Herschel 400 Club List

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The List
Sir William Herschel was the first great amateur astronomer, and is still considered one of the greatest observers of all time. It was natural that a deep sky observation list selected to follow the Messier observation list of "comet-like" objects be of some of the finest objects discovered and catalogued by Herschel.  Undertaking the observation of the relatively small list of 400 of the over 2500 objects discovered, described, studied and catalogued by Herschel and his sister Caroline is an exercise in humility as well as dedication for any amateur. (Of course, it is also a lot of fun!) For detailed information on the Herschel 400 Deep Sky observing list, please see the Web site of the Astronomical League, which administers the Herschel 400 Club.

Herschel 400 Log on This Site
  The Herschel 400 Log provided here documents my own observations of the deep sky objects in a series of 20 tables, each with 20 of the objects, organized by New General Catalog (NGC) number (see Index.)  The fields recorded include information provided by the Astronomical League, including NGC number, object type, constellation, and visual magnitude. The League also provides information on the size of many objects,
but this has been omitted for layout purposes. I have added information on the Hubble classification of anagalactic nebulae (galaxies) as provided in the Atlas of the Heavens - II by Antonin Becvar. This is useful for understanding the descriptions of the galaxies. For many of the objects, thumbnail versions of images from the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) are provided. I hope to begin including my own sketches or photographs of many of the objects.

Information on the observing locations, seeing conditions, equipment used, and observing notes is provided on the Equipment and Conditions pages.

Index to the Observing Notes
Object # NGC Range Object # NGC Range


40 -  584 201-220 4027 -  4251
21-40 596 -  1023 221-240 4258 -  4438
41-60 1027 -  1907 241-260 4442 -  4565
61-80 1931 -  2264 261-280 4570 -  4762
81-100 2266 -  2419 281-300 4781 -  5474
101-120 2420 -  2681 301-320 5557 -  6229
121-140 2683 -   3147 321-340 6235 -  6528
141-160 3166 -  3414 341-360 6540 -  6818
161-180 3432 -  3675 361-380 6823 -  7086
181-200 3686 -  4026 381-400 7128 -  7814
The Challenge of the Herschel 400
  Undertaking the Herschel 400 observing program will require a telescope with an aperture
of at least 6 inches, a good basic selection of eyepieces and filters (particularly an O-III filter),
access to a dark observing site for many of the difficult objects (particularly the dimmer
diffuse nebulae in Orion and Monoceros), a great deal of perseverance, accurate and
scrupulous note-taking and observation recording, and a minimum of 150-200 hours of
observing time. Many of the objects are difficult to see, even with a relatively large
telescope, and will require a fair amount of observing skill -- at least of the level required
to observe and record all of the Messier objects.

I've found my Celestron G-9.25 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope to be an excellent all-
around instrument for undertaking the Herschel 400. It provides plenty of aperture,
advantageous focal length for high power observations of small planetary nebulae and
dim galaxies, and excellent optics.  The 80-85% light transmission of the stock
Celestron 1-1/4-in star diagonal is a limiting element in the optical train for this telescope.
Upgrade to a 98-99% transmission di-electric mirror diagonal is highly recommended.

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2003, Darrell M. Dodge