Observing List of
"Not Found" Objects

The following table contains the list of the 82 NGC objects for which we are currently unable to identify any reasonable candidates for the actual physical object.  I hesitate to call this an "Observing List", but I can't think of what it would be since some of the identities of these objects may be resolved by actually observing at the eyepiece of a telescope.  

The left-hand column contains the original NGC designation as assigned by J.L.E. Dreyer, and directly below the object designation is the nominal Equinox 2000.0 position for the object.  This is the original Equinox 1860.0 position precessed to Equinox 2000.0.  The right-hand column contains Dr. Harold Corwin's historical notes concerning the object which usually contains any detective work he has done to date.

Our hope is that this list will grow smaller over time as more data and information become available to us.  Should anyone think that they have a viable solution to any of these puzzle objects, please feel free to contact me with all of the particulars.

Good hunting! - Bob Erdmann


Equinox 2000
Nominal Position
Dr. Harold Corwin's Historical Notes
About The Object
NGC 56

00h 15m 20.6s
+12 26' 40"
NGC 56 does not exist. John Herschel recorded it only once very early in his observing career (Sweep 14 in 1825), saying, "About this place a considerable space seems affected with nebulosity." There is a possibility that he saw a reflection of the bright star 2 degrees north, but there is no other reasonable explanation for the observation. The other objects that he recorded in Sweep 14 (including M15) are all in the same area of the sky, so there is no gross error in the position.
NGC 111

00h 26m 38.4s
-02 37' 30"
NGC 111. I cannot see anything within 5 degrees of Leavenworth's position that agrees with his description of a "vF, vS, R, lbM; * 8.5 p 36 sec, n 2 arcmin. RA doubtful." There is a very faint, peculiar pair of galaxies (MCG -01-02-013) at the approximate offsets he gives -- but the star is 10th or 11th magnitude, and his description of the galaxy does not match the relatively low surface brightness twisted streamers that contribute most of the light of the pair. There is no sketch included in Stone's papers at the University of Virginia.

The galaxy may not be irretrieveably lost, however. Since the declinations in the first two Leander McCormick lists are generally (though not always!) reliable to within a couple of arcminutes, it may be possible to scan around the sky at Leavenworth's declination to find the object (see e.g. NGC 331). I haven't tried yet, however.

NGC 412

01h 10m 20.3s
-20 00' 54"
NGC 412. Leavenworth has left us a sketch of this nebula, as well as the usual poor position and brief description. Unfortunately, his sketch shows only one star in the field, about 5 arcmin southwest of the nebula, so the field will not be easy to recognize. The sketch is one of the few to have the orientation marked, so that is not a problem here as it is with some of the LM nebulae.

In fact, I can't find Leavenworth's object anywhere near his position. Nor are there any other nebula/star pairs within several degrees of that position that match the sketch, either. The galaxy chosen by ESO, 3.8 minutes preceding and 19 arcmin south of Leavenworth's position does not match the sketch, so that cannot be the object, either.

Leavenworth added a note "Neb?" to his description, so it is possible that the object is simply a star. However, I could not even find two stars in the correct relative orientation in the area that would match the sketch.

The sketch is dated 15 Oct 1885. Leavenworth made at least four other sketches that same night. They are of N377, N540, N635, and N842 (all of which see). Of these, N540's identification is unsure, and N635 is three degrees south of its nominal position. Assuming all four identities, though, the average offset of Leavenworth's positions in RA is +25.3 seconds of time with a mean error of +-32.2 seconds, and a standard deviation in one observation of +-64.5 seconds (all are at roughly the same declination, so the conversion to arcseconds can be ignored given the size of these numbers). In Dec, the equivalent numbers are -5.3 arcmin, +-4.2 arcmin, and +-8.4 arcmin. Given offsets and errors of this size, and the three-degree accidental error for N635, NGC 412 could be ANYwhere within several degrees of Leavenworth's nominal position.

But I still can't find it. So, unless other folks want to spend more time on the field, NGC 412 is probably irretrieveably lost.

NGC 421

01h 12m 14.4s
+32 07' 25"
NGC 421 may be one of the several faint stars or wide double stars west of NGC 420. WH found the objects on 12 Sept 1784, describing them as "Two. Both eF, vS. The following is the largest." The field was examined again by JH, LdR, d'Arrest, and Bigourdan, none of whom found NGC 421, but all of whom placed NGC 420 within 5 seconds of time of WH's position for the pair.

Dreyer has a curious statement in his note in the Scientific Papers (1912). Citing the observers above as having "... seen only one nebula," he goes on with "no doubt the following one." Yet all the observers have assigned the preceding number (H III 154 = N420) to the object. Dreyer himself followed JH's lead in this, giving the earlier number to the object that JH, d'A, and LdR all saw.

In any case, there is no nebula in the area that might be N421. Since assigning the number to one of the stellar objects mentioned above is pure speculation, I'm not going to do it. Thus, N421 is "Not found."

NGC 610

01h 34m 18.0s
-20 08' 39"

NGC 611

01h 34m 18.0s
-20 07' 39"
NGC 610 and 611. This pair of objects is probably irretrieveably lost, thanks to Muller's poor discovery positions. I searched the sky for several degrees in all directions from the nominal positions, but turned up nothing that matches Muller's description. In particular, there are no galaxies in the area with a 10th magnitude star at position angle = 280 degrees, distance 2.4 arcmin. Muller also gives an "accurate" offset of N611 from N610: "Following previous at PA 60 degrees, dist = 0.5 arcmin," but then adds, "vF *?" This would be a striking configuration -- even if the second object is a star -- but it's nowhere in the area that I can see. There is no sketch, but even if there were, it could only confirm Muller's clear descriptions.

Wolfgang Steinicke again drew my attention to this missing pair in July 1998. I made a further search at "reasonable" digit errors (e.g. 1hr in RA, 10deg in Dec), but found nothing matching Muller's description anywhere near any of the resulting positions. It may be worthwhile for other interested investigators to cover the areas, too -- they may have more luck than I.

NGC 930

02h 27m 51.4s
+20 20' 30"
NGC 930 is lost. Copeland found it just an arcminute northwest of NGC 932 with Lord Rosse's 72-inch. He saw it only one night, and made a micrometric measurement of it with respect to the nucleus of NGC 932. Two stars that he also measured (on three other nights as well) are just where he places them. But there is no trace of his nebula.

There is a faint knot (or superposed companion) in the corona of N932, but it is only about 35 arcsec northeast of the nucleus. While Copeland might have been able to see this, there is no way to make his measurement fit. There are no other likely galaxies nearby that he might have seen, either -- aside from NGC 938 about 10 arcmin east-southeast which he, in fact, also saw.

So, NGC 930 is a mystery.

The modern catalogues, by the way, are wrong in adopting that number for the galaxy that is here. Dreyer clearly meant NGC 932 to apply to WH's object.

NGC 952

02h 31m 18.8s
+34 44' 52"
NGC 952. Stephan has misidentified his comparison star. My first suspicion was that he switched the comparison stars for this and for NGC 983 (which see; briefly, when 15 Triangulum is used as the comparsion star for N983, Stephan's position exactly matches that for NGC 1002). The position he lists for the N983 star, however -- "786 B.A.C." = 15 Tri -- has no bright star near it (that position is RA = 02h 24m 11.23s, NPD = 58d 59m 27.6s, for 1870). Furthermore, he lists different NPD's for the nebula in the two papers in which he published his third list: in MN, the NPD is given as 59 49 52.1; while in AN, the NPD is 55 49 52.1. There is nothing in either position.

