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The Complete Guide to the Herschel Objects

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#1 Olivier Biot

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 03:58 PM

Book Review: The Complete Guide to the Herschel Objects: Sir William Herschel's Star Clusters, Nebulae and Galaxies by Mark Bratton

Review by Paul Lawler.

#2 Starman1

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 10:38 AM

The question I have is how did the author deal with all the errors in identification in the Herschel list? The people who did the NGCICProject.org had to look at the original notes and correct many record errors to match the descriptions to objects.
In so doing, they corrected many of Herschel's recording errors. All of those errors went into the New General Catalog, and there have been many attempts through the years to correct them.
Fortunately, Herschel and his son were consummate writers, where descriptions were concerned.

So, the question I have is: "Did Bratton use the corrected positions to identify and view the Herschel objects, or did he simply skip over the hundreds of objects with mis-plotted locations?" Because a text that has all 2500+ Herschel objects without those corrections would, while historical, not be as valuable to the observer.
After all, the Herschels themselves would want any errors they made to be corrected, as any meticulous observer would.

#3 Starman1

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 10:18 AM

I just read a note in the book wherein the NGCIC.org was credited for corrections, and extensive use of NED and SIMBAD were made, too, so what errors could be corrected probably have.
That makes this an exciting book!

#4 azure1961p

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 11:38 PM

Thanks for clarifying Don. It IS a point worth noting. I like the sounds of this book quite a lot. Like a lot of great astronomy books the publisher will pull the plug eventualy so Im going to make the purchase soon enough.

Pete

#5 JakeSaloranta

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 06:24 AM

How about the sketches? How many are there and are they good ones? I've also read that some of the photographs in the book are poorly reproduced. It this true? The book is currently going at 60€ so at that price I really want an all around, top quality book.

And regarding the NGC/IC corrections - there are many objects that will remain lost and many that people will have different opinions about. For example in some of the cases the modern corrections made by Wolfgang Steinicke surpass those of the NGC/IC project.

/Jake

#6 cliff mygatt

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 03:48 PM

I just ordered my copy! I completed the fist Herschel 400 and am working on the Herschel II list and have the Herschel III list as well. This will be a great guide. THanks for a great review.

#7 mountain monk

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 08:40 PM

There aren't that many sketches, and they are small---less than two inches in diameter. For instance, there are none between page 80 and page 100--a random selection. I would describe the photographs (B/W) as OK. The descriptions are brief--50 to 100 words. After Atlas of the Messier Objects and Deep-sky Wonders, I was disappointed. The value for me will lie in it's completeness and, I certainly presume, accuracy. I thought the introductory material was well done. A labor of love, obviously, and an excellent reference, but I will still go to O'Meara's Deep-Sky Companion series for good reading--and I hope he keeps publishing them.

Dark skies.

Jack

#8 JakeSaloranta

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 04:42 PM

Thanks Jack for the info! I'll try to get my hands on a copy before maybe ordering it.

/Jake

#9 JayinUT

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 12:33 AM

I would agree that the introductory sections are well done and show a labor of love. Pictures are okay, not great, one is better served going to the digital sky survey to get the images if that is what one wants. Sketches are 2 inches by 2 inches, and the following can give you an idea of the number of sketches in the book. The book is divided into the constellations by alphabetical order. The object is listed by the NGC number in bold followed underneath the NGC number with the Herschel number, location by RA and Dec. using the 2000.00 coordinates; the Type of Object, Classification, Physical dimentions, magnitude, and then the writers description of the object. On some objects the author shares some information on Herschel's observation.

Here is a list by constellations of the sketches in those sections. I'll list the constellation and the objects sketched in that constellation.

Andromeda: NGC 752, NGC 891
Antilia: 0 sketches
Aquarius: NGC 7606
Aquila: 0 sketches
Aries: 0 sketches
Auriga: NGC 1931
Bootes: 0 sketches
Camelopardalis: 0 sketches
Cancer: 0 sketches
Canes Venatici: NGC 4214, 4249, 4449, 4618, 4631, 4657, 4861, 5353;
Canis Major: NGC 2359
Canis Minor: 0 sketches
Capricornus: 0 sketches
Cassiopeia: NGC 129, 381, 436, 1022
Centaurus: 0 sketches
Cepheus: NGC 40
Cetus: NGC 247, 274/275
Como Bernices: NGC 42274, 4414, 4450, 4459
Corvus: 0 sketches
Crater: 0 sketches
Cygnus: NGC 6888, 6894, 7000, 7008

I'll stop there. If I stated 0 sketches it doesn't mean there aren't images and of course there are plenty of images in each constellation.

The quality of the sketches aren't bad, it just seems they lost some of the translation in the printing process. Jake S. I think you'll find them ok, as they reminded me of some of your sketches and some of your fellow observers/sketchers up in Finland. I have to admit that when I spent some time going through my copy in many ways I thought of the NGC/IC project and that it duplicates that though replacing Steve G. with Mark B.'s observations. Am I glad I got it? Yes, its a nice reference for the shelf or desk. Am I happier it was a gift? Yes, as I think there are some other book I am glad I purchased around the same time first.

One thing that is missing in a Herschel Project is not perhaps including sketches in a book, but having the references and then granting access to a website that has a lot or many sketches of the H400 or the H2500. That though is a tremendous task to undertake. It is fun though.

I do like O'Meara's book but in the end, as I finished the H400 and am doing the H400 II I am finding as many have, that the best thing is to observe it on my own, to figure out my own finder chart and to enjoy the experience myself. I enjoy the books, and they add enjoyment during those cloudy nights, but nothing beats going out and bagging these items myself. I think that is what Bratton's book does, it provides some motivation to go out and observe and then compare one's observation with his and others. His enthusiasm comes through in his descriptions and that is also another plus, one gets to see how someone else views these objects and their enjoyment. For me, I have enjoyed his descriptions most of all.

#10 JakeSaloranta

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 03:31 PM

Thanks for the info Jay. I'll try to scout the book before getting my copy.

/Jake

#11 cliff mygatt

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 09:30 AM

My Copy arrived last week and I had a chance to browse it. It looks comprehensive from the descriptions and the pictures are a good reference. This book will be in my field library for easy reference. Thanks for the review.

#12 obrazell

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:18 AM

I would also look to Wolfgangs site at

http://www.klima-luf...2000/Explan.htm

as I think the NGC/IC site is pretty much moribund in terms of updates. Mustbe almost two years since it was last updated.

Owen






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