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The Complete Guide to the Herschel Objects: Sir William Herschel's Star Clusters, Nebulae and Galaxies

By: Mark Bratton

584 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Sep 2011 | #190663 | ISBN-13: 9780521768924
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £55.99 $73/€64 approx

About this book

Sir William Herschel's contributions to astronomy during the late eighteenth century are unrivalled. His lasting legacy is his dedicated all-sky survey of star clusters and nebulae, and these objects continue to be among the most studied in the night sky.

This book provides a complete re-examination of Herschel's entire catalogue of non-stellar discoveries, making it the most accurate and up-to-date reference of its kind. The reader can retrace the footsteps of one of history's greatest astronomers and explore every one of Herschel's landmark discoveries, including those considered to be lost or non-existent. The book features detailed notes about each object's appearance and physical characteristics, and includes hundreds of photos of the most intriguing Herschel objects, along with dozens of sketches of what is visible at the eyepiece.

Deep-sky observers will appreciate this comprehensive guide that offers clear descriptions of the visual telescopic appearance of each one of the over 2400 Herschel objects. Wisely using NGC designations throughout, author Mark Bratton has produced a meticulous and highly useful contribution to amateur astronomy. Highly recommended.
- Terence Dickinson, Editor, SkyNews magazine

"Some books have already appeared about the 2500 deep sky objects discovered by William Herschel in the late eighteenth century, but Mark Bratton's The Complete Guide to the Herschel Objects is an exceptional one. It comprehensively covers the subject, giving an inspiring combination of history, theory and practical observing. The historical part describes the pre-Herschel findings, Herschel's telescopes, observing methods and his many discoveries. This valuable information establishes the basis for Bratton's own observations of the Herschel objects, made with various telescopes from different sites. The presented results show his great experience as a visual observer. This well organized book is an important tool for anyone interested in deep sky objects, both from the historical and practical point of view."
- Wolfgang Steinicke, author of "Observing and Cataloguing Nebulae and Star Clusters"

"[...] as a guide to the Herschel objects this book is excellent. I would definitely recommend it to all deep sky observers and those interested in the historical aspect of deep sky observing, particularly William Herschel's contribution. If you're a serious deep sky observer who has advanced beyond the Messiers and are doing the Herschel Objects (the Herschel 400 is often viewed as the 'next step'), then this book is for you. Highly recommended."

"4 stars: This in-depth guide takes the reader through a fascinating history of William Herschel: the man, the observer and the telescope maker [...] a well researched reference book."
- BBC Sky at Night Magazine



1. The telescope maker
2. The deep sky before Herschel
3. Surveyor of the skies
4. The Herschel catalogue

General references

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Mark Bratton has more than two decades of observational experience, and he is one of the few amateur astronomers to have succeeded in observing every one of the Herschel objects. He contributed to "Night Sky: An Explore Your World Handbook" (Discovery Books, 1999) and has written articles for several astronomical publications, including "SkyNews magazine", "Amateur Astronomy" (US) and the "Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada". He is a member of the Webb Deep-Sky Society and the William Herschel Society.

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