NGC/IC Project Restoration Effort
(This is a very very beta version)
Location and Magnitude
Right Ascension: 10:38:50.5
Visual Magnitude: 13.0
Year of discovery: 1887
Discovery aperture: 26.3
Summary description: eF, pS, mE 160°, * np end
NGC 3321 = NGC 3322. This was first found by Ainslie Common with his 36-inch
reflector that finally ended up at Lick Observatory (where it was known as the
"Crossley Reflector" after Edward Crossley, the intermediate owner who was
persuaded to give it to Lick. The story is told in the Introduction to Volume
VIII of the Lick Publications, the volume of beautifully-reproduced
photographs taken with that telescope by James Keeler). Common claims in his
short paper in Copernicus that this -- and about 30 other new nebulae -- were
found in 1880. He estimated the position; his RA is OK, but his Dec is off.
Seven years later, on Jan 3, Francis Leavenworth came across the galaxy with
the 26-inch refractor at Leander McCormick. Like many of the positions of the
objects found there, the RA is off, but the Dec is pretty good. Both Common
and Leavenworth, by the way, provided adequate descriptions of the galaxy,
noting the star to the northwest. Leavenworth seems to have confused east and
west, though, at least as far as the position angle of the galaxy is
concerned. He recorded it as 160 degrees, while the actual angle is close to
20 degrees, a simple quadrant error.
Herbert Howe was the first to note the probable identity of the objects,
making NGC 3322 (the entry with Common's name on it) "not seen on two nights."
It's pretty clear, though, there being no other galaxy as bright within 30
arcmin, that both Common and Leavenworth found the same object.
18" (3/29/03): faint, fairly small, diffuse, elongated nearly 3:2 SSW-NNE, 0.7'x0.5', low surface brightness halo, weak concentration. A mag 13.5 star is at the NW edge. Located 2.9' N of a mag 11 star on the Hydra-Sextans border.