New Project: The Herschel 400

Since I’m very close to finishing up observing all the Messier objects (I have seven left at the moment, which I have to wait on getting back into the sky before I can go looking for them), I’ve started looking for more obscure objects, like I did the last time I went out. The sky’s a big place, though, and it can be hard to decide what to look for among the NGC or other catalog objects. Sometimes it’s even hard to decide where to start searching around for new objects when you have no previous notion of what you should be searching for.

I’ve found something that will help me with that, I think. The Herschel 400 is a subset of the New General Catalogue, via the Catalogue of Nebulae and the General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters. As the Astro League’s introductory page on the Herschel 400 explains, the idea behind the Herschel 400 is to provide a list of objects that would “consist of enough objects to present a distinct challenge, yet still be within range of amateurs who possessed only modest equipment and were affected by moderate light-pollution problems.” My light pollution problems may be more than moderate, but I can travel to darker sites when necessary.

I know I’ve seen some of the objects on the list, but for this I’ll start at the beginning and document all my Herschel 400 observations as I observe them. Looks like it’ll occupy me for a while, too. I won’t stop observing other interesting objects while I’m at it, of course, but this looks like it’ll be an interesting list to go through.

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