Perhaps one of the most fascinating multiple objects to observe is the very close grouping of galaxies NGC 6027 with its companions, better known as Seyfert's Sextet, situated 1.8 degree east of rho Serpentis.
A first glimpse of Seyfert's Sextet will show the combined sextet as only a very faint hazy patch, 19 million light years away, perhaps all that one can see through an ordinary telescope.
If one ponders for a few moments the massive vastness of our own Milky Way, it is almost impossible to imagine the scale of a grouping like Seyfert's Sextet.
Serpens Caput is also home to the renowned galaxy group Seyfert's Sextet, an ultracompact bunch of galaxies crammed within 2' on the sky.
The members of Seyfert's Sextet have visual magnitudes ranging from about 13.5 to 15.6, the brightest being NGC 6027.
Spanning just 100,000 light-years (the width of the Milky Way), four galaxies in Seyfert's Sextet
in Serpens are so close together that their shapes are disrupted by gravity; a "tail" of stars (upper left) has been torn off the bright galaxy closer in.
Seyfert's Sextet in Serpens is the most crowded group in the entire Hickson catalog: its six galaxies would all fit within the Milky Way Galaxy!
Because it is so compact, we suspected that Seyfert's Sextet would be at an even more exciting stage for interactions and star-formation activity than Stephan's Quintet.
Discovered by Carl Seyfert in the late 1940s, Seyfert's Sextet
in Serpens (NGC 6027a-f) is a 13th-magnitude challenge for amateur deep-sky observers.
(HCG 79) was discovered visually by Stephan in June of 1882, with a 3111/42-inch reflector.
Approach him in the dark and you're likely to be offered a view of something you've never even heard of before, let alone seen, such as Seyfert's Sextet
in Serpens Caput and the NGC 6928 group of galaxies in Delphinus.
Since then I have largely foresaken my 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain, hypering tanks, and my own pursuit of the Orion nebula, Stephan's Quintet, and Seyfert's Sextet
. Instead I've focused my cameras on the places where astronomers of today actually try to make sense of the universe.