The next thing to try is to look for galaxies in the area that are at the offset inferred from Stephan's published positions. These are -4m 25.61s in RA, and +2m 58.0s in Dec. A cursory scan of the relevant areas didn't turn up any reasonable candidates, but I suspect that a careful inspection of the fields northwest of the stars between 5 and 9 in Triangulum would eventually reveal Stephan's object.

Until then, however, N952 is unfortunately "Not found."

NGC 1037

02h 39m 58.3s
-01 44' 03"
NGC 1037. Swift found this on the night of 29 Sept 1886, and gives an 1885.0 position of 02 34 08 -02 13 47, describing it as "eeeF; vS; vE; eee diff; [GC] 581 [NGC 1032] in field" in his 5th list of new nebulae. Something is obviously wrong since NGC 1032 is at 02 33 29 +00 35.9 (1885) and probably has no other galaxies bright enough for Swift to have seen within 16 arcmin of it (he used an eyepiece that gave a field of 32 arcmin, so if N1032 is "in field," it must have been within 16 arcmin, assuming that N1037 was centered). In addition, Swift's quoted declination is 2 deg 49.7 min south of NGC 1032. I don't see any obvious typos, so I've had to conclude "not found" for N1037.

After I wrote the preceding paragraph, I learned that Wolfgang Steinicke (and others) have suggested that NGC 1037 is actually UGC 2119, two minutes of time preceding Swift's position, and 6.7 arcmin south. This is certainly possible as there are several other larger RA errors in Swift's 5th list. However, this still leaves the problem of NGC 1032 being nearly 3 degrees to the north.

Looking at the field, two other possibilities suggest themselves. First, Swift may have picked up UGC 2106 which is in the same field as UGC 2119. This would suggest that he somehow thought that U2119 was NGC 1032.

Secondly, if he had NGC 1032 correctly identified, then it is just barely possible that he might have also seen the very faint galaxy about 4 arcmin northwest. This is quite flattened, and might be visible in a 16-inch under very good skies. However, there are brighter stars near it -- in particular, a star is less than an arcminute to the northeast. Why didn't Swift mention any of these? This hypothesis also requires a large error in position (50 seconds in RA and 2 deg 53 min in Dec).

All in all, I'm not convinced by any of these hypotheses, so shall stick with "Not found."

NGC 1147

02h 55m 09.3s
-09 07' 11"
NGC 1147 is probably lost. There is no object within five degrees of the nominal position that matches Muller's description (m = 15.0, Dxd = 0.4x0.2, extended 180 deg; star 9.5 mag following 25 sec, north 1 arcmin). I had the thought during preparation of ESGC that it might be identical with NGC 1157, a few degrees south, but there is no bright star in the right direction from that galaxy.
NGC 1170

03h 02m 26.7s
+27 04' 19"
NGC 1170 may have been the tail of a comet. It was found by C.S. Pierce at Harvard on the last day of 1869, and was verified by Joseph Winlock. The description in Harvard Annals, Vol. 13, Part 1, reads, "J.W. and C.S.P. independently think the sky generally bright f and a little n of the comet for 14' or more (several fields according to C.S.P.). [The approximate place in Table VIII results from comparison with the comet.]" The comment in square brackets is from the author of the paper, probably J.W. In Table VIII, the only information is the position 02 54 10, +26 31 (1860), and the Remark, "Comet 1869 III p neb 2m 31s, a little s."

I haven't yet done the library work to know if the comet's tail stretched off to the northeast from the head. But the description makes it possible that this is the correct explanation for this NGC entry.

NGC 1173

03h 03m 57.7s
+42 23' 01"
NGC 1173. This is one of four objects (the others are NGC 1176, 78, and 83; N1176 has the story) that Bigourdan found scattered around NGC 1175 in December of 1884. Bigourdan's published north polar distances for the four are all one degree too large. The other three are stars, but this one is a mystery at the moment. I suspect that Bigourdan has misidentified his comparison star, but will have to look around the field some more for another that he might have used instead of the one he claims to have used.

Whatever the case, there is nothing in Bigourdan's position, which comes from two accordant measurements on 17 December. About 40 arcsec to the southwest is a faint double star that he probably could not have seen (based on the fact that he had difficulty with NGC 1177). He adds a curious note to his description: "At the end of the measurements, I could see the object very well: the sky, very clear at just that moment, had been a little unsettled." This is what leads me to believe that he has misidentified his star field.

NGC 1197

03h 06m 09.7s
+44 03' 49"
NGC 1197. Well, I can't find this one, either. There is nothing at Swift's position, and his description -- "pF, cE, pS; sev vF sts nr" -- could fit any of a dozen galaxies within a few degrees in any direction. He apparently found only one other galaxy on the same night (NGC 1171), and that is close to his nominal position. So, searching for a systematic offset won't help.

A search of the surrounding POSS1 fields turns up no digit errors in the ten's places of RA and Dec that would nail an appropriate object. So, this object may well be lost. Wolfgang's identification, by the way, is a star about an arcminute west of Swift's position. Swift's description pretty well rules out this ID.

NGC 1392

03h 37m 31.6s
-37 07' 13"
NGC 1392 was found by Swift on 13 February 1887 about 5 arcmin north of a brighter "nebula" which Swift took to be Comet 1887-I three degrees south of its predicted position. There is nothing in either of the places given by Swift in his sixth list for either object. Nor is there anything three degrees north where the comet was supposed to have appeared that night.

However, the center of the Fornax cluster is one and a half degrees north. I think it's likely that Swift saw two of the galaxies there, but choosing two out of the 15-20 that he could have seen would be pure guesswork. Similarly, Lauberts's guess in ESO (ESO 358-G040) is based on a reliance on the 1 degree difference in declination more than it is on the likelihood that Swift actually saw the object: ESO 358-G040 has a total visual magnitude around 16.2, likely putting it beyond Swift's limit, especially given the far southern declination.

A third possibility is raised by Kreutz in a note following Swift's list in AN. Kreutz notes that the offset of Swift's position from that predicted for the comet by Finlay is 38 minutes east, and 4 degrees 1 arcminute south. However, searching at Finlay's place for a double nebula turned up nothing, either.

Other objects found by Swift on the same night include NGC 1797 and NGC 1799, both very near Swift's positions for them; and NGC 2589, like NGC 1392, not found at Swift's position (see Herbert Howe's note in MN 61, 29, 1900, copied into the IC2 Notes).

In the end, NGC 1392 is another of Swift's nebulae "not found."

NGC 1408

03h 39m 21.1s
-35 31' 31"
NGC 1408 is another of the new "nebulae" found by Schmidt during his survey of the Fornax Cluster area. There is nothing at his position, but during my sweep across the area for SGC, I noted two double stars nearby. The fainter and wider double is northwest of Schmidt's position, and the brighter but closer pair is southeast. Though I've listed both in the main table, with question marks, neither seems particularly likely to me to be mistaken for a nebula. This should be checked at the eyepiece, though.

In any event, N1408 is currently unidentified. See NGC 1378 and NGC 1396 for more on Schmidt's Fornax Cluster work.

NGC 1429

03h 44m 04.1s
-04 43' 05"
NGC 1429 is lost. Leavenworth describes it as "15.5, 0.3 x 0.2, E 180 deg, gbMN; 2nd of 2." The first of two is NGC 1424 which carries this description in the Leander McCormick list: "15.2, 0.2, R, gbM; 1st of 2, one of which is GC 763 [N1424]; * 10 p 15 sec."

