Information: Apparent size 0.6 by 0.3? arcmin

NGC 6960: the Western Veil, Lace-Work Nebula, or Witch's Broom Nebula
Discovered (Sep 7, 1784) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Sep 16, 1828) by John Herschel
Part of a supernova remnant in Cygnus (RA 20 45 42, Dec +30 43 00)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6960 (= GC 4600 = JH 2088 = WH V 15, 1860 RA 20 39 53, NPD 59 47.2) is "a very remarkable object, pretty bright, considerably large, extremely irregular figure, κ Cygni involved". The position precesses to RA 20 45 39.8, Dec +30 43 18, dead center on 52 Cygni, the star actually "involved" with the nebula, so the identification is certain (Herschel's reference to κ Cygni must be wrong, as that star is on the opposite side of the constellation; he must have meant 52 Cyg).
Physical Information: The Veil Nebula, or Cygnus Loop, is an old supernova remnant near the end of the southeastern wing of Cygnus, the Swan. Estimates of its age range from 5000 to more than 15000 years, with the greater age being more generally agreed upon. It occupies a region just over 3 degrees across, and although about 7th magnitude overall, its light is so spread out that it cannot be observed in detail without filters which block out all light save for that emitted by specific atoms (mostly doubly ionized oxygen or OIII atoms and neutral hydrogen or HI atoms). However, its brighter portions are easily observed even with small telescopes in dark skies, and several parts of the nebula have catalog listings (among them NGC 6960, 6974, 6979, 6992, and 6995, and IC 1340), and fanciful names. NGC 6960 is called the Western Veil due to its position on the western side of the complex, but its appearance also leads to the designations Lace-Work Nebula, and Witch's Broom Nebula. The Cygnus Loop is 1500 to 1800 light years away, so the supernova remnant (SNR) is about 100 light years across. For young SNRs, the radiation of the nebula is due to absorption of radiation emitted by the stellar remnant at their core. For older remnants such as the Veil, the radiation is caused by shock-wave heating, as the expanding gas in the remnant collides with gas in interstellar space at about 400 thousand miles per hour. (Note: As fast as this seems, it is only a fraction of the original expansion rate, which must have exceeded a thousand miles per second.) This collision compresses knots of gas and dust that the expanding gas runs into, and it is not unusual to find clusters of hot, bright young stars scattered along the edges of such remnants. However, the 4th-magnitude star (52 Cygni) near NGC 6960 is not associated with the nebula at all, but merely a foreground object.
DSS image of Veil Nebula
Above, a 3 degree wide DSS image of the Veil Nebula
Below, a labeled version of the same image, showing its various NGC/IC designations
Labeled DSS image of Veil Nebula
Below, a ? arcmin wide image of the northern portion of NGC 6960
(Image Credit T. A. Rector/University of Alaska Anchorage and WIYN/AURA/NSF/NOAO)
NOAO image of northern portion of NGC 6960, also known as the Western Veil Nebula, the Lace-Work Nebula, and the Witch's Broom Nebula

NGC 6961 (= PGC 65372)
Discovered (Aug 27, 1857) by
R. J. Mitchell
A 14th-magnitude elliptical galaxy (type E2?) in Aquarius (RA 20 47 10.4, Dec +00 21 50)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6961 (= GC 4602, 3rd Lord Rosse, 1860 RA 20 40 00, NPD 90 08.6) is "extremely faint, very small".
Discovery Notes: Although Dreyer credits the discovery to William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, he notes that many of Rosse's nebular discoveries were actually made by one of his assistants, in this case R. J. Mitchell.
Physical Information: Apparent size 0.6 by 0.5? arcmin

NGC 6962 (= PGC 65375)
Discovered (Aug 12, 1785) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Jul 21, 1827) by John Herschel
A 12th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SBab?) in Aquarius (RA 20 47 18.9, Dec +00 19 19)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6962 (= GC 4601 = JH 2087 = WH II 426, 1860 RA 20 40 08, NPD 90 11.0) is "considerably faint, small, round, brighter middle".
Physical Information: Apparent size 2.9 by 2.2? arcmin

NGC 6963
Recorded (Aug 12, 1885) by
Guillaume Bigourdan
A pair of stars in Aquarius (RA 20 47 19.0, Dec +00 30 33)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6963 (Bigourdan (list II #85), 1860 RA 20 40 09, NPD 89 59.0) is "a nebulous 13th magnitude star".

