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The Herschel 400's and beyond - looking for input

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#1 Jeff Lee

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:23 PM

For the last couple of years, while I've gone to some star parties, my enthusiasm was not what it used to be. I thought about things that have kept me going in this hobby, and I realized that every time I bought a book (M's by O'Meara and his hidden treasures) I started to view more.

So I just ordered The Complete Guide to the Herschel Objects: Sir William Herschel's Star Clusters, Nebulae and Galaxies based on the review here and in comparision to O'Meara's Herschel's 400 (great book but I don't need the substantial "finder" help provided.

I belong to a club where this year I'll have about 25 days (depending how many are "rain" delayed) to start this project.

I have a C8 on a goto mount and enough EP's to give me a wide range of powers. I also have the 400 and 400II lists in Deepsky for viewing and log details.

I'd appeciated any specific type of advice you have on doing the 400 and others with a goto C8.

Thanks.

#2 David Knisely

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:02 AM

The Herschel 400 should be no problem in an 8 inch, although there are a couple of real stinkers in the list that may require some work if you go for them "manually" (i.e. starhopping). However, a number of the Herschel II objects can be quite a challenge for an 8 inch (and I found a few even challenging in a 10 inch), which is probably why a 10 inch is often recommended for working that list. The Astronomical League Herschel II listing had the following problems:

...................KNOWN PROBLEMS WITH THE ASTRONOMICAL LEAGUE'S...
......................HERSCHEL II OBSERVING PROGRAM'S LIST.........

NGC 1990: Alleged Nebula around Epsilon Orionis. Does not exist, and is apparently an observation of light scattered by the telescope around that star. A number of observers, as well as quality photographs show nothing other than the glow of scattered light around Epsilon.

NGC 2253: Alleged Open Cluster in Camelopardalis. No recognizable cluster at that location. Only a few scattered groups of field stars can be found within half a degree of the plotted position (6h 42.6m +66 deg. 24', eq. 2000.0), and none seem to form a recognized cluster. The plotted location is slightly uncertain, and Uranometria 2000.0 incorrectly plots it as a galaxy at 6h 43.2m +65 deg. 40.5', which is the location of the tiny 14th magnitude elliptical galaxy MCG +11-9-7 (CGCG 308-037). SIMBAD and the DSS also respond to the entry query of NGC 2253 as this small galaxy at the second location. However, this galaxy is quite faint (nearly 15th magnitude) and nearly stellar at low to moderate powers in my ten inch, thus, is probably not one which Herschel logged. In any case, no cluster can be seen at the positions which match Herschel's description.

***FROM NGC/IC WEB PAGE:
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 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) is 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 N2253. 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.
- Dr. Harold G. Corwin, Jr.


NGC 6526: Alleged nebula in Sagittarius north of M8 and southeast of M20. This entry is mis-identified on many atlases as a diffuse nebula north of M8. The object plotted as NGC 6526 on Sky Atlas 2000.0 (2nd edition), Megastar, and Uranometria 2000.0 is actually a large star cloud (0.6 deg. E-W x 0.3 deg. N-S), with many faint members at R.A. 18h 4.8m, Dec. -23 deg. 35'. This cloud contains little or no nebulosity which can be seen visually. There is some historical information which suggests that the nebula William Herschel cataloged as NGC 6526 is actually an earlier observation of part or all of the Lagoon Nebula M8 (NGC 6523). A one degree declination error on the part of Caroline Herschel apparently put NGC 6526 in the location shown on many atlases.

NGC 6991: Alleged open cluster in Cygnus. No object matching catalog size is seen at the original Uranometria 2000 1st edition's plotted location (R.A. 20h 56.6m Dec. +47 deg. 25'). However, about 10 arc minutes to the west at 20h 54.9m, +47 deg. 25' (Uranometria 2000 Field Guide, 2nd ed.), or about 3 arc minutes west of the mag. 5.7 star HD 199478, there is a group of faint stars involved with a few bright ones which is probably the cluster. Unfortunately, the Milky Way in this area is often as rich as this "cluster" is. At best, the object may have had a position error in R.A., and at worst, this object may be merely a Milky Way condensation.

Good luck and clear skies to you.