The description of Leavenworth's "2nd of 2" matches the one galaxy in the area. But that is it. The star 15 sec west of the galaxy is 13th magnitude, and there is an 11th magnitude star half that distance northwest. Why did Leavenworth not mention that? I think that Leavenworth has misidentified the known galaxy so that his description applies to a different pair altogether.

But which pair? I don't see any other in the area that matches the descriptions. So, NGC 1429 is another lost NGC object until someone with sharper eyes than me has a go at the problem.

NGC 1479

03h 54m 20.4s
-10 12' 31"

NGC 1480

03h 54m 32.3s
-10 15' 32"
NGC 1479 and NGC 1480 are a lost pair of nebulae seen only by Frank Muller at Leander McCormick. He made careful notes of the field for each nebula (N1479: "1st of 2; nebulous **, PA 170 deg"; N1480: "2nd of 2; * 10 f 30 sec."), but these don't help to identify the objects. There is just no pattern of nebulae and stars in the area of his positions that could match the descriptions.
NGC 1610

04h 32m 44.7s
-04 34' 55"
NGC 1610 is probably one of the faint nebulae in the NGC 1600 group -- but which one? There is nothing at Leavenworth's position, and his description (m = 15.5, D = 0.2 arcmin; R, bMN) could match any of the several fainter members of the group.

Among the more likely candidates are NGC 1599, and RNGC 1610. N1599 is at the same declination and is just over a minute of time west of the nominal place of N1610. However, it has a bright star just 1.1 arcmin east-northeast which Leavenworth would almost certainly have mentioned had he seen this galaxy. The RNGC identification is also possible, but is 7 arcmin south and 1.4 minutes of time east of Leavenworth's place.

Neither of these options is particularly compelling, but are still worth noting.

NGC 1619

04h 36m 11.4s
-04 49' 57"
NGC 1619, like N1610, is probably one of the faint members of the NGC 1600 group. It was found by Lewis Swift on 22 December 1886 along with N1621, N1627, N1628, and N1699. Unlike those other four, however, there is nothing at all near Swift's place.

Again, as with N1610, there are two candidates for N1619 that seem more likely to me. RNGC 1610 is two minutes of time west and 8 arcminutes north, while the 51st object in Reinmuth's 1932 list of nebulae is 1 minute 20 seconds west and 28 arcmin north. I'm not convinced that either of these is Swift's lost nebula, but I note them in any event.

NGC 1655

04h 47m 11.9s
+20 55' 25"
NGC 1655. This is one of 20 new nebulae found by J. G. Lohse with a telescope at "Mr. Wigglesworth's observatory," and sent directly to Dreyer in the form of a private communication. Thus, the only readily available information we have on them comes from the NGC itself. In this case, that includes the position and the description, "pB, R, gbM, * 10 s." There is a star of about 10th magnitude 2.5 arcmin south of Lohse's position for N1655, but there is nothing at all at that position.

Delisle Stewart searched for N1655 on a Harvard plate, and could not find it either. He has an intriguing note attached, however: "... a hazy star p 1 minute, same Dec." I don't even see that "hazy star" on the POSS1 prints; is it a defect on the Harvard plate?

So, N1655, too, is presumeably lost.

NGC 1674

04h 52m 24.9s
+23 54' 28"

NGC 1675

04h 52m 24.9s
+23 54' 28"
NGC 1674 and NGC 1675 are "Two faint nebulae in the same field" found by J. G. Lohse at "Mr. Wigglesworth's observatory." Lohse did not publish any data for these, but sent them directly to Dreyer who included them in the NGC.

As with NGC 1655 (which see), which Lohse found in the same part of the sky, there is no trace of these at Lohse's given position. Three arcmin south is a group of six faint stars about an arcmin across, but we would need visual observations to tell if these could be mistaken for two nebulae.

NGC 1757

05h 02m 39.3s
-04 43' 23"
NGC 1757 is nonexistent. JH claims to have seen it once on 20 Feb 1830, saying of it, "A very large space affected with nebulous streams in zigzags up and down. (N.B. Such observations require several verifications. The opportunity has not occured in this case.)." He never got back to this and it has never been seen since.

Lord Rosse and his observers tried six to eight times. The actual number is uncertain. In the 1861 monograph, LdR says "Looked for seven times. Not found," while the 1880 monograph says "Looked for 6 times in the years 1848-58, not found", and adds another attempt on 30 December 1867: "Night bad; suspected slightly luminous appearance in spots, but not very decided." (Dreyer in the NGC note says six times). Neither Tempel nor Spitaler could find it, and Reinmuth did not locate it on the Heidelberg plates.

I searched for this on the sky survey prints and later on the DSS, as well as in the IRAS infrared images. The closest nebulosity is over 20 arcmin from JH's position and does not agree at all with his description. In any case, the whispy stuff is far too faint to be seen visually.

Even JH came to doubt his observation. His GC note reads, "A very large diffused nebulosity, distributed in zigzags. This has been looked for seven times by Lord Rosse and not found. Its existence is therefore very doubtful."

NGC 1884

05h 15m 48.3s
-66 16' 12''
NGC 1884. During my early work on the LMC Atlas, I identified this with NGC 1882. But that is unlikely as JH found both objects during the same sweep. There is nothing obvious at JH's position matching his description ("eF, 2' diam."), and I entered it simply as "Not found" going through the NGC a few years ago. For now, that is how I'll leave it.
NGC 1908

05h 25m 53.8s
-02 31' 44"
NGC 1908. WH has only one observation of this on 1 Feb 1786 where he says, "Diffused extremely faint nebulosity. The means of verifying this phenomenon are difficult." JH and Dreyer took this to mean that the nebula was only suspected, so that is how it is entered in the GC and NGC.

WH places the nebulosity 1 min, 26 sec east, and 7 arcmin south of Eta Ori. There is nothing here on either of the POSS1 plates, nor on the SERC EJ plate. However, 7 arcmin north of Eta Ori there is a very faint, very diffuse sheen of nebulosity (I make the approximate position 05 23.0, -02 20). But could WH have seen this? I very much doubt it. So, I've tentatively labeled this "Not found."

NGC 1927

05h 28m 42.9s
-08 22' 38"
NGC 1927. JH has one observation that reads "All about this place (05 26 20, -08 24.9; B1950.0), there exists diffused nebulosity." In fact, there is none. Dreyer comments in a Note to the NGC, "Looked for three times at Birr Castle; twice the sky was fancied to have a milky appearance." There is certainly no nebulosity on the POSS1 plates, nor on the SERC EJ plate.

Also, JH originally made this an observation of his father's V 38: that identity is shown in his 1833 catalogue. However, his position differed enough from WH's that he made them separate objects for GC; Dreyer followed suit for NGC. There, H V 38 = NGC 1909 (which see).

In short, NGC 1927 is "Not found."

NGC 2198

06h 13m 54.9s
+00 59' 41"
NGC 2198. Described as "A cluster, seen 1863 March 19 by J.H. Safford, between two stars ... With the Great Refractor" at Harvard, the NGC position actually corresponds to a field with fewer than the average numbers of stars. As with NGC 2189 (which see) Safford measured the two stars (one is 10-11 magnitude at 06 10 57, +01 00.1; the other is 9-10 magnitude at 06 11 42, +00 59.3, both for B1950.0), but not the cluster.

I see nothing in the field on the POSS1 prints that looks like a cluster. Perhaps a visual observation can turn up something.