NGC 6964 (= PGC 65379)
Discovered (Aug 12, 1785) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Jul 21, 1827) by John Herschel
A 13th-magnitude elliptical galaxy (type E2?) in Aquarius (RA 20 47 24.2, Dec +00 18 05)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6964 (= GC 4605 = JH 2089 = WH II 427, 1860 RA 20 40 14, NPD 90 12.6) is "faint, very small, round, brighter middle, 14th magnitude star 1/2 an arcmin to southeast".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.7 by 1.3? arcmin

NGC 6965 (=
IC 5058 = PGC 65376)
Discovered (Aug 27, 1857) by R. J. Mitchell (and later listed as NGC 6965)
Discovered (Oct 2, 1891) by Guillaume Bigourdan (and later listed as IC 5058)
A magnitude 14.0 lenticular galaxy (type S0?) in Aquarius (RA 20 47 20.4, Dec +00 29 03)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6965 (= GC 4603, 3rd Lord Rosse, 1860 RA 20 40 15, NPD 90 05.0) is "very faint, very small".
Discovery Notes: Although Dreyer credits the discovery to William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, he notes that many of Rosse's nebular discoveries were actually made by one of his assistants, in this case R. J. Mitchell.
Physical Information: Apparent size 0.65 by 0.45? arcmin.
SDSS image of lenticular galaxy NGC 6965
Above, a 1.0 arcmin wide SDSS image of NGC 6965

NGC 6966
Recorded (Jul 26, 1865) by
Heinrich d'Arrest
Also observed (Jul 27, 1884) by Guillaume Bigourdan
A pair of stars in Aquarius (RA 20 47 26.7, Dec +00 22 05)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6966 (d'Arrest, Bigourdan (list ?? # ??), 1860 RA 20 40 15, NPD 90 08.7) is "extremely faint, very small".

NGC 6967 (= PGC 65385)
Discovered (Aug 27, 1857) by
R. J. Mitchell
A 13th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type S0/a?) in Aquarius (RA 20 47 34.0, Dec +00 24 44)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6967 (= GC 4604, 3rd Lord Rosse, 1860 RA 20 40 23, NPD 90 05.8) is "extremely faint, very small, 10th magnitude star 50 arcsec to east".
Discovery Notes: Although Dreyer credits the discovery to William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, he notes that many of Rosse's nebular discoveries were actually made by one of his assistants, in this case R. J. Mitchell.
Physical Information: Apparent size 0.9 by 0.6? arcmin

NGC 6968 (= PGC 65428)
Discovered (Aug 11, 1883) by
Édouard Stephan
A 13th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type E/S0?) in Aquarius (RA 20 48 32.4, Dec -08 21 35)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6968 (Stephan list XIII (#93), 1860 RA 20 41 01, NPD 98 52.5) is "faint, small, round, gradually brighter middle, faint star involved".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.5 by 1.1? arcmin

NGC 6969 (= PGC 65425)
Discovered (Aug 15, 1863) by
Albert Marth (424)
A 14th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sa?) in Delphinus (RA 20 48 27.6, Dec +07 44 25)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6969 (= GC 5972, Marth #424, 1860 RA 20 41 36, NPD 82 47) is "faint, pretty large, extended".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.1 by 0.3? arcmin

NGC 6970 (= PGC 65608)
Discovered (Oct 2, 1834) by
John Herschel
A 13th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SBa?) in Indus (RA 20 52 09.4, Dec -48 46 41)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6970 (= GC 4606 = JH 3842, 1860 RA 20 42 15, NPD 139 17.7) is "pretty bright, small, a little extended, gradually brighter middle".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.0 by 0.6? arcmin

NGC 6971 (= PGC 65462)
Discovered (Aug 15, 1863) by
Albert Marth
A 14th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sb?) in Delphinus (RA 20 49 23.7, Dec +05 59 43)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6971 (= GC 5973, Marth #425, 1860 RA 20 42 28, NPD 84 32) is "very faint, small, round".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.1 by 0.9? arcmin

