Photographic Observing Lists

The Messier Object list is a fantastic list for visual observers.  It is a good compilation of a wide range of bright objects of various types and sizes that are all visible to just about any observer in the northern hemisphere.  It works great with a range of instruments from binoculars, to very large aperture Dobsonian scopes.  It is also a very nice size, with just 110 objects, it feels very approachable.  When it comes to astrophotography, this list can still be extremely useful because all of the objects are bright and can be photographed both in the city and countryside with a wide range of instruments. However, it can also be extremely limiting because it was not made with photography in mind.  Many objects are great photographic targets, but are not very bright visually.  Some objects were just way too big or too unlike comets to make Messier's list.  And still others were just not observed by Messier.  As a result, I have found myself searching through various catalogs such as the NGC, IC, Caldwell, Sharpless, and Barnard catalogs looking for good photographic targets among the thousands listed.  I thought it would be useful to make several lists of what I think to be the best photographic targets.  

Some attributes of my Photographic Observing Lists I am putting together.

  • One list would include objects that would fit nicely in wide fields greater than 60 arc minutes in width and height (such as a camera lens or wide field refractor).  
  • A second list would cater to field sizes between 10 arc minutes and 60 arc minutes (such as many large and small amateur telescopes).
  • Athird list would include objects that fit in small field sizes less than 10 arc minutes. 
  • All of the objects on this list will have a declination of -30 degrees or higher, for good observations in Delaware.
  • None of the objects will be just a cluster of stars because clusters tend to look better visually than in photographs.  If the cluster also has a nebula, it might be included.
  • All of the objects will be visually interesting, no elliptical galaxies without structure.
  • All of the objects will be approachable, nothing should be too dim as to be invisible in a 5 minute photograph from a reasonably dark site in a 6 inch scope.

These observings lists are still a work in progress and it is my intent to create documents to support people who intend to photograph these objects.  Also, I would like to potentially recognize anybody who successfully photographs all the objects in the list in our club because that could be really fun!

Below, I have detailed the objects on each of the 3 rough drafts of the lists.  Also I have the beginnings of the document for the intermediate list in PDF form, but right now the document is very large.  Please right click here and from the contextual menu, download the PDF rather than just opening it in your browser.  Then you can open the PDF.


Rob Lancaster


Large Object Photo List

  ID Name
1 None Milky Way Galaxy Center in Sagittarius
2 None Milky Way Galaxy Region in Cygnus
3 NGC7822 None?
4 Sh2-171 None?
5 M31 Andromeda Galaxy, NGC224, UGC454
6 M33 Triangulum Galaxy, Pinwheel Galaxy, NGC598
7 NGC598 Pinwheel Galaxy
8 IC1805 Heart Nebula
9 IC1848 Soul Nebula
10 M45 Pleiades, Seven Sisters, IC 353
11 Sh2-205 None?
12 NGC1499 California Nebula
13 IC2118 Witch Head Nebula
14 Sh2-276 Barnard's Loop
15 M42 Great Orion Nebula, NGC1976
16 NGC1977 Running Man
17 IC434 Nebula behind Horsehead
18 Sh2-240 Spaghetti Nebula, Simeis 147
19 NGC2237 Rosette Nebula, NGC2239, C49
20 NGC2264 Christmas Tree Cluster
21 IC2177 Seagull Nebula
22 Sh2-1 None?
23 IC4592 Blue Horsehead Reflection Nebula
24 IC4604 Rho Ophiuchi Complex, IC 4606
25 M8 Lagoon Nebula, Dragon Nebula, NGC6523
26 IC1318 Sadr Region
27 NGC6960 Veil Nebula West, Cirrus Nebula
28 IC5067 Pelican Nebula, IC 5070
29 NGC6992 Veil Nebula East, Cirrus Nebula
30 NGC7000 North American Nebula
31 Sh2-129 None?
32 IC1396 Elephant Trunk
33 Sh2-155 Cave Nebula
34 Sh2-157 Lobster Claw Nebula