NGC 2253

06h 41m 59.9s
+65 50' 35"
NGC 2253 can't be found. There is nothing at W. Herschel's position (06 36.8 +66 53, 1950), nor is there much to suggest a systematic error in the positions of the other objects found that night (NGC 2347 = III 746, though see this for some confusion; and NGC 2403 = V 44). Herschel's description -- "A vF patch or S cl of eS st(ars)" -- as well as the fact that he included this object in his class VII (number 54) suggests that we should be looking for a small, tight group of faint stars. There is a scattered group of (10 or 15 stars of magnitudes 14 to 16) at 06 37.4 +66 22 (1950), but it is not a "patch" by any stretch of the definition of that word.

Herschel's description might just as well fit UGC 3511 (06 38 45.8 +65 15 22, 1950), a rather patchy late-type spiral galaxy, but the position is off by random amounts in both coordinates. Similarly, the CGCG object at 06 38.2 +65 43 (1950) is probably not WH's object.

Since there are no reasonable solutions that we can easily see, we'll just have to let NGC 2253 be "Not found" for the time being.

NGC 2529

08h 07m 49.1s
+17 49' 15"

NGC 2531

08h 08m 01.1s
+17 49' 14"
NGC 2529, 30, and 31. Herschel did indeed discover N2530, and this is the name that, as Steve Gottlieb suggests, should be used for the galaxy. The other two objects were found by Bigourdan very close to N2530. Though he examined the field four times, he saw his two new objects only once. On that one night, he estimated positions with respect to N2530: N2529 is 1' distant at position angle 220 deg, and N2531 is 1' distant at PA = 150 deg. There is nothing in either position on the PSS. He also measured a thirteenth magnitude star the same distance away from N2530 on two nights; it is just where he saw it in = 15 deg. On the second night, Bigourdan claimed to see stellar objects at the very limit of visibility where he placed N2529 and N2531 earlier, but he did not attempt to measure them. It's clear to me that the two do not exist, probably being those faint illusions that we all see now and then when we get tired or try too hard to push the limits of our optics.
NGC 2589

08h 24m 29.5s
-08 46' 05"
NGC 2589 is probably lost. There are no bright galaxies near Swift's position, though NGC 2574 (4 minutes preceding and 9 arcmin south) is a possibility. Given Swift's meager description, however -- "pF, pS, lE in meridian" -- this is little more than a guess.
NGC 2630

08h 47m 07.3s
+73 00' 01"

NGC 2631

08h 47m 07.3s
+73 00' 01"
NGC 2630 and NGC 2631. These two objects were found by Tempel (apparently in 1883), and described in his note in AN 2660. Of the twelve novae mentioned in the note, these are the only two not listed in his table. It is remarkable, too, that he nevertheless describes them as "much brighter" than NGC 2629 and NGC 2641, both seen and measured by the Herschels and by d'Arrest.

At the moment, my feeling is that Tempel confused NGC 2633 with NGC 2629, and that his pair is actually NGC 2634 and NGC 2634A. These two galaxies are the only ones in the group that are close enough to be actually called a "pair." However, while N2634 is bright enough to rival the earlier observers' discoveries in the area, N2634A is certainly not. It's just conceiveable, however, that on a night of exceptional transparency, the pair may have stood out enough to capture Tempel's attention. He was, in fact, so struck by their brightness -- compared to the nearby nebulae that the Herschel's and d'Arrest found -- that he suggested variablility for them.

This is a pretty weak argument, however, so until Tempel's discovery sketch (which he mentions explicitly) can be examined, the question of the identities of these two NGC numbers has to remain open. So, I've simply entered the NGC positions in the table for the time being.

NGC 2901

09h 32m 34.2s
+31 06' 42"
NGC 2901 may be one of the galaxies (UGC 05070, 05074, or 05087) just over a degree south of Stone's especially crude position, estimated during a search for Winnecke's comet. There is nothing closer to his position that he might have mistaken as nebulous, unless it is one of the faint double stars in the area. Wolfgang has taken one of these.
NGC 3097

10h 04m 16.1s
+60 07' 33"
NGC 3097. I cannot find this one. Here are the original observations from the Harvard Annals, Vol. 8, Part 1, page 62, 1882:
"Date       GC     RA  (1860.0)  Dec      Remarks
1870 Mar.24  --  09 54 19.6  +60 47 58.2   G.C. 1998 s f neb; p 45 deg
                                            s 2'. [Place only approximate.]
1870 Mar.24 1998 09 54 36.7  +60 46 33.3   G.C. 1998:  F; S; R; mbMN."

There are three things to note about these observations:

  1) The position of the second (GC 1998 = NGC 3102) is from the GC.
  2) The "p 45 deg s 2' " means that the first (N3097) is 2' away
     from GC1998 at a position angle of 45 degrees.  This is 
     inconsistent with the position which implies the object to
     be northwest, not northeast, of N3102.
  3) Both observations are credited to E. P. Austin, and there is 
     a note for N3097:

     "Perhaps a nebulous star.  It is half-way between G.C. 1998 
       and a star 11 magn."

The positions don't tell us anything we don't already know since they are correctly transfered into NGC from GC and the Harvard list.

Since Austin was observing with a 15-inch telescope, I don't think that he could have seen either of the faint stars Glen Deen measured during his MicroSky project. The magnitude estimate given by Austin for the "star 11 magn" is rough since there is nothing that bright near the galaxy.

WH had this to say (N3102 = H III 916): "eF, vS, Stellar. Near a S st." And JH: "F, vS, R, bM; a coarse D * nf points to it; has a * 11 30'' dist, pos 142.2 deg ." All of JH's stars are identifiable, and I think that his star 11 must be the same one mentioned by WH and by Austin.

So, where does that leave N3097? My guess is that Austin has misidentified another nebula as N3102, but I don't see it or its purported companion in the area. A more thorough search may turn them up.

NGC 3167

10h 14m 35.9s
+29 35' 47"
NGC 3167. I can't find this object; there is nothing at all in d'A's position. The only reasonable asterism nearby (a triple, composed of a close double with a fainter single just north, about 4 arcmin northeast) does not have the "* 11 preceding 9.5 seconds, slightly north" that d'A notes in his description. If this is a bad position, it is one of the few in d'A's list (there are some, of course; see NGC 3575 and NGC 3966 for examples).
NGC 3401

10h 50m 19.9s
+05 48' 41"
NGC 3401 is lost. WH was the only one to observe it, his observation was apparently rushed (his description reads only, "eF, no time to verify"), and his data are not internally consistent. His table places it 5 min 42 sec preceding and 23 arcmin south of 56 Leonis. However, in his note in the 1912 Scientific Papers, Dreyer says, "In the sweep, it is 1.9 min p, 3 arcmin n of II 131 [N3423]." Reducing these two offsets leads to positions separated by 1 min and 5 arcmin. There is nothing at either position.

Between five to ten arcmin southeast of the position reduced from the N3423 offset (10 46 45, +06 09.5; B1950.0), there are one or two asterisms of stars that WH might have picked up. The positions are far enough off, however, that I doubt these stars are WH's object.

NGC 3484

11h 03m 05.5s
+75 49' 08"
NGC 3484 is lost. JH gives a position, suggests that it might be H. III 967 (but that is NGC 3465), and says "A very doubtful object." That's it.

Dreyer searched for this on the Greenwich plates that he asked to have taken of the area covered by one of WH's very strange sweeps (see NGC 2938 and NGC 3752 for more). I've searched for it on the POSS1 prints. There are no candidate galaxies within 30-40 arcmin of JH's position. So, we just have to take JH's word for it -- "A very doubtful object," indeed!