NGC 6972 (= PGC 65485)
Discovered (Aug 15, 1863) by
Albert Marth
A 13th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type S0/a?) in Delphinus (RA 20 49 58.9, Dec +09 53 59)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6972 (= GC 5974, Marth #426, 1860 RA 20 43 14, NPD 80 36) is "faint, small, round".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.1 by 0.5? arcmin

NGC 6973
Recorded (Jul 5, 1886) by
Guillaume Bigourdan
A 16th-magnitude star in Aquarius (RA 20 52 06.0, Dec -05 53 39)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6973 (Bigourdan (list II #87), 1860 RA 20 44 42, NPD 96 25) is "very faint, small, mottled but not resolved".

NGC 6974
Discovered (Aug 20, 1873) by
Lawrence Parsons
Part of a supernova remnant in Cygnus (RA 20 51 04.0, Dec +31 49 54)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6974 (= GC 5975, 4th Lord Rosse, 1860 RA 20 44 54, NPD 59 53±) is "a nebulous star, nebulosity considerably extended east-west". Note: Pickering's Triangle is so frequently misidentified as NGC 6974 or 6979 that searching for information about those objects often turns up the Triangle instead. For that reason, although not an NGC object, it is discussed immediately following NGC 6979.
Physical Information: NGC 6974 and 6979 represent two knots in one of the brighter fragments of the Veil Nebula, or Cygnus Loop. For a description of the Veil Nebula, see NGC 6960.
DSS image of NGC 6974 and 6979, portions of the Veil Nebula, or Cygnus Loop
Above, a 30 arcmin wide DSS image of NGC 6974 and 6979
Below, a labeled 3 degree wide DSS image of the Veil Nebula, showing its various NGC/IC designations
Labeled DSS image of Veil Nebula

NGC 6975 (=
NGC 6976 = PGC 65620 = part of Hickson Compact Group 88)
Discovered (Jul 12, 1864) by Albert Marth (and later listed as NGC 6976)
Discovered (Sep 23, 1886) by Guillaume Bigourdan (and later listed as NGC 6975)
A 14th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sbc?) in Aquarius (RA 20 52 25.9, Dec -05 46 17)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6975 (Bigourdan (list II #88), 1860 RA 20 44 57, NPD 96 23) is "very faint, small, perhaps = m427?", the last comment meaning perhaps the same as NGC 6976. The position precesses to RA 20 52 22.2, Dec -05 51 36, about 6 arcmin southwest of the modern position and nearly 7 arcmin away from Marth's position for NGC 6976, so it wasn't unreasonable for Dreyer to create two separate listings; but by the time of the second Index Catalog his suspicion had turned into certainty, and he stated that NGC 6975 and 6976 were definitely the same. (Note: A number of references misidentify PGC 65612, which lies well to the west, as NGC 6975; so although not an NGC object, it is discussed immediately below.)
Physical Information: Apparent size 0.8 by 0.7 arcmin?
SDSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 6975
Above, a 2.4 arcmin wide SDSS image of NGC 6975; see NGC 6977 for a wide-field view

PGC 65612 (= part of Hickson Compact Group 88, but not =
NGC 6975)
Not an NGC object but listed here since often misidentified as NGC 6975
A 15th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sc?) in Aquarius (RA 20 52 12.8, Dec -05 47 54)
Historical Identification: PGC 65612 is often incorrectly listed as NGC 6975. However, it has been known for over a century that NGC 6975 is the same as NGC 6976, and is therefore not PGC 65612.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 6040 km/sec, PGC 65612 is about 280 million light years away. Given that and its 0.7 by 0.3? arcmin apparent size, it is about 55 thousand light years across.
SDSS image of region near spiral galaxy PGC 65612, often incorrectly listed as NGC 6975
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image of PGC 65612, also showing NGC 6975, 6977, and 6978
Below, a 2.4 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of spiral galaxy PGC 65612, which is NOT NGC 6975

NGC 6976 (=
NGC 6975 = PGC 65620 = part of Hickson Compact Group 88)
Discovered (Jul 12, 1864) by Albert Marth (and later listed as NGC 6976)
Discovered (Sep 23, 1886) by Guillaume Bigourdan (and later listed as NGC 6975)
A 14th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sbc?) in Aquarius (RA 20 52 25.9, Dec -05 46 17)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6976 (= 5976, Marth #427, 1860 RA 20 45 01, NPD 96 17) is "extremely faint, irregularly round". The position precesses to RA 20 52 25.9, Dec -05 45 35, only 0.7 arcmin north of the galaxy's nucleus, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Given the duplicate listing, see NGC 6975 for anything else.

