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A compendium of William Herschel's sightings and descriptions of nebulae, planetary nebulae, globular clusters, galaxies and other objects originally described by Charles Messier in his 'Catalogue des nébuleuses et des amas d'etoiles' (1771). The list is organised by object, M1-M103, and Herschel's sightings are given chronologically, with his comments, for the years 1776-1813.

This document is referred to in Sir John Herschel's explanation of Herschel family manuscripts on nebulae. See pp.6-7 of 'Catalogue of nebulae and clusters of stars', by John Frederick William Herschel, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, v.154 (1864) pp.1-137. 'In presenting to the Royal Society this Catalogue, it will be accompanied by the following series of records and documents...2nd. A similar set of register sheets of all the observations of each of MESSIER'S nebulae, arranged according to MESSIER'S numbers.'

Reference number
Earliest possible date
Physical description
On paper.
Page extent
218 pages.

Creator name

Sir William Herschel

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Sir William Herschel, Catalogue of observations of Messier objects by William Herschel, 1776-1813, MS/344/1, The Royal Society Archives, London,, accessed on 24 June 2024

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  • Manuscripts General

    Dates: 1551 - 1951

    Science in the Making presents selected items from the 'Manuscripts General' series, notably astronomical observations, investigations of discrete topics, and indices and registers of papers read before the Royal Society.

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