NGC 3708

11h 30m 39.3s
-03 13' 21"
NGC 3708 and NGC 3709 are lost. Ormond Stone found these with the 26-inch refractor at Leander McCormick and gave his usual crude positions to them. He also left us a sketch of NGC 3708, showing it midway between two stars near the edge of his field. (I do not know the field size, but do not think it can be more than a few arcmin.) There is no trace of N3709 in the sketch. Since it is supposed to be just two arcmin south of N3708, I wonder if it is the same galaxy, but seen on a different night.

I searched at all the reasonable digit error offsets where I've found other "lost" nebulae, but found nothing that resembles the north-south pair in the table, nor the galaxy flanked by stars in the sketch.

So, unfortunately, two lost nebulae.

NGC 3709

11h 30m 39.3s
-03 15' 21"
NGC 3709 is lost. See NGC 3708 for the story.
NGC 3927

11h 51m 32.3s
+28 08' 25"
NGC 3927 is probably lost for good. D'A has only one observation of it, but he comments, "Observatio haud dubia, Coelum vero non favebat. Defesso caeteroquin oculo et hebetato." Given that, it's strange that there is nothing at all at his position, nor at any reasonable position resulting from a digit error. Other galaxies nearby that he might have picked up (e.g. N3964, N4008) all have field stars that d'A would have noted.
NGC 4160

12h 12m 11.7s
+43 44' 18"
NGC 4160. Bigourdan has two accordant observations of this object on 27 May 1886 which place it 12.87 seconds east and 1 arcmin 24.8 arcsec north of "AG Bonn 8386" = SAO 044068. However, there is nothing there. A quick glance at the POSS1 shows another star about 35 seconds following and 40 arcsec north with a faint double star north following. The DSS gives the position of the double as 12 09 31.0, +44 00 49. Assuming that this is Bigourdan's object, and that he misidentified his comparison star, I reduced his observation. The resulting position is 12 09 41.0, +44 00 59. The 10 second and 10 arcsec differences are striking, but are difficult to understand given that Bigourdan read his micrometer in terms of position angle and distance and later reduced them to RA and Dec offsets.

Since there is still nothing at Bigourdan's place (assuming the mistaken identity for the comparison star), I'm tempted to assume some kind of error in his observation leading to the digit errors. But so far, I've not been able to find it.

NGC 4311

12h 22m 26.3s
+29 12' 16"
NGC 4311. JH has only one observation of this, calling it "Faint; the south-following of two." The "north-preceding" of the two is N4310 which JH called "Very bright."

There is only one galaxy here, N4310, and that was also seen by WH, as well as by JH during the sweep previous to the one during which he saw two objects in this place. It is possible that JH misidentified another pair -- but there is no other pair near his place, nor at any reasonable digit error from his place. In addition, his measured position for N4311 is less than 20 arcsec from the single galaxy here. This is would be a remarkable coincidence if the position actually applies to another object.

So, we are confronted with another lost NGC object.

NGC 4317

12h 22m 41.9s
+31 02' 16"
NGC 4317 is lost. WH's observation (this is II 324) fits in order with the rest of the nebulae he found the same night 13 March 1785, many of which were compared with 13 CVn (= 37 Comae = SAO 63288). II 324 has the same RA offset as I 76 = N4314, though is supposed to be 1 deg 9 arcmin north of that galaxy. There is nothing at WH's position.

A possibility for WH's object is NGC 4310 = NGC 4338 (which see). It is at roughly the correct RA (17 seconds preceding WH's), but is 1 deg 50 arcmin south of WH's Dec. This makes it unlikely that this is the object he saw.

Finally, Reinmuth, RNGC, and Steinicke have called N4317 a star. I think this is unlikely as WH would have probably noted the object "very small" or "extremely small" rather than simply "small."

NGC 4554

12h 35m 42.0s
+11 11' 00"
NGC 4554 is another of Tempel's lost nebulae. He has only a brief note about it in his fifth paper, calling it a very faint nebula 50 seconds preceding, 2.5 arcmin south of NGC 4567/8. This position is in the middle of an extraordinarily empty field with nothing brighter than 19th magnitude for 2-3 arcmin in all directions.

Checking the signs of Tempel's offsets turned up nothing that matched in any of the other three possible positions. There is a double star (noted in the position table) that might be his object. It has a faint double galaxy about an arcmin to the northwest, and an even fainter double star a bit further away to the southeast -- these may have enhanced a nebulous appearance a bit. However, adopting the brighter double as Tempel's object would require not only changing the sign of the declination offset, but its size and the size of the RA offset as well. So, I doubt very much that the double is Tempel's intended object.

Until Tempel's original observing records can be examined for possible errors, this object will have to remain "lost."

NGC 4912

13h 00m 46.5s
+37 22' 39"

NGC 4913

13h 00m 46.5s
+37 20' 39"

NGC 4916

13h 00m 54.5s
+37 21' 40"
NGC 4912, 4913, 4914, 4916. Of these galaxies, only one -- NGC 4914 -- is easily identified. That one was found by WH and reobserved by JH; neither found any other nebulae in the area.

The other three were seen only once by Lord Rosse, in 1865. He has a sketch showing their relationship with the surrounding star field, so it ought to be easy to identify them. His sketch, however, bears no relationship to the sky around NGC 4914, so it seems likely that he misidentified the main galaxy. Dreyer took this possibility into account by questioning the identification of the main galaxy in the descriptions of N4912, 4913, and 4916.

A search of the four POSS1 fields around N4914 also turned up nothing that matches the sketch. Another possibility is that LdR made a 10 deg error in his position, and actually observed several galaxies in the Coma Cluster. But that is about 10 deg 25+- arcmin south, and there are no galaxies/stars in the cluster area that match his sketch. One hour errors are also possible, but I've not yet looked closely at those.

The next thing to do will be to look into the lists of nebulae that Lord Rosse had at his disposal at the time (e.g. JH's 1833 observations, the GC, d'Arrest, Auwers) to see if any objects listed near NGC 4914 might be the one that he observed. Since the pattern in his sketch is clear (3 of the objects in a north-south line with a 4th following the southern most), it should jump out at us when we see it. I hope.

Wolf claimed to have found and measured NGC 4912 and NGC 4916 on his plate with the IC objects from his fifth list. The object he took as N4912, however, is a star, and his N4916 is a defect (which he did not mark) on the plate. There is nothing in its position on POSS1.

NGC 5242

13h 37m 07.3s
+02 46' 14"
NGC 5242 probably never existed. JH saw it only once, and seemed unsure about its reality. His description reads, "eF, vL; fills the whole field. Strongly suspected; yet a doubt remains." His declination is followed by a double colon which further suggests a problem with the observation. However, under his entry for NGC 4808, seen during the same sweep, he says, "Sky perfectly clear." Also, his measured declination, though marked uncertain, is appropriate for the sweep.

Since there are no galaxies in the area matching JH's description (all are too small), nor are there any one hour preceding or following, or within two+- degrees of the nominal declination, this may well be a visual illusion of some sort, perhaps caused by scattered light in his telescope.

NGC 5388

13h 58m 57.9s
-14 09' 03"
NGC 5388 is lost. Found by Frank Muller on 4 May 1886, he made a clean copy of his sketch the next day; that has survived in the group of about 180 sketches still extant at the University of Virginia. Muller (or another of the Leander McCormick observers; the handwriting is different) made a note above the typically rough position, "Not corrected for instrument." This probably explains my inability to find a galaxy in the area that matches his description and sketch. He describes it as "Mag = 12.0, S, R, vgbM" and observed it only the one night.

