James Dunlop's Historical Catalogue of Southern Nebulae and Clusters
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I n 1826 James Dunlop compiled the second ever catalogue of southern star clusters, nebulae and galaxies from Parramatta (NSW, Australia) using a 23-cm reflecting telescope. Initially acclaimed, the catalogue and author were later criticised and condemned by others—including Sir John Herschel— and both the catalogue and author are now largely unknown. The criticism of the catalogue centred on the large number of fictitious or ’missing‘ objects, yet detailed analysis reveals the remarkable completeness of the catalogue, despite its inherent errors. We believe that James Dunlop was an important early Australian astronomer, and his catalogue should be esteemed as the southern equivalent of Messier’s famous northern catalogue.
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