Friedrich August Theodor Winnecke


Winnecke discovered 9 NGC objects from different places during his long astronomical career. In chronological order these are:

NGC 6791, an open cluster in Lyra, found in December 1853 with his private 3" Merz refractor, just after entering Göttingen University as a student of astronomy. His friend Auwers (than a pupil at Göttingen) published the object later as #45 in his list of new nebulae; see: William Herschel's Verzeichnisse von Nebelflecken und Sternhaufen, Königsberg 1862. On July 23, 1854 Winnecke discovered the open cluster NGC 6704 (Auwers 43) in Scutum with the same small instrument at Göttingen.

NGC 6655 (Auwers 42), which is only a pair of stars in Scutum, was found in July 1854 with the 9.6" Fraunhofer refractor at Berlin Observatory (see picture) where Winnecke became an assistant astronomer in 1854. NGC 3222 (Auwers 27), a galaxy in Virgo, was found in March 1855 with a comet seeker. For both objects see: Notiz über Nebelflecke, AN 45, 247 (1857).

The globular cluster NGC 6366 (Auwers 36) was found on April 4, 1860 while at Pulkowo Observatory (from 1858-65). According to Auwers the object was found with the old 3" Merz refractor, which he obviously has kept.

NGC 1398, a galaxy in Fornax, was found on Dec. 17, 1868 at Karlsruhe with a 4.5" refractor by Reinfelder & Hertel (see AN #2293), 11 years before Block saw it at Odessa.

The remaining objects where found during his directorship at Strasbourg Observatory (1872-82), using an 6.5" comet seeker by Reinfelder & Hertel. The galaxy pair NGC 2276 and NGC 2300 in Cepheus was found in 1876, but the latter object is credited to Borrelly, who discovered it in 1872 (both objects were also seen by Tempel). NGC 2146, a galaxy in Camelopardalis, was found in the same year. NGC 4760, a galaxy in Virgo, was found Mar. 30, 1876. All findings are published in: Beobachtung von Nebelflecken, Ann. Univ. Sternw. Strasbourg, Vol. 3 (1909).

Winnecke is mentioned as co-discoverer of the planetary nebula NGC 1360 in Fornax (seen with a 3.5" comet seeker at Karlsruhe in January 1868), but Swift has seen it first in 1857 with his 4.5" comet seeker.

Obituary: PASP 10, 35 (1898); MNRAS 58, 155 (1898); VJS 33, 5 (1898); AN 145, 161 (1898)


Berlin Observatory and 9.6" Fraunhofer-Refractor

Painting of new Berlin Observatory by Freyendanck, 1838. The Fraunhofer refractor is the instrument used by Galle to discover Neptun.


Strasbourg Observatory and 18" Merz-Refractor