Until we can get a copy of the sketch online, here is a description of it: The galaxy is in the center with two stars just to its right. These point to another star near the top of the field about 3/4 of the way from the galaxy to the field's edge. Near the left edge of the field are three brighter stars in a small, flattened triangle. The brightest star is nearest the galaxy with the second brightest at PA ~30 degrees from the brightest. The faintest is at PA ~90 degrees from the brightest, and 2.5 times as far from the brightest as the second brightest.

I searched at reasonable offsets suggested by digit errors in Muller's nominal position, but found nothing. Perhaps others might have more luck.

NGC 5391

13h 57m 37.5s
+46 19' 31"
NGC 5391 is probably not MCG +08-25-054 though taken as such by RNGC and Wolfgang Steinicke. It is the faintest of the candidates in the area. The others -- in order of decreasing brightness -- are NGC 5439, UGC 8876, and CGCG 246-029.

However, Swift saw a star "very close" to the object. None of the galaxies has stars nearby that could be described that way, and the positions are well off Swift's nominal position. So, this object is probably lost.

NGC 5586

14h 22m 07.6s
+13 11' 03"
NGC 5586 may be = NGC 5587, but Swift's description ("eF, vS, R; nearly bet 2 B sts") doesn't match -- the galaxy is very elongated and there is only one bright star near to the southeast -- and his nominal declination is 44 arcmin off. Another possibility is CGCG 075-022, but that is too faint, and has no flanking bright stars. The other two candidate galaxies in the area, NGC 5583 and NGC 5591, were both found the same night as N5586, so are not likely to be the missing galaxy. There is no significant systematic offset in their positions, either.

I searched at reasonable digit errors (+- 1 deg and +- 1 minute) with no luck, so the best we can do with this object for the time being is "Not found."

NGC 5840

15h 04m 20.5s
+29 30' 22"
NGC 5840. Unless this is IC 4533 1 deg 43 arcmin south of Swift's nominal position, the object is probably lost. There is nothing else nearby that Swift could have seen, and he leaves us nothing to go on in the way of other clues. His description reads only "eeeF, pS, lE, ee diff[icult]."

IC 4533 is also unlikely to be the object Swift saw because there is a brighter star just a couple of arcminutes northeast of the galaxy; Swift would probably have mentioned the star in his description, as Javelle in fact did.

NGC 6059

16h 07m 13.0s
-06 24' 48"
NGC 6059 is probably lost for good. I could not find it for ESGC, and there are no galaxies at reasonable offsets from the nominal position that Swift might have seen. His complete description was copied intact into NGC, and his position was correctly precessed, so the original paper was no help in this case.

The IC1 note is another curiosity about the field: there is nothing at Bigourdan's "revised" position, either. There are a few faint stars and even fainter galaxies in the area, but nothing that Bigourdan could have seen. He comments under his observation of IC 4589 (which see), that he doesn't see how it would be possible to mistake IC 4589 for N6059. He's right.

Finally, there are no systematic offsets in Swift's positions for the night of 6 May 1886 that might lead us to a galaxy. Another (N4280, which see) of those objects, though, is also probably lost.

NGC 6237

16h 44m 07.4s
+70 38' 05"

NGC 6245

16h 45m 22.4s
+70 48' 16"
NGC 6237 and NGC 6245 may be duplicate observations of NGC 6232 and NGC 6236, respectively. Or they may be stars. Or, they may simply be "not found."

Whatever the case, these are two of a group of four nebulae that Lewis Swift found on the night of 28 June 1884; the other two are NGC 6232 and NGC 6236. Over a year later, on 11 August 1885, Swift found another nebula, NGC 6248, about half a degree south of his group. There were no other observations before Dreyer compiled the NGC, so he included all five.

Looking at the area on the Sky Survey prints, we now see only three galaxies here that are bright enough that Swift could have seen them. These are NGC 6232, 6236, and 6248. Swift's RA's for the three are systematically too small by 20 to 25 seconds of time, but his declinations are very good. Looking at his positions for the missing two objects shows that the declination of NGC 6237 is close to that of NGC 6232, and that for NGC 6245 is similarly close to that for NGC 6236. In addition, his RA's for the two missing objects each have roughly the same offset from the RA's for the same two galaxies (32 seconds in the first case, 48 seconds in the other).

So, I wonder if NGC 6237 = NGC 6232 and NGC 6245 = NGC 6236 -- in spite of the fact that Swift found all of the objects on the same night, and explicitly noted "1st of 4," "2nd of 4," etc, in the descriptions of all four objects. Keep in mind his method of finding positions: centering the object in the eyepiece, and reading the setting circles. Did he perhaps bump the telescope or setting circles inadvertantly after reading positions for the first two objects?

Still, he used a very large field eyepiece, so it may be that he mistook stars near the galaxies as other nebulae. Or, he may have seen reflections of stars out of the field and mistook them as nebulae. Or, his eyes may have played tricks on him if he was tired. I favor the jarred telescope/setting circle hypothesis, but would not bet even a nickel on its being right.

Whatever happened, the two objects do not exist, so I've simply entered them as "Not found" in the table.

NGC 6448

17h 44m 20.5s
+53 32' 25"
NGC 6448 is lost. It is the 60th entry in Swift's second list. Dreyer copied all of Swift's data exactly and correctly into the NGC. There are no galaxies in the area that might be Swift's object, and I can't find an obvious digit error that would lead to another (though I did not check for large errors, e.g. 10 degrees, 1 hour). Swift found no other nebulae the night of 16 July 1885, so we have no possible systematic offset to work from, either.
NGC 6450

17h 47m 32.3s
+18 34' 31"
NGC 6450 (Swift II-61) is also lost. Dreyer copied the position correctly into NGC, but abbreviated Swift's description of the surrounding star field. Swift's full description is "vF, vS; B * f 8 seconds; bet 2 sts."

There are several galaxies in the area that Swift could have seen, but none matching the pattern described by him. Howe also could not find the object, though he actually searched for it three nights, not just two as in Dreyer's IC2 note.

NGC 6529

18h 05m 28.8s
-36 17' 43"
NGC 6529 was apparently first seen by James Dunlop who claimed two observations of it. His description reads, "A pretty large faint nebula, round figure, 5' or 6' diameter, resolvable into very minute stars, with nebula remaining."

Unlike most of Dunlop's nebulae, JH claims to have seen this one, though only once. He lists an estimated position that is close to Dunlop's and calls it "A large milky way patch, much compressed, one portion much more so."

However, checking the position on the SERC IIIa-J film shows nothing more than a rather unremarkable part of the Milky Way. Nothing stands out that strikes me as something that would catch an observer's eye. Compare this to other Milky Way fields that have NGC numbers (e.g. NGC 6476 and NGC 6480) from JH's sweeps -- there is nothing obvious here. I've put the nominal position in the table.

I also checked the other nebulae seen in the same sweep; all are at about the same declination, so there is no large error in that part of JH's observation. A large RA error is possible, but I found nothing in the obvious places (plus or minus one minute, ten minutes, etc.).

Perhaps a visual observer can turn up something here.

NGC 6534

17h 56m 08.7s
+64 16' 54"
NGC 6534 is probably lost, like so many other of Swift's nebulae. The galaxy that CGCG chooses (CGCG 322-022) is about 1.2 minutes of time preceding Swift's position, and 2.3 arcmin south. Furthermore, the surrounding star field does not match Swift's note "... in center of a semi-circle of 4 stars." In particular, there is a fairly bright star within an arcmin of the galaxy to the north. If Swift saw this galaxy, he would surely have noted the star.

