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Astron. Astrophys. 334, 473-481 (1998)

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The observational status of Stephan's Quintet *

M. Moles ** 1, 2, I. Márquez 3, 4 and J.W. Sulentic 5

1 Instituto de Matemáticas y Física Fundamental, CSIC, C/ Serrano 121, E-28006 Madrid, Spain
2 Observatorio Astronómico Nacional, Apdo. 1143, E-28800 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
3 Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (C.S.I.C.), Apdo. 3004, E-18080 Granada, Spain
4 Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, 98 bis Bd Arago, F-75014 Paris, France
5 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa 35487, USA

Received 22 August 1997 / Accepted 27 January 1998


We present new photometric and spectroscopic data for the galaxies in the compact group known as Stephan's Quintet. We find the strongest evidence for dynamical perturbation in the spiral component NGC 7319. Most of the damage was apparently caused by nearby NGC 7320C which passed through the group a few [FORMULA] 108 years ago. NGC 7318B is a spiral galaxy that shows evidence consistent with being in the early stages of a collision with the group. NGC 7317 and 18A are either elliptical galaxies or the stripped bulges of former spiral components. They show no evidence of past or present merger activity but are embedded in a luminous halo which suggests that they are interacting with the other members of the group. The low redshift galaxy NGC 7320 is most likely a late type, dwarf spiral projected along the same line of sight as the interacting quartet.

Key words: galaxies: kinematics and dynamics; interaction – galaxies: individual: Stephan's Quintet

* Based on data obtained at the 1.5m telescope of the Estación de Observación de Calar Alto (EOCA), Instituto Geográfico Nacional, which is jointly operated by the Instituto Geográfico Nacional and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas through the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía
** Visiting Astronomer, German-Spanish Astronomical Center, Calar Alto, operated by the Max-Planck-Institut fur Astronomie jointly with the Spanish National Commission for Astronomy

Send offprint requests to: M. Moles, moles@oan.es

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: May 15, 1998