New General Catalogue
Spiral Galaxy NGC 3982 displays numerous spiral arms filled with bright stars, blue star clusters, and dark dust lanes. It spans about 30,000 light years, lies about 68 million light years from Earth and can be seen with a small telescope in the constellation of Ursa Major.
|Survey type||astronomical catalog|
|Observations||William Herschel, John Frederick William Herschel, James Dunlop|
|Related media on Wikimedia Commons|
The New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars (abbreviated as NGC) is a catalogue of deep-sky objects compiled by John Louis Emil Dreyer in 1888 as a new version of John Herschel's General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars. The NGC contains 7,840 objects, known as the NGC objects. It is one of the largest comprehensive catalogues, as it includes all types of deep space objects and is not confined to, for example, galaxies. Dreyer also published two supplements to the NGC in 1895 and 1908, known as the Index Catalogues, describing a further 5,386 astronomical objects.
Objects in the sky of the southern hemisphere are catalogued somewhat less thoroughly, but many were observed by John Herschel or James Dunlop. The NGC had many errors, but a serious if not complete attempt to eliminate them was initiated by the NGC/IC Project in 1993, after partial attempts with the Revised New General Catalogue (RNGC) by Jack W. Sulentic and William G. Tifft in 1973, and NGC2000.0 by Roger W. Sinnott in 1988. The Revised New General Catalogue and Index Catalogue was compiled in 2009 by Wolfgang Steinicke.
The original New General Catalogue was compiled during the 1880s by John Louis Emil Dreyer using observations from William Herschel and his son John, among others. Dreyer had already published a supplement to Herschel's General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters (GC), containing about 1,000 new objects. In 1886, he suggested building a second supplement to the General Catalogue, but the Royal Astronomical Society asked Dreyer to compile a new version instead. This led to the publication of the New General Catalogue in the Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1888.
Assembling the NGC was a challenge, as Dreyer had to deal with many contradicting and unclear reports, made with a variety of telescopes with apertures ranging from 2 to 72 inches. While he did check some himself, the sheer number of objects meant Dreyer had to accept them as published by others for the purpose of his compilation. Dreyer was a careful transcriber and made few errors himself, but the catalogue nonetheless contained several errors (mostly relating to position and descriptions). He was very thorough in his referencing, which allowed future astronomers to review the original references and publish corrections to the original NGC.
The first major update to the NGC is the Index Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars (abbreviated as IC), published in two parts by Dreyer in 1895 (IC I, containing 1,520 objects) and 1908 (IC II, containing 3,866 objects). It serves as a supplement to the NGC, and contains an additional 5,386 objects, collectively known as the IC objects. It summarizes the discoveries of galaxies, clusters and nebulae between 1888 and 1907, most of them made possible by photography. A list of corrections to the IC was published in 1912.
Revised New General Catalogue
The Revised New Catalogue of Nonstellar Astronomical Objects (abbreviated as RNGC) was compiled by Jack W. Sulentic and William G. Tifft in the early 1970s, and was published in 1973, as an update to the NGC. However, because the update had to be completed in just three summers, it failed to incorporate several previously-published corrections to the NGC data (including corrections published by Dreyer himself), and even introduced new errors.
Nearly 800 objects are listed as "non-existent" in the RNGC. The phrase persists, even though it can be misleading and is often an error.
A 1993 monograph considered the 229 star clusters called "non-existent" in the RNGC. They had been "misidentified or have not been located since their discovery in the 18th and 19th centuries". More careful research showed that only one of the 229—NGC 1498—was not actually in the sky. Five others were duplicates of other entries, 99 existed "in some form", and the other 124 required additional research to resolve.
As another example, reflection nebula NGC 2163 in Orion was classified "non-existent" due to a rare transcription error by Dreyer. Dreyer corrected his own mistake in the Index Catalogues. But the RNGC of 1973 did not consult the Index Catalogues, preserved the original error, compounded the error by reversing its sign of declination, then classed NGC 2163 as "non-existent".
NGC 2000.0 (also known as the Complete New General Catalog and Index Catalog of Nebulae and Star Clusters) is a 1988 compilation of the NGC and IC made by Roger W. Sinnott, using the J2000.0 coordinates. It incorporates several corrections and errata made by astronomers over the years. However, it too ignored the original publications and favoured modern (but erroneous) corrections.
