General Meeting: Sleuthing for Deep Sky Objects — The NGC/IC Historical Project

  • OMSI 1945 Southeast Water Avenue Portland, OR, 97214

In 1888 astronomer John Dreyer compiled a list of 7840 “nebulae” for his New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars (abbreviated as NGC). Our speaker Steve Gottlieb recently completed observing the entire NGC, a project that took over 35 years and many trips to the southern hemisphere. Steve will be discussing the NGC/IC Project, a joint amateur-professional effort to re-examine the 100 to 200 year-old source material used by Dreyer.

A staggering 15-20% of the NGC's deep sky objects have problems due to poor positions, misidentifications, duplicate entries and incorrect classifications. Some of these mysteries have created a maze of confusion in professional databases and amateur software. The project's sleuthing has resulted in recovering literally hundreds of mistaken or lost NGC and IC (Index Catalogue) identities. Steve will discuss the project’s results and the final compilation of a historically accurate NGC/IC catalogue.

Steve Gottlieb has written numerous deep sky observing articles for Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazine and his favorite deep sky objects are featured in the popular Orion Deep Map 600 star chart.  His website Adventures in Deep Space is a source of observing challenges for advanced amateurs.

Slides from March Meeting