Saguaro Astronomy Club's

110 Best of the NGC

By Paul Dickson

110 Best NGC Cover Page

     For more than six years, the Saguaro Astronomy Club (SAC) has maintained an observing list called the 110 Best of the NGC.   This list is a derivative of the work found in the RASC Observer's Handbook, with brighter - although more southerly - objects added to the list.

     Over the course of 18 months I made many finder charts to help me locate each object, but I had to discard the first two generations due to their not being very helpful.   On the third iteration I hit a useful design.   So useful, I decided to add the fifteen objects I had already observed to complete the book.   After soliciting comments from local observers, I had a nice book.

     I figured that that since this was a SAC observing list, there would not be much demand outside of our club.   Past events have proved to me that this isn't the case.   I've approached four other Arizona clubs in the first six months of selling the book.   More than 70% of the books sold were to those clubs.   And they're still buying.

     SAC's 110 Best of the NGC is an 124-page, three-hole drill, book.   It is loose-leaf so more paper can be added or pages removed for an observing session.   The objects are sorted numerically within each constellation.   Each constellation has a chart for locating the position of each object and the each object is presented in a chart 6° on a side with stars down to magnitude 9.   For each object the U2000 and Tirion charts numbers and the NGC descriptions are given.   Also given are referencing page numbers from Burnham's Celestial HandbookObserving Handbook and Catalogue of Deep-Sky Objects,  and the Deep Space CCD Atlas.

     The sky-maps in this book were generated using David Chandler's Deep Space program.

Here are three sample pages from the book:

The Constellation Andromeda

     The book is separated alphabetically by constellations.   This allows for easy grouping of objects based upon what's up.   When you want to observe in Orion, you can leave Scorpius in the notebook.   If your notes for other objects are grouped by constellation, you can add them to this book or you can add the book to your notes.

     At the beginning of each constellation is a chart with Telrad circles for each object.   A few objects share a Telrad circle when they are very close together.   The stars are plotted down to magnitude 6.5.

     The Messier objects and other objects from this list are plotted for other constellations, but Telrad circles aren't given for them.
Some Objects in Aquarius

     Within each constellation, the objects are listed in numerical order.   Each object has a finder chart, plus a little information from the SAC Deep-Sky Database.

     There are page numbers given to other references, such as Uranometria and Tirion if you need further help locating an object. Also given are references found in Observing Handbook and Catalogue of Deep-Sky for a visual description of the object, Burnham's Celestial Handbook for information about the object, and the Deep Space CCD Atlas for an image that compares well with what you will see visually.

     There is space available for the user to log personal notes about the object while observing.   At the beginning of the book is space for writing information about the observing session.
An Index Page

     The last sample page is the first page of the index. The index lists all the names of the objects alphabetically and gives the page number where they can be found.

     The cover and three sample pages from above (compressed onto one page), along with an order form, are available as a Postscript File from:

     The book is $5 (US) if you want to pick it up at a club meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.   If you want it mailed, shipping and handling is $4 for the first copy, $2 for each additional copy.   Make checks payable - for this book only - to:  SAC

     For orders of 5 books or more, shipping and handling is a flat $2 for each book.

     If you are outside North America, please contact me via E-mail before sending any money, so I can figure the shipping.

     Twenty copies of the book were sold at Stellafane.   Later that night, I'm told that there were a lot of positive comments overheard about the book.   Thank you to those of you who bought copies.

     All money raised from the sell of this book will go to the Saguaro Astronomy Club and not to me.

     I hope I've covered everthing, if I haven't or if you have further questions, feel free to send me E-mail.

	-Paul Dickson
	 Saguaro Astronomy Club Newsletter Editor

	 Paul Dickson
	 7714 N 36th Ave
	 Phoenix, AZ 85051-6401

For anyone interested, here is the list of objects: SAC's 110 Best of the NGC

Last Updated: December 13, 1996.