Are there any other candidates in the area? Galaxies that could be force fit to Swift's description include NGC 6505 (= UGC 11026), NGC 6536 (= UGC 11077), and CGCG 322-032. None of these, however, are at positions that would be even digits off of the nominal position. I don't think they are likely to be the correct nebula, either.

I'm listing the CGCG identity with a question mark. It's clear to me that it is the wrong object, but there is nothing else that comes as close.

NGC 6666

18h 34m 44.9s
+33 35' 15"
NGC 6666 could be any of a number of galaxies within a degree or so of Swift's position. It could also be UGC 11278 or UGC 11281 five degrees north. Whatever Edward Swift saw, it is certainly not at the position his father sent to Dreyer or later published.

Bigourdan's single observation a decade after Edward Swift's is for an asterism of five stars, the brightest three in a line extending from northwest to southeast. I don't think that this is likely to be Swift's object, but it is a possibility. The asterism is 20 seconds east and 2.5 arcmin south of Swift's position, but I don't think that it would match his description. This could be easily checked, of course, with a 15-inch class telescope.

NGC 6693

18h 41m 32.3s
+36 54' 57"
NGC 6693 is lost. There are only faint stars in the area of Marth's position. The RNGC claims the object to be a star, but I see no particular single, double, or multiple star around that might have caught Marth's eye.

Of the nine other objects that Marth found the same night ("1864.59"), two bracket N6693 in RA, and are at similar Dec's: N6688 and N6713. Neither has a large offset in Marth's position from the modern positions, so I have to presume that N6693 is also unaffected by any systematic error.

Barring a large digit error (e.g. 1 degree, 10 minutes), Marth's object is probably gone forever.

NGC 6714

18h 45m 49.7s
+66 43' 31"
NGC 6714 is probably lost. There is nothing at Swift's position, though his note "... sev B sts nr n" is appropriate for his field. Did he perhaps see a faint comet? Since he rarely comments about verifying his nebulae, this seems a possibility worth mentioning, at least in this case.

Barring a digit error, though, this object may be gone forever.

NGC 6748

19h 03m 50.0s
+21 36' 32"
NGC 6748 may be lost forever. This is an unusual fate for one of Stephan's discoveries, as he measured all of his objects carefully with respect to stars with accurately-determined positions. He claims five measurements of this nebula with respect to SAO 86851, and describes it simply as "Pretty bright, very small, and brighter in the center."

The implied offsets (for equinox 1870.0) from the star are -4m 18.53s and -9 arcmin 25.5 arcsec. Not only is there nothing at these offsets from his nominal star, I find nothing at similar offsets from other stars in the same area of sky.

Unfortunately, the object is not listed in Esmiol's 1916 collection and re-reduction of Stephan's nebulae, so unless Stephan's original observing and reduction logs can be found, we will probably never recover this object.

NGC 7054

21h 20m 43.4s
+39 10' 20"
NGC 7054 is another lost object. Found by Stephan, its position is the same in both the AN and MNRAS lists in which it appears. The comparison star also has the same position in both lists; that position is about an arcsecond off the GSC position.

But no nebulosity or asterism exists at Stephan's position, or at the positions implied by sign errors in the offset. Furthermore, a search of the POSS1 prints shows no nearby star with an obvious nebula at the correct offset. Jim Caplan finds no trace of NGC 7054 in Esmiol's 1916 monograph, so this object has to be listed simply as "not found."

NGC 7088

21h 33m 22.1s
-00 22' 57"
NGC 7088 does not exist, even though around a dozen sightings have been reported of it in the literature, including one by Dreyer himself in the NGC Notes. The nominal position, from Baxendell, is about half a degree north of M2 (NGC 7089), but there is nothing there but faint field stars.

About half a degree on to the northwest of the NGC position is a 1.5 degree long streak of interstellar "cirrus", dust well above the plane of the Galaxy reflecting the light of the Galactic disk back to us (see IC 336 for some of these dust clouds that are definitely in the catalogues). The cirrus is most easily visible in the IRAS 100-micron ISSA images of the area, though it also shows up in the 12-, 25-, and 60-micron images, and on the POSS1 prints, AND on the IIIa-J film copies of the latest optical surveys from Palomar and Siding Spring.

While I suppose it is just vaguely possible that this may be Baxendell's object, his clear description of a southern boundary just 7 arcmin north of M2, and of a nearly round shape, almost certainly rules this out. The IRAS 100-micron images in particular show a "hole" in the dust north of M2, just the opposite of what we'd expect if the nebula were real.

My own feeling about this object is that it may have been a reflection of some other object (perhaps even M2) within Baxendell's telescope or eyepiece, and that later observations are similar illusions simply "wished" into existence (see NGC 2529 and NGC 2531 for a discussion of two other such objects).

Also see NGC 1990 where an apparently similarly illusory nebula has been seen around a bright star.

NGC 7133

21h 44m 26.7s
+66 10' 07"
NGC 7133 does not exist. Bigourdan describes it as a "Pretty extended area, perhaps 2 arcmin across, in which I suspect some extremely faint nebulosity, at the extreme limit of visibility." There is nothing near his single micrometrically measured position but a few faint stars. My guess is that this is another of what he would call his "fausse images."
NGC 7210

22h 06m 22.4s
+27 06' 33"
NGC 7210 is lost. There are notes about it in GC and NGC. Dreyer has a note in LdR's 1880 monograph that the object is the only nebula found by JH in Sweep 103 (I scanned JH's 1833 list between 14 hours and 8 hours, and found no others). In addition, JH marked both RA and Dec with double colons; he apparently had reason to doubt the position. Finally, his north polar distance is one degree less in the 1833 list than it is in GC (Dreyer adopts the GC position for NGC) -- this was apparently not noticed by anyone who tried to find N7210. Unfortunately, there is nothing matching JH's description at either position.

For the record, that description reads, "eF, R, bM, ill-defined; a vF double star 45 deg np 4 arcmin dist points just to it." I scanned the POSS1 prints for several degrees around JH's nominal position, but found no galaxy in the area with a faint double where JH placed it.

So, even with two positions and a striking description, the object remains at large.

NGC 7238

22h 15m 20.5s
+22 31' 09"
NGC 7238 is lost. Swift describes it as "pF, S, R, mbM; 4 sts in form of a square nr p." There is nothing like this for several degrees around his position on the POSS1 prints (I haven't yet looked at larger distances: one hour east or west, 10 or 20 degrees north or south). There is little systematic offset in the positions of the other objects he found the same night, though several have large RA errors (10 or 20 seconds of time), and one (NGC 716 = IC 1743) has a large declination error.

So, lost.

NGC 7405

22h 53m 36.5s
+12 28' 35"
NGC 7405 is lost. Marth found this in August of 1864, describing it merely as "eF, S, R." Though his position was copied faithfully into the NGC, there are no galaxies nearby that Marth could have seen.

The nearest object fitting his description that he could have picked up is NPM1G +12.0573, chosen by RNGC and Wolfgang Steinicke to carry the NGC number. However, it is 40 seconds of time preceding and 7 arcmin north of Marth's position, not an obvious error to make. Another candidate is CGCG 430-021 -- but that is even further away at 2 minutes 45 seconds of time preceding and 5 arcmin north.

My own desperate, last-ditch, guess is that Marth picked up one of the faint stars nearer his position, but I have no idea which one. He found ten other nebulae that same night, but there is no significant systematic offset in his positions for them from the modern positions, and all are within 1.5 arcmin of his nominal positions. So, N7405 stands alone among them as unrecoverable.

