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The Caldwell Catalogue

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The Caldwell Catalogue was compiled by English astronomer, selenographer1 and TV presenter Sir Patrick Moore, the host of the BBC's The Sky At Night from its inception in 1957 until his death in 2012. His intention was to create a viewing list to challenge the 'backyard astronomer' – keen amateurs like himself.

Moore called his collection the Caldwell Catalogue to differentiate it from the one created by French astronomer Charles Messier. Moore's full name was Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore. Moore restricted himself to 109 entries to be consistent with Messier's list2, and did not include any of Messier's objects in his own catalogue. What makes Moore's catalogue different from Messier's is that Messier listed his by discovery, they're quite haphazard around the Northern Hemisphere sky (he was viewing from France). Moore's catalogue is (mostly3) ordered by declination, with C1 at +85° in the Northern Hemisphere and C109 at −81° in the Southern Hemisphere. His choices span 51 of the 88 internationally recognised constellations.

The Caldwell Catalogue includes star clusters and nebulae in our own galaxy the Milky Way, and other galaxies many millions of light years4 distant. Some of the planetary nebulae5 included in the Caldwell Catalogue are quite spectacular and provide a fitting swansong for a dying star. They are particularly interesting because this will be the fate of our own Sun when it has used up all of its hydrogen, swelled to a red giant and finally explodes to leave a white dwarf surrounded by gas (the planetary nebula). This isn't something we personally should worry about as the Earth will be swallowed up by the expansion of the Sun and that won't happen for a few billion years yet.

All of the following appear in the Caldwell Catalogue:

