Finest NGC Observing Certificate
About the NGC Catalogue
The New General Catalogue or NGC contains 7,840 entries and forms the core of most people's "life list" of observing targets. The NGC was originally published in 1888 by J.L.E. Dreyer and therefore predated photographic astronomy. The Finest NGC list, compiled by Alan Dyer complements the Messier List as there is no overlap. The list features many fine deep-sky treasures as well as a few somewhat more-challenging objects. The Finest NGC certificate has been awarded since 1995. Handy recording and application forms can be found in links at the bottom of this page.
Here is an overview of the Finest NGC Observing List:
|Open Clusters||12||Including the famous Double Cluster in Perseus, NGC 7789 in Cassiopeia and NGC 6633 in Ophiuchus.|
|Globular Clusters||2||NGC 5466 in Bootes and NGC 6712 in Scutum.|
|Bright Nebulae||14||Includes the great Veil Nebula as well as the North American and Rosette nebulae.|
|Planetary Nebulae||24||Includes many fine PN's like the Ghost of Jupiter, the Cat's Eye, the Blinking Planetary, the Helix, the Blue Snowball and the Clown Face nebulae.|
|Galaxies||58||Includes the amazing NGC 4565 in Coma Berenices, NGC 253 in Sculptor and NGC 5907 in Draco.|
The RASC's Finest NGC Certificate
The Finest NGC list is an excellent project for those who have completed their Messier Certificate and who are looking for a new visual observing program. The official list can be found in the RASC Observer's Handbook. At least a 20 cm (8 inch) telescope is recommended to complete the list although it can be done with a 15 cm (6 inch) under good skies. Several Finest NGC objects can be observed in even smaller instruments so these could be used to get started on the brighter objects. With all instruments a nebular filter will enhance the view of the faint glowing clouds of gas.
The Finest NGC certificate can be started during any season. You must be a member in good standing of the RASC to be awarded this certificate.
The RASC Observing Committee has created special observing forms to help you complete the Finest NGC certificate program. These observing forms (677 KB, 115 pages) will help to keep your observations in one organized file. They feature all of the important data about each Finest NGC object and a generous area for making notes and drawings.
Here are some recommended resources to help you tackle the Finest NGC Certificate program:
- Sky Atlas 2000 - by Will Tirion is an excellent sky chart set that contains all of the objects on the Finest NGC list.
- The Night Sky Observer's Guide (Volumes One and Two) - by George Robert Kepple and Glen W. Sanner contains descriptions and finder charts for most of the objects on the Finest NGC list.
- Roger Fell's Telescopic Companion
- The NGC/IC Project