NGC 6977 (= PGC 65625 = part of Hickson Compact Group 88)
Discovered (Jul 20, 1863) by
Albert Marth
A 13th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SBb?) in Aquarius (RA 20 52 29.6, Dec -05 44 45)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6977 (= GC 5977, Marth #428, 1860 RA 20 45 05, NPD 96 16) is "very faint, small, irregularly round".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.3 by 0.9? arcmin
SDSS image of region near spiral galaxies NGC 6975, 6977 and 6978
Above, a 12 arcmin wide SDSS image centered on NGC 6977, also showing NGC 6975 and 6978
Below, a 2.4 arcmin wide SDSS image of the galaxy
SDSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 6977

NGC 6978 (= PGC 65631 = part of Hickson Compact Group 88)
Discovered (Jul 20, 1863) by
Albert Marth
A 13th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sb?) in Aquarius (RA 20 52 35.4, Dec -05 42 40)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6978 (= GC 5978, Marth #429, 1860 RA 20 45 11, NPD 96 14) is "very faint".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.5 by 0.7? arcmin
SDSS image of spiral galaxy NGC 6978
Above, a 2.4 arcmin wide SDSS image of NGC 6978; see NGC 6977 for a wide-field view

NGC 6979
Discovered (Sep 7, 1784) by
William Herschel
Part of a supernova remnant in Cygnus (RA 20 50 30.0, Dec +32 01 36)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6979 (= GC 4607 = WH II 206, 1860 RA 20 45 16, NPD 58 23.8) is "very faint, small, irregularly extended, several faint stars near to east". Note: Pickering's Triangle is so frequently misidentified as NGC 6974 or 6979 that searching for information about those objects often turns up the Triangle instead. For that reason, although not an NGC object, it is discussed immediately below.
Physical Information: NGC 6979 and 6974 represent two knots in one of the brighter fragments of the Veil Nebula, or Cygnus Loop. For a description of the Veil Nebula, see NGC 6960.
DSS image of NGC 6974 and 6979, portions of the Veil Nebula, or Cygnus Loop
Above, a 30 arcmin wide DSS image of NGC 6974 and 6979
Below, a labeled 3 degree wide DSS image of the Veil Nebula, showing its various NGC/IC designations
Labeled DSS image of Veil Nebula

Pickering's Triangle = Fleming's Triangle
Discovered (1904) by
Williamina Fleming
Not an NGC object but listed here since often misidentified as NGC 6974 or NGC 6979
Part of a supernova remnant in Cygnus (RA 20 48 20, Dec +31 41 10)
Historical Identification: Pickering's Triangle could have been given an entry in Dreyer's second Index Catalog, as it is mentioned in a note at the end: "6992 is connected with 6960 by faint nebulosity forming an irregular oval; a large triangular wisp extends southward from the northwest part of this oval. Pickering, ApJ xxiii, p. 261". As noted by Dreyer, Pickering was the author of the paper that mentioned the Triangle; but Fleming was the actual discoverer. Traditionally, credit for such discoveries was given to the author; but in recent years more interest has centered on the actual discoverer, and that (and the fact that Fleming was a woman) has led to gradually increasing use of the term Fleming's Triangle. Unfortunately, neither Pickering's Triangle or Fleming's Triangle is the usual way that this portion of the Veil is referred to; instead, it is usually misidentified as NGC 6974 or (more commonly) 6979. As shown below and at their entries, those terms actually refer to knots in a considerably smaller portion of the Nebula, to the east of the Triangle.
Physical Information: Pickering's Triangle is a portion of the Veil Nebula, or Cygnus Loop. For a description of the Veil Nebula, see NGC 6960.
NOAO image of Pickering's Triangle, also known as Fleming's Triangle, and often incorrectly referred to as NGC 6974 or 6979
Above, a ? arcmin wide image of Pickering's Triangle
(Image Credit T.A. Rector/University of Alaska Anchorage, H. Schweiker/WIYN and AURA/NSF/NOAO)
Below, a labeled 3 degree wide DSS image of the Veil Nebula, showing its various NGC/IC designations
Labeled DSS image of Veil Nebula