Caldwell Catalogue Table

Caldwell Catalogue numberConstellationOther designationTypeBrightness (mag)Distance
(light years)
Common name or Remarks
Caldwell 1CepheusNGC 188Open star cluster+8.14,800less than 5° from
North Celestial Pole
Caldwell 2CepheusNGC 40Planetary nebula+11.63,500Bow-Tie Nebula
Caldwell 3DracoNGC 4236Galaxy+9.711.7mmember of M81 group
Caldwell 4CepheusNGC 7023Reflection nebula+6.81,300Iris Nebula
Caldwell 5CamelopardalisIC 342Galaxy+9.110mdiscovered in 1895 by
William Frederick Denning
Caldwell 6DracoNGC 6543Planetary nebula+8.13,300Cat's Eye Nebula
Caldwell 7CamelopardalisNGC 2403Galaxy+8.98msupernova SN2004dj
observed here
Caldwell 8CassiopeiaNGC 559Open cluster+9.53,700discovered in 1787 by
Sir William Herschel
Caldwell 9CepheusSh2-155Emission nebula+7.72,400Cave Nebula
Caldwell 10CassiopeiaNGC 663Open cluster+7.16,850approx 400 stars
Caldwell 11CassiopeiaNGC 7635Emission nebula+107,100Bubble Nebula
Caldwell 12CepheusNGC 6946CW spiral galaxy+9.710mFireworks Galaxy
Caldwell 13CassiopeiaNGC 457Open cluster+6.47,900Owl Cluster
Caldwell 14PerseusNGC 869 and NGC 884Two open clusters+3.87,500double cluster
Caldwell 15CygnusNGC 6826Planetary nebula+8.82,000has FLIERs6
Caldwell 16LacertaNGC 7243Open cluster+6.42,800150-200 stars
Caldwell 17CassiopeiaNGC 147Dwarf spheroidal galaxy+102.5msatellite of M31
(The Andromeda Galaxy)
Caldwell 18CassiopeiaNGC 185Dwarf spheroidal galaxy+102msatellite of M31
Caldwell 19CygnusIC 5146Reflection nebula+7.23,300Cocoon Nebula
Caldwell 20CygnusNGC 7000Emission nebula+41,600North American Nebula
Caldwell 21Canes VenaticiNGC 4449Irregular galaxy+9.412mcosmic trainwreck
Caldwell 22AndromedaNGC 7662Planetary nebula+8.65,600Blue Snowball Nebula
Caldwell 23AndromedaNGC 891Spiral galaxy+1027medge-on
Caldwell 24PerseusNGC 1275Seyfert galaxy+12237mPerseus A
Caldwell 25LynxNGC 2419Globular cluster+9275,000The Intergalactic Wanderer
Caldwell 26Canes VenaticiNGC 4244Spiral galaxy+1014medge-on
Caldwell 27CygnusNGC 6888Emission nebula+7.45,000Crescent Nebula
Caldwell 28AndromedaNGC 752Open cluster+5.71,300discovered by
Giovanni Batista Hodierna
pre-1654
Caldwell 29Canes VenaticiNGC 5005Spiral galaxy+1065mcompanion galaxy to
spiral galaxy NGC 5033
Caldwell 30PegasusNGC 7331Spiral galaxy+1040mretrograde galactic bulge
Caldwell 31AurigaIC 405Emission nebula+61,500Flaming Star Nebula
Caldwell 32Canes VenaticiNGC 4631Spiral galaxy+1030mWhale Galaxy
Caldwell 33CygnusNGC 6992Supernova remnant+71,470Eastern Veil
Caldwell 34CygnusNGC 6960Supernova remnant+71,470Western Veil (Witch's Broom)
Caldwell 35Coma BerenicesNGC 4889Elliptical galaxy+1393mComa A
Caldwell 36Coma BerenicesNGC 4559Spiral galaxy+1030msupernova SN1941A
observed here
Caldwell 37VulpeculaNGC 6885Open cluster+61,950about 80 stars
Caldwell 38Coma BerenicesNGC 4565Spiral galaxy+1042mNeedle Galaxy
Caldwell 39GeminiNGC 2392Planetary nebula+102,870Eskimo Nebula
Caldwell 40LeoNGC 3626Spiral galaxy+1070mdiscovered in 1784
by Sir William Herschel
Caldwell 41TaurusThe Hyades ClusterOpen cluster+0.5150closest open cluster to our Solar System
Caldwell 42DelphinusNGC 7006Globular cluster+10135,000discovered in August 1784
by Sir William Herschel
Caldwell 43PegasusNGC 7814Spiral galaxy+1140mLittle Sombrero
Caldwell 44PegasusNGC 7479Barred spiral galaxy+11105msupernovae SN 1990U
Caldwell 45BoötesNGC 5248Spiral galaxy+1159mintermediate7
Caldwell 46MonocerosNGC 2261Reflection nebula+92,500Hubble's Variable Nebula
Caldwell 47DelphinusNGC 6934Globular cluster+8.852,000discovered in 1785 by
Sir William Herschel
Caldwell 48CancerNGC 2775Spiral galaxy+1152msupernova 1993Z
Caldwell 49MonocerosNGC 2237-9Bright nebula+95,200Rosette Nebula
Caldwell 50MonocerosNGC 2244Open cluster+4.85,200part of the Rosette Nebula
Caldwell 51CetusIC 1613Irregular dwarf galaxy+9.92.4mapproaching the Milky Way
Caldwell 52VirgoNGC 4697Elliptical galaxy+1045mdiscovered in 1784 by
Sir William Herschel
Caldwell 53SextansNGC 3115Lenticular galaxy+1032mSpindle Galaxy
Caldwell 54MonocerosNGC 2506Open cluster+7.611,300discovered in 1791 by
Sir William Herschel
Caldwell 55AquariusNGC 7009Planetary nebula+82,000Saturn Nebula
Caldwell 56CetusNGC 246Planetary nebula+81,600Skull Nebula
Caldwell 57SagittariusNGC 6822Irregular galaxy+9.31.6mBarnard's Galaxy
