Herschel II Introduction

Herschel II Program Coordinator:

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

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Welcome to the Astronomical League's Herschel II Program. This 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 observers' technical skills by taking thorough field notes and developing accurate technical object descriptions.

The 400 objects in this 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 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.

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To obtain your certificate and award pin for this program, 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.


Rules and Regulations

To qualify for the AL's Herschel II 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 obsersving log and index.

To receive your Herschel II Certificate and Award Pin, send a copy of your observations, along with your name, mailing address, email, 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 award pin will be sent to you or your society's Awards Co-ordinator, whomever you choose.



Find Your Herschel II Program Award