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Index of positions of 2,500 nebulae to January 1800, by William Herschel

Reference number: MS/344/2

Date: 1802


Listing by number of 2,500 [actually 2,508] nebulae and other astronomical objects observed by William Herschel and published in three catalogues within the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions between 1786 and 1802. The data is presented in three columns per page, each column listing the object catalogue number 1-2508, right ascension, polar distance and sweep numbers.

Inscribed on the front cover: 'The Right ascenstion & Polar distance brought to Jany. 0, 1800 of the 2500 Nebulae & Clusters of Stars printed in the Phil. Trans. according to their Genl. Number.'

The final leaf is watermarked: 'Joseph Coles 1799'.

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...4th. An index list of the same nebulae, &c. arranged according to the "general number" to find the class and number of each.'

Reference number
Earliest possible date
Physical description
On paper, brown paper cover.
Page extent
24 pages.

Creator name

Sir William Herschel

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Sir William Herschel, Index of positions of 2,500 nebulae to January 1800, by William Herschel, 1802, MS/344/2, The Royal Society Archives, London,, accessed on 19 April 2024

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    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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