Caldwell 58Canis MajorNGC 2360Open cluster+7.23,700Caroline's Cluster
Caldwell 59HydraNGC 3242Planetary nebula+8.61,400Ghost of Jupiter
Caldwell 60CorvusNGC 4038Spiral galaxy+1150mmerging with NGC 4039
Caldwell 61CorvusNGC 4039Colliding galaxy+1150mAntennae Galaxies
Caldwell 62CetusNGC 247Spiral galaxy+1011mintermediate
Caldwell 63AquariusNGC 7293Planetary nebula+7.6700Helix Nebula
Caldwell 64Canis MajorNGC 2362Open cluster+4.14,800Tau Canis Majoris Cluster
Caldwell 65SculptorNGC 253Spiral galaxy+811.4mSculptor Galaxy
Caldwell 66HydraNGC 5694Globular cluster+10.2105,000possibly the oldest globular cluster in the Milky Way
Caldwell 67FornaxNGC 1097Barred spiral galaxy+10.245mseyfert galaxy
Caldwell 68Corona AustralisNGC 6729Reflection/Emission nebula+9.7424R Coronae Australis Nebula
Caldwell 69ScorpiusNGC 6302Bipolar planetary nebula+74,000Butterfly Nebula
Caldwell 70SculptorNGC 300Spiral galaxy+96minclined at 42° (from Earth's vantage point)
Caldwell 71PuppisNGC 2477Open cluster+5.83,600discovered in 1751 by
Nicolas Louis de la Caille
Caldwell 72SculptorNGC 55Irregular galaxy+7.96mone of the closest to the Local Group of galaxies
Caldwell 73ColumbaNGC 1851Globular Cluster+7.240,000discovered in May 1826
by James Dunlop
Caldwell 74VelaNGC 3132Planetary nebula+9.92,000Southern Ring Nebula
Caldwell 75ScorpiusNGC 6124Open cluster+5.818,600+125 stars
Caldwell 76ScorpiusNGC 6231Open cluster+2.65,900Northern Jewel Box Cluster
Caldwell 77CentaurusNGC 5128Peculiar galaxy/post merger+6.811mCentaurus A
Caldwell 78Corona AustralisNGC 6541Globular cluster+6.322,800discovered in March 1826
by Nicolò Cacciatore
Caldwell 79VelaNGC 3201Globular cluster+8.216,300discovered in May 1826
by James Dunlop
Caldwell 80CentaurusNGC 5139Globular cluster+3.716,000Omega Centauri8
Caldwell 81AraNGC 6352Globular cluster+818,000discovered in May 1826
by James Dunlop
Caldwell 82AraNGC 6193Open cluster+5.23,765associated with emission nebula NGC 6188
Caldwell 83CentaurusNGC 4945Spiral galaxy+9.311.7mseyfert galaxy
Caldwell 84CentaurusNGC 5286Globular cluster+7.636,000possibly 12.5 billion years old
Caldwell 85VelaIC 2391Open cluster+2.5570Omicron Velorum Cluster
Caldwell 86AraNGC 6397Globular cluster+6.77,200approximately 400,000 stars
Caldwell 87HorologiumNGC 1261Globular cluster+8.353,500over 10 billion years old
Caldwell 88CircinusNGC 5823Open cluster+7.93,890extends into Lupus
Caldwell 89NormaNGC 6087Open cluster+5.43,500includes Cepheid variable
S Normae
Caldwell 90CarinaNGC 2867Planetary nebula+107,267discovered on 1 April, 1834
by John Herschel
Caldwell 91CarinaNGC 3532Open cluster+71,320Wishing Well Cluster
Caldwell 92CarinaNGC 3372Emission nebula+17,500Great Carina Nebula
Caldwell 93PavoNGC 6752Globular cluster+5.413,000over 100,000 stars
Caldwell 94CruxNGC 4755Open cluster+4.26,400Herschel's Jewel Box aka Kappa Crucis Cluster
Caldwell 95Triangulum AustraleNGC 6025Open cluster+52,700straddles the border with Norma
Caldwell 96CarinaNGC 2516Open cluster+3.81,300Sprinter Cluster
Caldwell 97CentaurusNGC 3766Open cluster+5.37,000Pearl Cluster
Caldwell 98CruxNGC 4609Open cluster+74,000curving line of 30 stars
discovered by James Dunlop
Caldwell 99CruxCoalsack NebulaDark nebulaNone9600forms the head of the Emu
in the Aboriginal constellation
'Emu in the Sky'
Caldwell 100CentaurusIC 2944Open cluster and emission nebula+4.56,500Lambda Centauri Nebula
aka Running Chicken Nebula
Caldwell 101PavoNGC 6744Barred spiral galaxy+930ma satellite galaxy (NGC 6744A)
is disrupting its outer arm
Caldwell 102CarinaIC 2602Open cluster+1.9479Theta Carinae Cluster
aka Southern Pleiades
Caldwell 103DoradoNGC 2070Emission nebula+8160,000Tarantula Nebula
aka 30 Doradus10
Caldwell 104TucanaNGC 362Globular cluster+6.427,700located on the northern edge
of satellite galaxy the SMC
(Small Magellanic Cloud)
Caldwell 105MuscaNGC 4833Globular cluster+7.320,000radius of 42 light years
Caldwell 106TucanaNGC 104Globular cluster+513,70047 Tucanae
Caldwell 107ApusNGC 6101Globular cluster+950,000contains an unusual amount
of RR Lyrae-types11
Caldwell 108MuscaNGC 4372Globular cluster+7.820,000close12 to the
Dark Doodad Nebula
Caldwell 109ChamaeleonNGC 3195Planetary nebula+115,500most southerly Caldwell object