NGC 6980
Recorded (Jul 5, 1886) by
Guillaume Bigourdan
A 15th-magnitude star in Aquarius (RA 20 52 48.9, Dec -05 50 13)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6980 (Bigourdan (list II #89), 1860 RA 20 45 26, NPD 96 21) is "very faint, small, mottled but not resolved".

NGC 6981 (=
M72 = GCL 118)
Discovered (Aug 30, 1780) by Pierre Méchain
Recorded (1780) by Charles Messier as M72
Also observed (Oct 4, 1825) by John Herschel
A 9th-magnitude globular cluster (type IX) in Aquarius (RA 20 53 27.9, Dec -12 32 11)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6981 (= GC 4608 = JH 2090, Méchain, M 72, 1860 RA 20 45 46, NPD 103 03.8) is "a globular cluster, pretty bright, pretty large, round, gradually much compressed middle, well resolved, clearly consisting of stars".
Physical Information: Approximately 100 thousand stars fill a 90 light-year wide region, 50 thousand light years away (about 6.6 arcmin wide?)
Misti Mountain Observatory image of region near globular cluster NGC 6981, also known as M72
Above, a 12 arcmin wide image centered on NGC 6981
(Image Credit & © Jim Misti, Misti Mountain Observatory; used by permission)
Below, an 8 arcmin wide image of the cluster (Image Credit REU program/AURA/NSF/NOAO)
NOAO image of globular cluster NGC 6981, also known as M72
Below, a 3.4 arcmin wide HST image of the cluster's core (Image Credit NASA, ESA, HPOW, Hubble)
HST image of core of globular cluster NGC 6981, also known as M72

NGC 6982 (= PGC 65776)
Discovered (Jul 8, 1834) by
John Herschel
A 14th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SBa?) in Indus (RA 20 57 18.3, Dec -51 51 46)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6982 (= GC 4609 = JH 3843, 1860 RA 20 47 08, NPD 142 24.4) is "very faint, small, extended, western of 2", the other being NGC 6984.
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.0 by 0.7? arcmin

NGC 6983 (= PGC 65759)
Discovered (Sep 2, 1836) by
John Herschel
A 13th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sab?) in Microscopium (RA 20 56 43.5, Dec -43 59 10)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6983 (= GC 4610 = JH 3844, 1860 RA 20 47 19, NPD 134 30.5) is "extremely faint, considerably small, round".
Physical Information: Apparent size 0.8 by 0.6? arcmin

NGC 6984 (= PGC 65798)
Discovered (Jul 8, 1834) by
John Herschel
A 13th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SBc?) in Indus (RA 20 57 54.2, Dec -51 52 15)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6984 (= GC 4611 = JH 3845, 1860 RA 20 47 48, NPD 142 24.2) is "faint, pretty large, very little extended, very gradually brighter middle, eastern of 2", the other being NGC 6982.
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.8 by 1.2? arcmin

NGC 6985 (= PGC 65306)
Discovered (Jun 11, 1886) by
Francis Leavenworth
A 14th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sa?) in Aquarius (RA 20 45 03.0, Dec -11 06 15)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6985 (Leavenworth list I (#234), 1860 RA 20 48 20, NPD 101 36.8) is "extremely faint, very small, irregularly round".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.5 by 0.8? arcmin

PGC 969910 (= "NGC 6985.2")
Not an NGC object but listed here because sometimes called NGC 6985.2
A 15th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type S??) in
Aquarius (RA 20 45 01.4, Dec -11 06 29)
Physical Information: Apparent size 0.5 by 0.3? arcmin

