Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 24

Catalog Celebration

SUPERNOVA REMNANT While you're in Cygnus, examine the
area southwest of a line connecting Epsilon and Zeta Cygni for a
supernova remnant, C33 and C34, the eastern and western parts
of the Veil Nebula (NGC 6992/5 and NGC 6960, respectively).
Dark skies, low magnification, and good dark adaptation will all
help to bring these vast arcs of exploded star-stuff into view.

C33

C34

The Caldwells: A Personal Quest
Going after the Caldwells has pushed me to become a better
observer. To this day I've never seen the notoriously dim Cave
Nebula (Sharpless 2-155, C9), but searching for it sent me
farther into the deserts of southern California and western
Arizona. Under those inky-dark skies I was able to make out
the Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635, C11) and the dwarf galaxy IC
1613 (C51), which even O'Meara - one of the most skilled
visual observers of our time - considers to be challenging
objects. I learned to be zealous about dark adaptation, to
observe objects when they culminate, to optimize averted
vision, and to breathe deeply before attempting a difficult
detection. All these skills paid off when I started work on the
Herschel 400 and other deep-sky observing lists.
From my regular observing site on the shore of the Salton
Sea, Omega Centauri (C80) is naked-eye visible - barely -
and it's the most southerly Caldwell I've seen from California. There are 29 more at or below my horizon. I got a crack
at the remaining southern Caldwells in the summer of 2010,
when I attended a scientific conference in Punta del Este,
Uruguay. At night I'd go down to the beach with binoculars
and a tiny travel telescope, and cruise the skies, which were
deliciously dark and clear. Despite my modest instruments
I was able to log 91 southern celestial gems, including 23
Caldwell objects. That trip pushed my Caldwell tally over
70 - enough to qualify for the Astronomical League's silver
award for the Caldwell program.
Why am I telling you all this? Because my story is about to
intersect with Moore's. When I
returned from Uruguay I dutifully sent my observing log to
Susan Rose, coordinator for the
AL's Caldwell Observing Program.
Shortly thereafter, Rose embarked
on her annual pilgrimage to
Moore's home in Selsey, on the
south coast of England, bearing the Caldwell program logs.
A month later I got a wonderful
surprise in the mail: my Caldwell
pCOUNTING CALDWELLS
program certificate and a letter
Every year, the Astronomical
of congratulations, both signed
League's Susan Rose would
by Moore himself. The certificate,
bring a batch of observing
the letter, and the photo (at right) logs to Moore at his home in
are among my most treasured
England. If the observer tallied the requisite 70 objects,
mementos to this day.

Legacy - the Caldwells
Today
In his later life, Moore always
seemed both pleased and humbled that his list had caught
on. For as long as he was physically able, he enjoyed personally
reviewing the observing logs of
24

DECEMBER 2 02 0 * SK Y & TELESCOPE

they'd earn a silver award;
the full list of 109 would
garner them the gold award.
Moore enjoyed the interaction with amateurs chasing
"his" targets. In this photo,
Moore is reviewing Matt
Wedel's observing notes, and
ascertained that Wedel had
indeed observed at least 70
Caldwell targets.

C33 & C34: MDW SK Y SURV E Y; COUN TING CA LDWELLS: SUSA N ROSE

Could much of the criticism of the Caldwell Catalog
stem from a misunderstanding about its purpose? It's not
supposed to be a list of the 109 best and brightest deepsky objects beyond the Messiers, nor the 109 easiest, and
Moore never claimed otherwise. Instead, he wrote that
". . . there are many other objects of equal or greater interest"
(emphasis mine) than the Messiers, which in his opinion
hadn't received enough attention from amateur astronomers, including some challenging ones. Among them are the
Milky Way's largest and brightest globular clusters Omega
Centauri (C80) and 47 Tucanae (C106), colliding galaxies
NGC 4038 and 4039 (C60 and C61), a vast, dark molecular
cloud called the Coalsack (C99), not to mention variable
nebulae, open clusters, supernova remnants, dwarf galaxies,
and more planetary nebulae than you can shake a horizontal branch at.



Sky & Telescope - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - December 2020

Contents
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Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 1
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - Contents
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 3
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