Messier Marathon vs Caldwell Chase

There exists among amateur astronomers (and, no doubt, some professional ones) a challenge called the 'Messier Marathon', wherein one chooses a specific location on a particularly clear night to attempt to chalk up each of Messier's 109 'non-comets'. It is possible to do but no doubt quite stressful, as the weather can change quite rapidly and spoil the whole event. It's not possible to attempt a 'Caldwell Chase' to collect all of Moore's astronomy gems in one night unless one owns, or has access to, a private jet. An attempt to bag them all would be much better spread, say, over a few weeks to coincide with a holiday in the opposite hemisphere of the planet to where you usually reside. An idea for the Bucket List then.

1From 'Selene', the Greek goddess of the moon, selenography is the study of the surface features of the Earth's moon.2Messier listed 110 entries but one was later discovered to be duplicated, so it was discounted. The subsequent catalogue numbers were not adjusted so there is still a Messier 110.3Caldwell 26 and 27 are transposed.4A light year is the distance light travels in one year, roughly 5.88 trillion miles or 9.46 trillion km.5Planetary nebulae resemble giant planets if you look at them through a 'backyard' optical telescope, but are in fact shells of glowing plasma and gas left by a dying star.6Fast Low-Ionization Emission Regions.7A galaxy classified as being between a barred spiral and an unbarred spiral.8Omega Centauri was first recorded in Ptolemy's Almagest and, much later, Johann Bayer catalogued it in his Uranometria as a star. Edmond Halley correctly identified it as a globular star cluster in 1677, but the original tag was never removed.9It's a dark, almost black cloud of gas which obscures the light of the stars which it covers like a blanket. However, it does give off a dim glow due to reflected starlight from the surrounding stars.1030 Doradus is a star designation, which is what this object was originally catalogued. Nicolas Louis de la Caille reclassified it as a nebula in December 1751, but, like Omega Centauri, the original incorrect label remains in place.11RR Lyrae is the prototype of certain types of variable stars. The discovery of RR Lyrae's variable nature is accredited to Scottish astronomer Williamina Fleming.12Purely line-of-sight from our vantage point, as the Dark Doodad Nebula is only 700 light years away from Earth.

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