#3 aa6ww

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:55 AM

I also just recently purchased the same book from Amazon. Its an excellent source of information and way more practical than jumping around here and there online. It actually compliments the online resources since you can look up specific objects in more details from the book, and again, seems way more usable that just a spreadsheet full of information which most lists give you.
The Herschel 400 Observing Guide by Stephen O’Meara seems more usable for the pursuit of the first 400, but both books are excellent.
I'm working off the Herschel 400 list with my 6" F5 Celestron refractor with my Vixen GP-Dx mount. Though originally I didn't want to list everything Ive found with notes and drawings and just thought Id use the list as a guide to give me a direction to follow, now I'm realizing that recording everything seems to be fun also especially without the distraction of other friends around me that seem to take away more from this hobby for me than adding to it.
Though I have no interest in GoTo scopes to find these objects since to me that takes the fun out of everything, there are times when I wish I had the help.
What I find most amazing about these Herschel objects is that just about everything in the sky seems to be listed by Herschel and so many of them are right on top or right beside objects we have been looking at for ages.
I choose to use my 6" F/5 refractor because its a simple but beautiful scope optically, and sometimes makes even the obvious easy to find objects a little more challenging than using my larger scopes.
I'd say 90 percent of the observing I'm doing is just in my Suburban back yard, again making it that much more challenging.
On the more difficult objects, I may have to mount my 6" refractor piggy back on my C11 or C14 and use the larger scopes first, then see if I can detect anything in the smaller 6" refractor. If this still doesn't work, I'll have to venture into darker skies and I know on many I will have to but that's what makes this so fun.
Since I work and hold a regular job, my time is limited so this is going to take several years but that doesn't mater really. It gives me a very fun direction to take this hobby, something few people I know, understand.
One final comment, every thing you need in the way of Log Entries you can find here. This really is your one stop shop for everything related to Log Entry information:

http://www.astronomy....com/index.html

Good luck with all of this, its unbelievably fun stuff to me!!

...Ralph in Sacramento

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#4 Tony Flanders

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:47 AM

I'd appeciated any specific type of advice you have on doing the 400 and others with a goto C8.


Begin at the beginning, and go on to the end: then stop.

And of course darker skies are always better.

#5 drbyyz

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:17 AM

I'm working through the H400 pretty much constellation by constellation. Whichever constellation is in a good spot when I go out, that's the one I work through. I'm about a quarter of the way done so far. Not sure what your skies are like, but dark skies not only help, but also enhance the experience. My backyard is a orange zone and only 2 objects have given my any difficulty so far. NGC2024(Flame Nebula) and NGC1444, an unimpressive, small open cluster that was hard to confirm.

With a goto scope most of these should be pretty obvious the second you look in the eyepiece, especially if you know what you are looking for.

#6 Jeff Lee

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:56 PM

Thanks all who replied. The skies I will observing from are very dark in central Oregon. I will be using the observing log form from Deep Sky for the log and will use this book and the Observing Handbook & Catalog of Deep-Sky Objects by Christian Luginbuhl and Brian Skiff for references.

The club holds about 5 3 night viewing session in this location, and I'll probably go the the Oregon Star party this year for an additional 3 or 4 days.

David thanks for that information, along with that I got the astronomical league stuff on the Herschels. I'm not in a hurry and plan on making a low, medium, and high power observation on each. Not sure if I will image all of them, but I will those I really like.

On some trips I'm planning on using my C5 as a comparison scope at the dark site to see how well it does. I'll post my trials and tribulations (observations) here when I'm into the project. First trip is schedule march 8th.

#7 stevecoe

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:41 AM

William Herschel is my hero, he observed the entire sky available to him from southern England. AND--he did it twice to check for errors. German throughness at its best. I am certain that he and his family are the reason that we are still using NGC numbers to this day.

Have a great time you guys chasing all those fun objects with whatever telescope you have.

Clear skies;
Steve Coe

#8 City Kid

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 05:21 AM

I'd appeciated any specific type of advice you have on doing the 400 and others with a goto C8.


Begin at the beginning, and go on to the end: then stop.

And of course darker skies are always better.


:roflmao: :roflmao: This is type of wisdom that makes Cloudy Nights such a great place! :lol:

#9 coutleef

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:59 AM

if you use O'Meara's book on the 400 Herschel, you mau just start at the list scheduled for the month you are starting, which may be anywhere in the list

#10 joelimite

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 03:49 PM

I'm around 80 objects into the H400. I mainly observe from an orange zone with my 12-inch Dob. So far, I've only had a handful of objects that've given any sort of challenge: NGC 6756 in Aquila, NGC 136 in Cassiopeia, NGC 2204 in Canis Major, NGC 6207 in Hercules, and NGC 6583 in Sagittarius. All of these objects were visible, but they were either extremely faint or difficult to discern against a rich field of stars.

My strategy is to concentrate on a constellation or two each night I'm out. The Saguaro Astronomy Club has a handy list of the H400 objects by constellation:
http://www.saguaroas...400-objects.htm

#11 Dean Norris

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 04:32 PM

David,

Thanks for the heads up on the problems with H400 ll list. I'm at 202 objects found. It's interesting when doing a google search for NGC 1990 an image came up that looks the same shape as what's depicted in the old edition of Urantrometria. In the new edition there is no nebulae shown for NGC 1990.

