Herschel II Observing Program Coordinator:
Update on the list...
Three of the Herschel II objects were replaced with new objects. The objects removed from the list are: NGC 1750, 1990 and 2253. These objects were replaced with NGC 1985, 4517 and 7492. If you have observed any of the objects that were on either previous list before these changes, then they will count toward your 400. If not, please use this list going forward. Sorry for any confusion. (August 1, 2020)
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.
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.
Requirements and Rules
This certification is available to members of the Astronomical League, either through their local astronomical society or as members at large. If you are not a member and would like to become one, check with your local astronomical society, search for a local society on the Astronomical League Website (click here), or join as a member at large (click here).
To qualify for the Astronomical League's Herschel II Observing Program certificate and pin, you must complete these requirements:
Complete an index of observations in NGC order showing the page number of your descriptions next to the NGC numbers on the list.
If you are a member of the Astronomical League and live at far southern latitudes, you may have noticed that the Herschel II object list has some objects beyond your northern horizon. The Astronomical League has developed a Southern Supplemental list for you! This list contains 134 additional Herschel objects which extend the Herschel II certificate to our most southern observers. There is still only one certification for the Herschel II Observing Program.
Your options are:
- If you live north of the equator, then you must do the original Herschel II list.
- If you live south of the equator, then we encourage you to do the original list, if the objects are within your limits.
- However, if that is not possible, then the Southern Supplemental list is available for your use. You may substitute as many of the Southern Supplement objects as necessary to reach 400 total objects. If you have any questions, please contact the Herschel II Observing Program Coordinator.
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:
Upon verification of your submission and of your active membership in the Astronomical League, your recognition (certificate, pin, etc.) will be sent to you or to the awards coordinator for your society, as you specified. Your name will also appear in an upcoming issue of the Reflector magazine and in the Astronomical League’s on-line database. Congratulations. Good luck with your next observing challenge.
- The Astronomical League Web Store has a great manual available with information for this Observing Program. It is available here.
- Herschel-II Lists - Excel Spreadsheets
- Herschel-II List by Right Ascension - PDF File
- Herschel-II List by NGC Number - PDF File
- Herschel-II List by Constellation - PDF File
- Herschel-II Southern Supplement by Right Ascension - PDF file
- Herschel-II Southern Supplement by Constellation - PDF file
- Find Your Observing Program Award