NGC 6986 (= PGC 65750)
Discovered (Sep 2, 1885) by
Francis Leavenworth
Also observed (Jul 17, 1890) by Guillaume Bigourdan
Also observed (date?) by Herbert Howe
A 14th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type E/S0?) in Capricornus (RA 20 56 30.6, Dec -18 33 58)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6986 (Leavenworth list I (#235), 1860 RA 20 48 20, NPD 109 06.8) is "very faint, very small, round, gradually a little brighter middle and nucleus". The second IC lists a corrected RA (per Bigourdan and Howe) of 20 28 34 (the abbreviation used for the second observer is H, which traditionally stood for William Herschel, but since Herschel was long dead he could not be responsible for the correction, so H must have been a misprint of Ho, meaning Howe).
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.0 by 0.6? arcmin.

NGC 6987 (= PGC 65807)
Discovered (Sep 30, 1834) by
John Herschel
A 12th-magnitude elliptical galaxy (type E1?) in Indus (RA 20 58 10.4, Dec -48 37 48)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6987 (= GC 4612 = JH 3846, 1860 RA 20 48 21, NPD 139 10.2) is "pretty faint, small, very little extended, gradually pretty much brighter middle, bright star 1 arcmin to west".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.4 by 1.2? arcmin

NGC 6988 (= PGC 65732)
Discovered (Aug 15, 1863) by
Albert Marth
A 15th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type S??) in Delphinus (RA 20 55 48.9, Dec +10 30 30)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6988 (= GC 5979, Marth #430, 1860 RA 20 49 07, NPD 80 03) is "extremely faint, pretty large, round".
Physical Information: Apparent size 0.5 by 0.5? arcmin

NGC 6989
Discovered (Sep 11, 1790) by
William Herschel
A group of stars in the North America Nebula, in Cygnus (RA 20 54 06.0, Dec +45 14 26)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6989 (= GC 4613 = WH VIII 82, 1860 RA 20 49 13, NPD 45 15.5) is "a cluster, considerably large, stars pretty small (faint)".
Physical Information: Apparent size about 10 arcmin wide? (a part of NGC 7000, the North America Nebula)

NGC 6990 (= PGC 65862)
Discovered (Jul 9, 1834) by
John Herschel
A 13th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sa?) in Indus (RA 20 59 57.0, Dec -55 33 43)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6990 (= GC 4614 = JH 3847, 1860 RA 20 49 27, NPD 146 06.4) is "most extremely faint, very small, very much extended 0°, 13th magnitude star attached on north".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.2 by 0.5? arcmin

NGC 6991 (almost certainly = GC 4615)
(Perhaps) Discovered (Sep 27, 1788) by
William Herschel
Discovered (Sep 14, 1829) by John Herschel
An open cluster in Cygnus (RA 20 54 56.4, Dec +47 18 38)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6991 (= GC 4615 = JH 2091 = WH VIII 76, 1860 RA 20 49 52, NPD 43 15.4) is "a cluster, large, poor, very little compressed". The position precesses to RA 20 54 35.6, Dec +47 16 32, a few arcmin southwest of the object presumably observed by John Herschel; but his description supposedly makes it clear which cluster he observed. Unfortunately, that was not the same cluster observed by his father William, but John did not realize that, and gave the two observations a single entry in his General Catalog; and since the NGC was an updating and expansion of the GC, Dreyer did the same. As a result, there is considerable confusion and controversy about which of the two or three clusters in the region should be called NGC 6991. However, given the fact that John would have used his own observations to establish the position of the cluster, his cluster should almost certainly be the one listed as NGC 6991, and his father's cluster should be given an alternative designation. (Steinicke lists both Herschels' positions for NGC 6991, and Corwin discusses three possibilities, though he has doubts about one of them; so a full discussion of the problems associated with this entry will appear in a later iteration of this page.)
Physical Information:
DSS image of open cluster NGC 6991 (John Herschel's cluster)
Above, a 12 arcmin wide view of John Herschel's #2091, or NGC 6991
Below, a 30 arcmin wide DSS image also showing the location of William Herschel's cluster, "WH VIII 76"
DSS image of region near open cluster NGC 6991 (John Herschel's cluster), also showing NGC 6991A (William Herschel's cluster)