The NGC/IC Project is a collaboration formed in 1993. It aims to identify all NGC and IC objects, and collect images and basic astronomical data on them.
Revised New General Catalogue and Index Catalogue
The Revised New General Catalogue and Index Catalogue (abbreviated as RNGC/IC) is a compilation made by Wolfgang Steinicke in 2009. It is considered one of the most comprehensive and authoritative treatments of the NGC and IC catalogues.
- Dreyer, J. L. E. (1878). "A Supplement to Sir John Herschel's "General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars"" (PDF). Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy. 26: 391–426. Bibcode:1878RIATr..26..381D. JSTOR 30079091.
- Bradt, H. (2004). Astronomy Methods: A Physical Approach to Astronomical Observations. Cambridge University Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-521-53551-9.
- Dreyer, J. L. E. (1888). "A New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars, being the Catalogue of the late Sir John F.W. Herschel, Bart., revised, corrected, and enlarged" (PDF). Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society. 49: 1–237. Bibcode:1888MmRAS..49....1D.
- Corwin, H.G. Jr. (12 October 1999). "The NGC/IC Project: An Historical Perspective". The NGC/IC Project. Retrieved 2012-04-22.
- Dreyer, J. L. E. (1895). "Index Catalogue of Nebulae found in the years 1888 to 1894, with Notes and Corrections to the New General Catalogue". Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society. 51: 185–228. Bibcode:1895MmRAS..51..185D.
- Dreyer, J. L. E. (1908). "Second Index Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars; containing objects found in the years 1895 to 1907, with Notes and Corrections to the New General Catalogue and to the Index Catalogue for 1888–94" (PDF). Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society. 59: 105–198. Bibcode:1908MmRAS..59..105D.
- Dreyer, J. L. E. (1912). "Corrections to the New General Catalogue resulting from the revision of Sir William Herschel's Three Catalogues of Nebulae". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 73: 37–40. Bibcode:1912MNRAS..73...37D. doi:10.1093/mnras/73.1.37.
- Sulentic, J. W.; Tifft, W. G. (1973). The Revised New Catalogue of Nonstellar Astronomical Objects. University of Arizona Press. ISBN 978-0-8165-0421-3.
- "Monograph No. 1 - The "Non-Existent" Star Clusters of the RNGC". Webb Deep-Sky Society. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
- Allison, Mark (4 April 2006). Star Clusters and How to Observe Them. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 62–63. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
- O'Meara, Stephen James (12 April 2007). Deep Sky Companions: Hidden Treasures. Cambridge University Press. p. 175-176. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
- "NGC2000 - NGC2000.0: Complete New General Catalog and Index Catalog". Goddard Space Flight Center. Retrieved 2012-04-22.
- Sinnott, R. W. (1988). NGC 2000.0: The Complete New General Catalogue and Index Catalogues of Nebulae and Star Clusters. Sky Publishing. ISBN 978-0-933346-51-2.
- Erdmann, R. E. (2010). "The NGC/IC Project". The NGC/IC Project. Retrieved 2012-04-22.
- Steinicke, W. (17 January 2012). "Revised New General Catalogue and Index Catalogue". Retrieved 2012-04-22.
- Steinicke, W. (2010). Observing and Cataloguing Nebulae and Star Clusters: From Herschel to Dreyer's New General Catalogue. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-19267-5.
- Duerbeck, H. W. (2009). "Book Review: Nebel und Sternhaufen - Geschichte ihrer Entdeckung Beobachtung und Katalogisierung (Steinicke)". Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage. 12 (3): 255. Bibcode:2009JAHH...12..255D.
- Duerbeck, H. W. (2011). "Observing and Cataloguing Nebulae and Star Clusters. From Herschel to Dreyer's New General Catalogue (Steinicke)". Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage. 14 (1): 78. Bibcode:2011JAHH...14Q..78D.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to NGC objects.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to IC objects.|
- The Interactive NGC Catalog Online
- Adventures in Deep Space: Challenging Observing Projects for Amateur Astronomers.
- Revised New General Catalogue