Dean

#12 BillFerris

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 11:17 PM

The Herschel 400 list has a couple of questionable entries. NGC's 2371 and 2372 are different portions of the same planetary nebula, M76. Also, NGC 6882 was most likely a duplicate observation of NGC 6885. I recommend adding NGC 4039 and NGC 4340 to the list to bring it back up to a nice round total of 400 discreet celestial objects. Both galaxies were observed and cataloged by Herschel, and both are adjacent to objects in the official Herschel 400 list. You're gonna observe them, anyway, so might as well count them as part of the program.

Here, are my observation notes and sketches for the Herschel 400.

Bill in Flag

#13 Jeff Lee

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:31 PM

Bill - nice reference, thanks for posting.

#14 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:34 PM

The Herschel 400 list has a couple of questionable entries. NGC's 2371 and 2372 are different portions of the same planetary nebula, M76.


M76 (NGC 650/651) is located in Perseus. NGC 2371/72 is located in Gemini.

http://messier.seds.org/m/m076.html

http://observing.sky...b/NGC_2371.html

Dave Mitsky

#15 JayinUT

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:37 PM

Jeff,

I have the Herschel 400 broken out by month via O'Meara's breakout in an Excel format on my Google Documents. You can find here at this link. That's if you want to follow his map by month.

#16 drbyyz

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:20 PM

Jeff,

I have the Herschel 400 broken out by month via O'Meara's breakout in an Excel format on my Google Documents. You can find here at this link. That's if you want to follow his map by month.


Thanks Jay! I'm waiting on the paperback version of the book to come out, but this will be a great reference until then. Officially over 25% done with the list. It's a good one!

#17 BillFerris

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:53 PM

The Herschel 400 list has a couple of questionable entries. NGC's 2371 and 2372 are different portions of the same planetary nebula, M76.


M76 (NGC 650/651) is located in Perseus. NGC 2371/72 is located in Gemini.

http://messier.seds.org/m/m076.html

http://observing.sky...b/NGC_2371.html

Dave Mitsky


Thanks for catching that and making the correction, Dave.

Bill in Flag

#18 jae62

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:03 AM

Bill, what a wonderful website you created! Beautiful sketches, the Lord certainly gave you some wonderful observing opportunities that makes me rather envious, thanks for sharing them. :cool:

#19 Astrodj

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:43 AM

I like the SAC list suggested by Joelimite also. Haven't had the pleasure of using the O'Meara book.

Here is another list I like when using goto. It is in NGC order, which of course gives you R.A. order also.

http://www.astroleag...l/h400lstn.html

Good hunting!

#20 JakeSaloranta

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:44 AM

And for those of us who're "fortunate" enough to live in high northern latitudes, FDSS (Finnish Deep Sky Section) has Herschel 400 North which is "better" suited for such locations. It does have many of the same objects as the original H400 list (of course).

/Jake

#21 azure1961p

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:19 PM

Please make an observing report after your H400 safari is completed.

Pete

#22 blb

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 11:38 AM

The Herschel 400 list has a couple of questionable entries. NGC's 2371 and 2372 are different portions of the same planetary nebula, M76.


M76 (NGC 650/651) is located in Perseus. NGC 2371/72 is located in Gemini.

http://messier.seds.org/m/m076.html

http://observing.sky...b/NGC_2371.html

Dave Mitsky


I do not know why NGC 2371-2 would be such a questionable object to view. O'Meara viewed both parts of this planetary nebula in his 4-inch TV refractor telescope. See page 76 in O'Meara's Herschel 400 Observing Guide.

I recommend adding NGC 4039 and NGC 4340 to the list to bring it back up to a nice round total of 400 discreet celestial objects. Both galaxies were observed and cataloged by Herschel, and both are adjacent to objects in the official Herschel 400 list. You're gonna observe them, anyway, so might as well count them as part of the program.

And good additions they would be too, but you should contact the Astronomical League to revise the real list that started the Herschel 400 program. There are many Herschel 400 lists out there, but only the Astronomical Leagues really counts if you wont any recognition for completing the list.

#23 joelimite

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 10:01 PM

I recently viewed NGC 2371-2 and don't see why they're a controversial entry. Sure, they're really two halves of the same planetary nebula, but Herschel identified them as two separate objects, so counting them as such on the Herschel 400 makes sense to me.

#24 azure1961p

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:41 AM

It's one of my favorite planetaries with my 8". I wouldn't call it questionable or fringey though questionable as pointed out for being labeled separately for the same object.

Pete

#25 LivingNDixie

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:57 AM

I think the reality of it is, the Astronomical League may need to revise the H400 list to take out some of the confusion with some of the mystery objects.






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