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Galaxy groups found using excel?


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So I like looking at galaxy groups. I keep stumbling on them so I thought I wonder if I can produce a definitive list. So I thought, lets say try to find all the galaxy groups in Pisces that are mag 15 or less and within 0.5 degrees of each other.

So a bit of fun with excel, weird radians formulas and then a bit of learning how to use VBA with excel and this is what it comes up with.

PSC galaxy groups.jpg

It picks out the ngc 383 line of galaxies and those around ngc 507...

What I have not yet worked out how to do is for it to select the lead galaxy and its children for me..

I know its not observing but come on, it is cloudy!


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That's a great project Mark.

I had a similar hairbrain idea to sort and plot the NGC catalog on a scatter/bubble chart, points sized by magnitude, sorting by constellation, discoverer, object type, magnitude etc. 

It was originally conceived as a quick means of generating rough target lists that needed just a little bit of fine tuning using charts/software and the reason for the chart was to help me get a handle on when to observe due to limited horizons at home.

It has actually served much greater purpose though, it's kept me busy on many a cloudy night (developing it some more with new ideas and features) and helps keep me engaged with what it's all about, the targets on those many cloudy nights - keeps me interested. And I've learned new things.

A screenshot of V1 before I added VBA and stopped showing my workings so to speak. It shows data from the 'Historically corrected NGC' sorted to list Galaxies in Hydra less than Mag 13. I have VBA code to update the axes on the chart mainly but it does a few other bits too.

Screen Shot 2016-10-29 at 23.24.32.png


Edited by johnfosteruk
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Ok so here is my definitive list of the richest visual galaxy groups visible from the UK. The galaxies have to be under mag 15 and all within 0.2 deg FOV to get in the list..

In all cases with a dark sky and at least a 12 inch scope you should see more than five galaxies in the same FOV - Stephens quintet does not make the cut!

So now I need to award a badge to those who have seen all 17 groups. Then I write a book with my new catalogue MVGG - Marks Visual Galaxy Groups. :hello2:

Enjoy the list.


Visual galaxy groups.jpg

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Blimey Mark. Mag 15!!!! I know that you have a sharp pair of eyes and aren't afraid to work at a target.... But that is outrageously faint for the UK. 

How many fainter than Mag 14 have you seen from the UK in your 16"?

I have managed 5 (needs a revisit to totally verify) in MVGG6 (16" NELM 5.5 sky). So I'm up and running! Looking forward to the others.


Edited by Paul73
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Hi Mark

Is 5 "visual" galaxies in the 0.2° diameter Fov the minimum required to make it onto the MVGG catalogue?

You may need to use a slightly wider Fov to get a whole book out of it!

Sign me up for a copy.


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Mark, excellent work:thumbsup:

Checking my list, I've only been on three of them, ceritainly have missed some galaxies there too, 383, 1272 and 708 groups are actually my targets in the coming days when weather allows.:smiley:

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I suggest yopu try and get a copy of the Webb Society Deep Sky Handbook Vol 5 on clusters of galaxies if you do not already have it. Can find it second hand for not much on Amazon.


and yes I have seen them all :-)



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