Skip to content

Please be aware that some material may contain words, descriptions or illustrations which will not reflect current scientific understanding and may be considered in today's context inaccurate, unethical, offensive or distressing.


Listing by number of 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. Each object has eleven items of descriptive data: the original catalogue number; object classification; date of observation; nearest star; whether preceding or following that star; degrees; whether north or south; DM; right ascension; polar distance; and sweep number.

Inscribed on the front cover: 'General catalogue of new Nebulae and Clusters of Stars'.

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...5th. A more complete ditto ditto, containing also the rough approximate R.A. and P.D. of each object for 1800, and the determining stars as in the Philosophical Transactions.'

Reference number
Earliest possible date
Physical description
On paper, blue pasteboard cover.
Page extent
60 pages.

Creator name

Sir William Herschel

Use this record


Sir William Herschel, General catalogue of nebulae observed by William Herschel, 1802, MS/344/3, The Royal Society Archives, London,, accessed on 18 June 2024

Link to this record

Embed this record

<iframe src="" title="General catalogue of nebulae observed by William Herschel" allow="fullscreen" frameborder="0" width="100%" height="500px"></iframe>

Related Publications

Related Records


This item is part of:

Explore the collection

  • 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.

    View collection