"WH VIII 76" (almost certainly not =
NGC 6991)
Discovered (Sep 27, 1788) by William Herschel
An open cluster (and emission nebula) in Cygnus (probably RA 20 55 36.0, Dec +47 24 30)
Historical Identification: As noted at NGC 6991, there is considerable confusion about how to deal with the original observations associated with NGC 6991; but the gory details will have to wait for a later iteration of this page. (There seems to be some debate about which open cluster is William Herschel's VIII #76; so the position above and image below may be altered once I have a chance to review all the arguments.)
Physical Information:
DSS image of open cluster WH VIII 76 (William Herschel's cluster)
Above, a 15 arcmin wide DSS image centered on William Herschel's VIII #76

NGC 6992, the Eastern Veil Nebula
Discovered (Sep 6, 1784) by
William Herschel
Also observed (Aug 1, 1829) by John Herschel
Part of a supernova remnant in Cygnus (RA 20 56 18.0, Dec +31 44 30)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6992 (= GC 4616 = JH 2092 = WH V 14, 1860 RA 20 50 35, NPD 58 50.2) is "a very remarkable object, extremely faint, extremely large, extremely extended, extremely irregular figure, bifurcated".
Physical Information: NGC 6992 represents the northern portion of the Eastern Veil, the brightest region on the eastern side of the Veil Nebula, or Cygnus Loop. For a description of the Veil Nebula, see NGC 6960.
NOAO image of the Eastern Veil Nebula, consisting of NGC 6992 and 6995, and IC 1340
Above, a ? arcmin image of NGC 6992 and 6995, and IC 1340 (Image Credit Mike Cook (background image),
Adam Block, Jeff & Mike Stuffings, Brad Ehrhorn, Burt May, Jennifer & Louis Goldring, AURA/NSF/NOAO)

Below, a labeled 3 degree wide DSSimage of the Veil Nebula, showing its various NGC/IC designations
Labeled DSS image of Veil Nebula

NGC 6993 (= PGC 65671)
Discovered (Jul 8, 1885) by
Francis Leavenworth
A 13th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type Sc?) in Capricornus (RA 20 53 54.0, Dec -25 28 20)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6993 (Leavenworth list I (#236), 1860 RA 20 51 10, NPD 116 13.9) is "very faint, very small, round, suddenly brighter middle and nucleus".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.2 by 1.0? arcmin

NGC 6994 (=
M73 = OCL 89)
Recorded (Oct 4, 1780) by Charles Messier (and listed as M73)
A 9th-magnitude group of four stars in Aquarius (RA 20 58 56.0, Dec -12 38 00)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6994 (= GC 4617, M 73, 1860 RA 20 51 16, NPD 103 10.5) is "a cluster, extremely poor, very little compressed, no nebulosity".
Physical Information: Apparent size 1.4? arcmin
NOAO image of NGC 6994, a group of stars also known as M73
Above, a 10 arcmin wide image centered on NGC 6994 (Image Credit REU program, AURA, NSF, NOAO)

NGC 6995, part of the Eastern Veil Nebula
Discovered (Sep 7, 1825) by
John Herschel
Part of a supernova remnant in Cygnus (RA 20 57 10.0, Dec +31 14 00)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6995 (= GC 4618 = JH 2093, 1860 RA 20 51 20, NPD 59 19.3) is "faint, extremely large, nebulae and stars in groups".
Physical Information: NGC 6995 represents the middle portion of the Eastern Veil, the brightest region on the eastern side of the Veil Nebula, or Cygnus Loop. For a description of the Veil Nebula, see NGC 6960.
NOAO image of the Eastern Veil Nebula, consisting of NGC 6992 and 6995, and IC 1340
Above, a ? arcmin wide image of NGC 6995, NGC 6992, and IC 1340 (Image Credit Mike Cook (background image),
Adam Block, Jeff & Mike Stuffings, Brad Ehrhorn, Burt May, Jennifer & Louis Goldring, AURA/NSF/NOAO)

Below, a labeled 3 degree wide DSS image of the Veil Nebula, showing its various NGC/IC designations
Labeled DSS image of Veil Nebula

