Miscataloged Objects

A fair number of William Herschel's discoveries were cataloged in the wrong Class. As just one striking example, there is H IV-50 (NGC 6229) in Hercules, which is described in Chapter 6. He considered this tiny object to be a planetary nebula and so it was long viewed to be such by many of the classic observers. And indeed, it sure does look like a typical planetary in the eyepiece. But in actuality, it is a globular cluster that apparently was beyond the resolution capabilities of his...

Canes Venatici

H I-195 (NGC 4111) 12 07 + 43 04, galaxy, 10.8, 5'x 1'. Very bright, pretty small, much extended 151 degrees. Sitting right on the border of Canes Venatici and Ursa Major, this elliptical galaxy is sometimes found listed under the latter constellation. Noticeably egg-shaped in outline, some observers report seeing a star-like nucleus here. Interestingly, Herschel did not mention it. The dim 11th-magnitude elliptical galaxy H IV-54 (NGC 4143) lies less than 1 S, within the same wide eyepiece...

Star Clusters Nebulae and Galaxies

Despite Herschel's pioneering discoveries in the field of stellar astronomy, it is his deep-space explorations for which he is best-known and remembered. The more than 2,500 star clusters and nebulae (which included many galaxies, the true nature of which was unrecognized at that time) were cataloged under the following eight categories or Classes as he called them, with the total number of objects in each indicated in parentheses Class I - Bright Nebulae (288) Class II - Faint Nebulae (909)...

Telescope Making Business

Herschel's telescopes far surpassed in both quality and size any other telescope in the world at that time. After comparison trials at a number of observatories in England including Greenwich, he stated with confidence I can now say that I absolutely have the best telescopes that were ever made. His fame as a telescope-maker spread rapidly and soon he was flooded with requests from both other observers and observatories to make instruments for them. While he was not in the telescope-making...