Discovery and Cataloguing of Nebulae and Star Clusters

Important note: Any non-commercial use of my data is free! If a commercial use is planned, please contact me! Please inform the author Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke (also in case of non-commercial use, e.g. in a free software). In any case, a proper acknowledgment of the source, including an answer-back to the author is necessary. These data are part of a scientific project and subject to copyright!

1. Information about Observers

Biographical information on 181 NGC/IC observers with 599 pictures [2 February 2021]

2. Historical Catalogues

Publication Symbol Entries Dataset Version
Messier Messier catalogue 1781 M 103 + 7 Historic M 21 Apr. 2023
W. Herschel Three catalogues (+ uncatalogued objects) 1786, 1789, 1802 H 2500 + 75 Historic WH 1 Sep. 2022
C. Herschel Zone Catalogue 1825 GN 4025 Historic ZC 13 Apr.2021
J. Herschel Slough catalogue (SC) 1833 h 2306 + 2 Historic JH 1 Sep. 2022
J. Herschel Cape catalogue (CC) 1847 h 1706 + 9 Historic JH 1 Sep. 2022
W. Parsons Birr Castle Observations 1861   989    
Auwers List of new nebulae 1862 Au 50 Historic Au 2 Feb. 2021
J. Herschel General Catalogue (GC) 1864 GC 5057 + 22 Historic GC 1 Sep. 2022
d’Arrest Siderum Nebulosorum (SN) 1867   1942    
Dreyer GC Supplement (GCS) 1878 GC 1166 + 6 Historic GC 1 Sep. 2022
Dreyer Birr Castle Observations 1880 1840    
Dreyer New General Catalogue (NGC) 1888 NGC 7840 Historic NGC/IC 1 Sep. 2022
Dreyer Index Catalogue (IC) 1895, 1908 IC 5386 Historic NGC/IC 1 Sep. 2022

Important note:

The Historically Corrected New General Catalogue (HCNGC), first presented in April 2006 by the former NGC/IC Project member Bob Erdmann on the project website, is a bold copy of my Historic NGC of January 2006 including all its errors and uncorrected data. It is sad, that the necessary acknowledgment for using my catalogues is not given there! The version of HCNGC on the NGC/IC project website is incorrect and completely outdated and thus should not be used in any serious query! It is sad that the HCNGC is up to mischief in the internet - especially in american astronomy forums. For the background of this issue look here.


3. Modern data: Revised New General Catalogue and Index Catalogue

Version: 20 March 2023

The Revised New General Catalogue and Index Catalogue contains and describes all objects from the original NGC/IC, compiled by Dreyer. Additionally, many new objects (named with extension letters) or companions are included, so the catalogues list alltogether 13957 entries. All known data, cross-identifications and individual names are presented. The problems of existence, data quality and double or multiple entries are discussed. For all objects (except some open clusters and nebulae) precise positions are given for 2000.0. Around 12600 positions were determined using the Digital Sky Survey (DSS) and RealSky, also many magnitudes, sizes and position angles, so a great amount of the presented data is new.


Explanation (html)

Revised NGC/IC Data (zipped xls-file)


Steps towards the "Revised NGC/IC"

1970 Dealing more intensely with deep-sky objects (observing, data). Further biographical informations are here.
1982 First "Revised IC" (analog)
1984 "Katalog heller Quasare und BL Lacertae Objekte", "Katalog der Galaxiengruppen" (German versions)
1987 First version of CAT 2000 (digital)
1997 First complete "Revised NGC/IC" (based on historical sources, visual observations, DSS, CAT 2000)
1997 Core team member in the international NGC/IC Project . Other members: Harold Corwin, NASA/IPAC; Malcolm Thomson, Oceanside; Steve Gottlieb, Albany; Brian Skiff, Lowell Observatory; Brent Archinal, USNO (photos are here).
1997 Continuous updates of the "Revised New General and Index Catalogue"

Latest version of my "Revised New General and Index Catalogue"

  • 13957 entries (13226 objects from the original NGC/IC plus 731 additional entries)
  • around 12600 measured positions (accuracy 1-2") using the 102 CD-ROM version of DSS - showing the "real" sky to a great extent!
  • redshift/distance for galaxies
  • distance of galactic nebulae and clusters
  • galaxy magnitudes revised and column "B-V" added
  • magnitudes for single stars added
  • 42494 cross-identifications from 82 catalogues
  • 301 objects "not found" (2.3%)
  • status for identical objects based on discovery date, published in the "Historic NGC"

Further historic informationen and a sample of pictures on the NGC/IC are here.