Herschel II Observing Program

Herschel II Observing Program Coordinator:

Candace Pratt
296 SW Moonridge Place
Portland, OR   97225-6466

E-mail: candace@icingsglass.com


Welcome to the Astronomical League's Herschel II Observing Program. This Observing Program was added in August 1997. Consisting of 400 of the 2,478 deep sky objects catalogued by William Herschel in the late 1700's, the Herschel II is the next level observing project after the Ancient City Astronomers' Herschel 400 program. The Herschel II Observing Program is an advanced level project focused on improving an observers' technical skills by taking thorough field notes and developing accurate technical object descriptions.

The 400 objects in this Observing Program consist of 323 galaxies, 41 open clusters, 21 nebulae, 9 planetary nebula, 3 cluster-nebula, and 3 globular clusters. Most of the objects are between magnitude 11 and 13. In the data gathering phase of the project, approximately 80% of the objects on the list were observed with scopes between 8" and 13" aperture. One of the initial hopes for this program was that it could be completed using a scope of 8" aperture. While an 8" aperture scope under good dark skies will be able to do a good portion of the list, a 10" aperture scope or larger will probably be needed to complete the whole program. Since many of the objects are in fields containing numerous other objects, some even superimposed on top of each other, identifying the correct object under these circumstances is a major challenge.

The Herschel II Observing Program is supported and maintained by the membership of the Rose City Ancient Astronomers, of Portland, Oregon. Our club is dedicated to observing the night sky and educating the community.

HerschelII Club Logo
You are strongly encouraged to purchase the Herschel II Observing Guide from the AL Bookstore specifically written to support this observing club.  The focus of the Herschel II Observing guide is the taking of thorough field notes and developing them into complete, technically accurate, object descriptions. To support that goal, the manual includes recommendations, guidelines, technical information, examples, and sample forms to aid the observer in developing this skill. Besides descriptions of the 400 objects, it includes a planning guide and an index, a field reference section, and a skills challenge section.


Announcement: Observing List Updated

There are times when it becomes necessary to update the Astronomical League's Observing Programs.  That time is now for the Herschel II Observing Program.  The book will be updated the next time it is printed and the lists are now updated now.  We encourage you to use the new list to direct your observing in pursuit of this certification.  The reason for this update is to improve the list of objects.  One object was a duplicate on the Herschel 400 list (NGC 7814), and three proved difficult to observe (NGC 1750, NGC 1990, and NGC 2253).  These have been replaced with: NGC 281, NGC 6535, NGC 6729, and NGC 7714.  If you have already observed the objects that have been removed, those observations will still be counted in your list of 400 required for this certification.  Be sure to review and use the new lists.


Rules and Regulations

To qualify for the Astronomical League's Herschel II Observing Program certificate and pin, you need only be a member of the Astronomical League, either through an affiliated club or as a Member at Large. If you are not a member now, click here to view information on becoming a member.

  • Observe the 400 objects listed in this manual and record your observations.
  • Develop object descriptions that will include at a minimum:
    • Date and Time (local or UT)
    • Site (including Latitude and Longitude)
    • Seeing and Transparency
    • Instrument used
    • Eyepiece used and Magnification
    • Object descriptions of the 400 objects in your own words, based on your observations

Complete an index of observations in NGC order showing the page number of your descriptions next to the NGC numbers on the list.


Submitting for Certification

Fill out the "Submittal Form, found in the guide in total, or equivalent, and send it to the Herschel II Observing Program Coordinator with your observing log and index.

To receive your Herschel II Observing Program certificate and Pin, send a copy of your observations, along with your name, mailing address, email address, phone number, society affiliation, and to whom the certification should be sent, to:

Herschel II Program Coordinator:

Candace Pratt
296 SW Moonridge
Portland, OR 97225-6466
E-mail: candace@icingsglass.com

Upon verification of your observations, your certificate and pin will be sent to you or your society's Awards Coordinator, whomever you choose.