Smaller Object Photo List

  ID Name
1 NGC7822 None?
2 NGC247 None?
3 NGC253 Sculptor Galaxy
4 NGC 281 Pacman Nebula
5 IC63 Gamma Cassiopeiae Nebula
6 Sh2-187 None?
7 M33 Triangulum Galaxy, Pinwheel Galaxy, NGC598
8 M74 The Phantom, NGC628
9 NGC 772 Nautilus Galaxy
10 NGC891 Outer Limits Galaxy, C23
11 IC1795 Fishhead Nebula
12 NGC 925 None?
13 M77 Cetus A, NGC1068
14 IC342 C5
15 NGC1491 I-258
16 NGC1579 Trifid of the North
17 IC405 Flaming Star Nebula
18 VdB37 None?
19 Sh2-278 None?
20 IC410 Tadpoles Nebula
21 IC417 Spider Nebula
22 M1 Crab Nebula, Taurus A, NGC1952
23 NGC 1977 Running Man Nebula,NGC1977
24 M42 Great Orion Nebula, Orion A, NGC1976
25 M43 De Mairan's Nebula (Orion Nebula Extension), NGC1982
26 NGC1999 None?
27 VdB51 None?
28 IC 434 Horsehead Nebula background
29 Sh2-235 None?
30 NGC2023 None?
31 NGC2024 Flame Nebula
32 M78 NGC2068
33 NGC2170 The Angel Nebula
34 Sh2-261 Lower's nebula, Sh2261
35 NGC2174 Monkey Head Nebula
36 Sh2-254 None?
37 IC2162 None?
38 ic443 JellyFish Nebula
39 NGC 2264 Christmas Tree Cluster/cone Nebula,NGC2264
40 NGC2327 Head of the Seagull Nebula
41 Sh2-292 Eye of the Seagull
42 VdB94 None?
43 NGC2359 Duck Nebula
44 Sh2-274 Medusa Nebula
45 Sh2-302 None?
46 NGC2403 C7
47 Sh2-311 None?
48 NGC2903 None?
49 M81 Bode's Galaxy, NGC3031
50 M82 Cigar Galaxy, Ursa Major A, NGC3034
51 NGC3109 None?
52 HCG44 Arp316
53 NGC3184 None?
54 IC2574 Coddington's Nebula
55 M95 NGC3351, Leo 1 group
56 M96 NGC3368, Leo 1 group
57 NGC3521 Bubble Galaxy
58 M108 NGC3556
59 M65 Leo Triplet, NGC3623, UGC6328,Leo Triplet [1]
60 M66 Leo Triplet, NGC3627, UGC6346,Leo Triplet [2]
61 NGC3628 Leo Triplet [3]
62 NGC 3718 UGC6524,NGC3718
63 M109 NGC3992, UGC6937
64 NGC4038 Arp244,Antennae Galaxy [1]
65 NGC4039 Arp244,Antennae Galaxy [2]
66 M98 NGC4192
67 NGC4236 None?
68 NGC4244 Silver Needle Galaxy, c26
69 M99 Virgo Cluster Pinwheel/Coma Pinwheel Galaxy, NGC4254
70 M106 NGC4258
71 M61 Swelling Spiral, NGC4303
72 M100 Mirror of M99, NGC4321
73 m84 NGC4374
74 NGC4395 None?
75 m86 NGC4406
76 eyes Eyes Galaxy, NGC4435
77 eyes Eyes Galaxy, NGC4438
78 M88 NGC4501
79 NGC4517 Reinmuth 80
80 M91 Missing Messier Object, NGC4548
81 NGC4559 None?
82 NGC4565 Needle Galaxy
83 M90 NGC4569
84 M58 NGC4579
85 M104 Sombrero Galaxy, NGC4594
86 NGC4631 Herring Galaxy (Nebula),Whale Galaxy
87 NGC4656 Crowbar Galaxy
88 NGC4725 None?
89 M94 Croc's Eye Galaxy, NGC4736
90 M64 Black Eye Galaxy, Sleeping Beauty Galaxy, NGC4826
91 Abell1656 Coma Cluster of Galaxies
92 NGC5033 None?
93 M63 Sunflower Galaxy, NGC5055
94 M51 Whirlpool Galaxy, Question Mark Galaxy, NGC5194
95 M83 Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, NGC5236
96 M101 Pinwheel Galaxy, NGC5457
97 NGC5560 Arp286
98 NGC5566 Arp286
99 NGC5569 Arp286
100 M102 Spindle Galaxy (duplicate of M101?), NGC5866
101 NGC5907 Splinter Galaxy
102 NGC5982 Draco Trio
103 Abell2151 Hercules Cluster of Galaxies
104 IC4601 None?
105 VdB104 None?
106 VdB105 None?
107 IC4604 Rho Ophiuchi Complex
108 M20 Trifid Nebula, The Clover, NGC6514
109 IC4685 None?
110 M16 Eagle Nebula, NGC6611
111 M17 Omega Nebula, Swan Nebula, NGC6618
112 Sh2-53 None?
113 NGC6820 Sh2-86
114 NGC6822 Barnard's Galaxy
115 Sh2-88 None?
116 M27 Dumbbell Nebula, Apple Core, NGC6853
117 Sh2-101 Tulip Nebula
118 NGC6888 Crescent Nebula
119 NGC6914 None?
120 Sh2-112 None?
121 Sh2-115 None?
122 NGC6946 Fireworks Galaxy
123 NGC6960 Veil Nebula West, Witch's Broom, C34,Cirrus Nebula [1]
124 VdB137 BD+46 0311, HD199478
125 IC1340 Veil Nebula East, Cirrus Nebula [2]
126 NGC6992 Veil Nebula East, Cirrus Nebula [2]
127 NGC6995 Veil Nebula East, Cirrus Nebula [3]
128 NGC7023 Iris Nebula, C4
129 C19 Cocoon Nebula, IC5146
130 ced201 Wolfs cave, ced201
131 Sh2-140 Sh2140
132 Sh2-135 Sh2135
133 NGC7293 Helix Nebula
134 NGC7331 Deer Lick Group, C30
135 NGC 7380 Flying horse Nebula, NGC7380
136 C9 Cave Nebula, Sh2-155
137 NGC7538 None?
138 NGC7635 Bubble Nebula
139 NGC7640 None?


Super Small Object Observing List

  ID Name
1 ngc246 ngc246, Skull Nebula
2 ngc255 None?
3 M76 Little Dumbbell Nebula, NGC650
4 NGC 2392 Eskimo/clown Nebula,NGC2392
5 NGC3242 CBS Eye
6 M97 Owl Nebula, NGC3587
7 NGC 3729 Hickson 56
8 NGC4312 None?
9 Crescent Nebula Little Gem/crescent Nebula,NGC6445
10 NGC 6543 Cat's Eye Nebula,NGC6543
11 M57 Ring Nebula, NGC6720
12 NGC 7008 Fetus Nebula
13 NGC7320 Stephens Quintet
14 IC1470 None?
15 NGC 7662 Blue Snowball Nebula,NGC7662


We have 45 guests and no members online

Search DAS Website

Login Form

© 2021  Delaware Astronomical Society Website