NGC 7447

23h 00m 26.0s
-10 31' 41"
NGC 7447 does not exist. It appears as a nebula in the Markree Catalogue, but has not been seen again. Auwers, Tempel, and Burnham all failed to find it. Dreyer says that Burnham also noted a "F triple star a little np the place", but I do not see anything with about 10 arcmin that could be called a triple star.

I have not seen the entry in the Markree Catalogue, so do not know if it or the NGC entry might contain a typo. In any event, there is nothing at all near the place, not even a star bright enough to be included in the Markree list.

NGC 7471

23h 03m 53.8s
-22 54' 25"
NGC 7471 is lost. Seen only once by Frank Muller with the Leander McCormick 26-inch refractor, there is nothing within several degrees of its position that comes close to matching his description, accurately copied into the NGC (Muller made the magnitude 15.8, and the size 0.2 arcmin). There is no sketch.

Wolfgang chose a 19th magnitude galaxy 3+ arcmin southeast of the nominal position. That, however, is too faint, has no 10th magnitude stars 20 seconds preceding, and has a different position angle; it cannot be the object that Muller saw.

I have not checked large digit errors (10 degrees, 1 hour, etc). Someone with more time and patience than I might uncover Muller's nebula that way.

NGC 7481

23h 05m 51.6s
-19 56' 23"
NGC 7481 is also lost. Described by Ormond Stone as being of magnitude 14.0, very small, round, and gradually brighter in the middle, it is certainly not the galaxy that ESO chose as a possible candidate. That is too faint, elongated, has a brighter star superposed just east, and an equally bright companion galaxy within an arcminute to the northeast.

A search of the POSS1 prints around the nominal position reveals no galaxy matching Stone's description. Since there is no sketch, and Stone mentions no nearby stars, we probably won't be able to recover this object.

As with NGC 7471, I have not checked for large digit errors.

NGC 7555

23h 15m 30.8s
+12 34' 22"
NGC 7555 is probably one of the following: NGC 7515, NGC 7536, NGC 7559, NGC 7563, or NGC 7570. If I were betting, I'd narrow it down to N7536, N7559, or N7563. Here is JH's full description: "F, R, bM; place very loose; two or three more nebulae suspected in the neighbourhood."

There is a fairly rich, scattered group about a degree north of JH's "very loose" position. Just about any of the brighter of the galaxies in it could be the one he saw, with the some of others being his "suspected" nebulae.

Just to be sure, I checked for other objects found in the same sweep; there are only two, N14 and N7810. JH's positions for both are well within an arcmin of the modern positions, so there is no reason to suspect a systematic offset in the position of N7555. There certainly is, however, an accidental error.

NGC 7565

23h 16m 19.8s
; -00 03' 31"
NGC 7565 is lost, probably for good. It is one of the fourteen new nebulae found by Brother Ferrari and announced by Father Secchi in AN 1571. See NGC 7667 for more on these nebulae.
NGC 7613

23h 19m 51.7s
+00 11' 56"

NGC 7614

23h 19m 51.7s
+00 11' 56"
NGC 7613 and NGC 7614 are two of Brother Ferrari's nebulae announced by Father Secchi in AN 1571. N7614 is "Very near [N7613] south-preceding" according to the note that Secchi gives, but there is no obvious double nebula anywhere near the nominal position. There are many galaxies in this area, however. Perhaps one of them, plus a faint star or asterism, will turn out to be the objects the good brothers saw.

See NGC 7667 for more about these observations.

NGC 7666

23h 27m 24.5s
-04 11' 11"

NGC 7668

23h 27m 21.8s
-00 11' 29"

NGC 7669

23h 27m 21.8s
-00 11' 29"

NGC 7670

23h 27m 21.8s
-00 11' 29"
NGC 7666 is lost. It is one of the fourteen nebulae announced by Father Secchi in AN 1571. See NGC 7667 for more on these nebulae.
NGC 7667, NGC 7668, NGC 7669, and NGC 7670. Father Angelo Secchi was a Jesuit priest who worked at College Romain in the mid-1800's. He is remembered today primarily as a pioneer in spectral classification of stars, and for his studies of the sun: he was among the first to photograph the corona during an eclipse, and also was the first to attempt to deduce the interior structure of the sun. It's fair to say that he was -- pun fully intended -- a father of stellar astrophysics.

In 1866, he published in AN 1571 a short list of fourteen new nebulae that one of his fellow Jesuits, Brother Ferrari, discovered during a (fruitless) search for Biela's Comet from 11 November 1865 to 18 January 1866. Father Secchi has this to say about the 9.5-inch Merz equatorial at the College Romain, "From this study, we have convinced ourselves that the refractor at our observatory is at least as keen and powerful as the Herschels' telescopes ..." (translated by me from his French original). Also, he says that they "fitted [to the telescope] a large eyepiece which gives a 27 arcmin field." (My thanks to Wolfgang Steinicke for digging out the size of the telescope.)

Back to the fourteen new nebulae. I searched near the nominal positions on the POSS1 prints for all of these, and was unable to find any trace of eight of them (NGC 7565, N7613, N7614, N7666, N7667, N7668, N7669, and N7670). There are good candidates for three others (N7683, the only one of the objects whose position was determined by actual comparison to a star, N7738, and N50), and poor candidates for the remaining three (N7663, N7739, and N116). Secchi (or Ferrari) also "corrects" WH's positions for two nebulae, N157 and N7648. His positions for those are indeed better than Herschel's -- but they don't help us find the other missing objects in his list.

If we take mean offsets from modern positions for the "good" candidates -- excepting N7683 for which the position comes from a different method -- and the two corrected WH galaxies, we find systematic offsets of -5 seconds of time, and -1 arcmin 10 arcsec in Dec. The standard deviations on these numbers (+- 18 seconds and +- 26 arcsec) suggest that the RA offset is not significant and that the Declination offset is barely significant. But even that does not help us find the missing objects.

Reading more of Father Secchi's note, I learned why the positions are so bad. "The position is determined from the setting circles of the equatorial, corrected for instrumental errors, simply by placing the nebula in the center of the field." Secchi, however, also says that he verified each of the nebulae after Brother Ferrari found them. He must have done this on the same nights as their discovery since he never would have recovered them otherwise. Since Secchi gives no equinox in his note, I, like Dreyer before me, have assumed that his positions refer to the equinox at the date of observation, i.e. 1866.0 give or take a few weeks. I adopted 1866.0.

Specifically for NGC 7667 and its cohorts: there is nothing at all near the single nominal position that Secchi gives for them, and only one or two of the galaxies within a degree of that position are bright enough to have been seen with a 9.5-inch telescope.

However, Steve Gottlieb has suggested that some of the knots in the arms of UGC 12578 might be N7668, N7669, and N7670 which Secchi says "surround" N7667. These are much too faint for a 9.5-inch telescope, but the galaxy itself is quite bright enough to be one of Secchi's objects, in spite of having a pretty low surface brightness. However, it is 3 minutes off in RA and nearly five arcmin in Dec from the nominal position, so it would be a stretch to point to this object.

There are also three other objects within 13.5 arcmin of it that might be Secchi and Ferrari's other three nebulae: UGC 12589, and the double stars at 23 21 54.6, -00 12 35 and 23 22 12.5, -00 21 42 (1950 positions). All are northeast of U12578, though, and Secchi's description clearly translates as "Very faint: the other three surround the 9th [in the list = N7667] in the field." So, U12589 and the double stars are pure guesswork, and I don't think that I'd want to stake my life on them -- or even on U12578 being N7667.