NGC 6996 (= OCL 197)
Discovered (Oct 28, 1828) by
John Herschel
A 10th-magnitude open cluster (type III2p) in Cygnus (RA 20 56 30.0, Dec +45 28 24)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6996 (= GC 4619 = JH 2094, 1860 RA 20 51 31, NPD 45 04.0) is "a cluster, poor, a little compressed".
Physical Information: Apparent size 5? arcmin across

NGC 6997
Discovered (Oct 24, 1786) by
William Herschel
A 10th-magnitude open cluster (type III2p) in Cygnus (RA 20 56 30.0, Dec +44 39 00)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6997 (= GC 4620 = WH VIII 58, 1860 RA 20 51 34, NPD 45 53.4) is "a cluster, poor, a little compressed, stars large (bright)".
Physical Information: Apparent size 8? arcmin

NGC 6998 (= PGC 65925)
Discovered (Oct 19, 1864) by
Albert Marth
A 14th-magnitude elliptical galaxy (type E0?) in Microscopium (RA 21 01 37.7, Dec -28 01 54)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6998 (= GC 5980, Marth #431, 1860 RA 20 53 16, NPD 118 34) is "most extremely faint, very small". The position precesses to RA 21 01 38.3, Dec -28 01 17, only 0.6 arcmin north of the center of the galaxy, close enough for the identification to be certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 11890 km/sec, a straightforward calculation indicates that NGC 6998 is about 510 million light years away; but for objects at such a distance, it is necessary to take into account the expansion of the Universe during the the time it took its light to reach us. Doing so indicates that as for NGC 6999, the galaxy was about 490 million light years away at the time the light by which we see it was emitted, about 500 million years ago (the difference between the two numbers being due to the expansion of the intervening space during that time). Given that and its apparent size of 0.7 by 0.7? arcmin, the galaxy is about 100 thousand light years across. The NED indicates that NGC 6998 is a member of a group of galaxies, of which NGC 6999 is the brightest member. Given their huge distance, whether the two galaxies are as close as their apparent positions cannot be determined, but they are certainly part of a gravitationally bound group.
DSS image of region near elliptical galaxy NGC 6998, also showing NGC 6999
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 6998, also showing NGC 6999
Below, a 2.4 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of elliptical galaxy NGC 6998

NGC 6999 (= PGC 65940)
Discovered (Oct 19, 1864) by
Albert Marth
A 14th-magnitude lenticular galaxy (type SA0(s)?) in Microscopium (RA 21 01 59.6, Dec -28 03 32)
Historical Identification: Per Dreyer, NGC 6999 (= GC 5981, Marth #432, 1860 RA 20 53 38, NPD 118 36) is "most extremely faint, very small". The position precesses to RA 21 02 00.3, Dec -28 03 14, only 0.4 arcmin northeast of the center of the galaxy and within its halo, so the identification is certain.
Physical Information: Based on a recessional velocity of 11000 km/sec, a straightforward calculation indicates that NGC 6999 is about 510 million light years away; but for objects at such a distance, it is necessary to take into account the expansion of the Universe during the the time it took its light to reach us. Doing so indicates that the galaxy was about 490 million light years away at the time the light by which we see itwas emitted, about 500 million years ago (the difference between the two numbers being due to the expansion of the intervening space during that time). Given that and its apparent size of 0.9 by 0.7? arcmin, the galaxy is about 130 thousand light years across. NGC 6999 is listed in NED as the brightest member of a group of galaxies (which would therefore usually be referred to as the NGC 6999 Group). NGC 6998 is also a member of that group, but whether the two galaxies are as close as their apparent positions cannot be determined, given their huge distance from us.
DSS image of region near lenticular galaxy NGC 6999, also showing NGC 6998
Above, a 12 arcmin wide DSS image centered on NGC 6999, also showing NGC 6998
Below, a 2.4 arcmin wide DSS image of the galaxy
DSS image of lenticular galaxy NGC 6999
Celestial Atlas
(NGC 6900 - 6949) ←     NGC Objects: NGC 6950 - 6999     → (NGC 7000 - 7049)