I know the name Dunlop mainly from a double star perspective as they are tagged DUN (number). I wasn't aware of just how broad Dunlop's contributions were until you started posting about it a while back. Thanks for the database and the interesting research and historical attachments.
I also agree that Herschel's criticisms were too broad and overly harsh. Dunlop should get the recognition he deserves.
The observations he made from Parramatta are not known well enough and you are to be congratulated on educating us on the beginnings of Australian astronomy and its important contributions globally.
The Excel file in Projects and Articles contains 6 pages including a rough map showing Dunlop's 150 objects.
There are several reasons to look at Dunlop's clusters, nebulae and galaxies.
1. He was the first to make a catalogue of southern galaxies.
2. He was the first to catalogue the objects in the Magellanic Clouds.
3. His catalogue was remarkably complete, most of the best southern objects are in it.
4. This catalogue is an Australian catalogue.
5. All of the objects can be seen with a 6" telescope if you have good eyes and wait till they are high in the sky.
John Herschel and his friends were highly critical of Dunlop.
Dunlop was lower class, not well educated and poor. Herschel was upper class, well educated and rich.
I am amazed by Dunlop's ability to find faint galaxies.
Thanks Patrick, Geoff and Mike.
A couple of years back I made an All Sky Messier Catalogue using the same magnitude limits as the Messier catalogue.
There were 365 objects in the ASMC. Most of them were found by 6 people.
William Herschel found 126, James Dunlop 50, Charles Messier 40, Pierre Mechain 26, John Herschel 20 and Nicolas Lacaille 19 of the 365 DSO.
I would like to see Dunlop get the recognition he deserves.
John Herschel was disappointed because he thought “the cream of the southern hemisphere had already been skimmed” by Dunlop.
Your involvement with researching Dunlop, which I've read over a couple of times too, and now this article has given me a thought on a project for me to undertake:
To sketch the 150 Dunlop objects.
If Dunlop spoted these with a modern equivalent of a 6" reflector, these targets should be a neat undertaking. Your photo catalogue shows them nicely, but a sketched catalogue would give another dimension to this austral astronomy pioneer.
Most of these would be quite easily gettable from urban areas too, though detail would be reduced in the big smoke. Some others are very much for dark skies only.
The NGC number listing makes it an easier planning mechanism too.
I wonder how long this will take me? Just out of sheer chance, I've got at least seven at the moment. I'll let you know how I'm going.
Also, some of these targets overlap with the LMC & SMC project that Paddy's got going too. Kill two birds with one stone, .
Last edited by mental4astro; 07-09-2011 at 11:00 AM.
Bad weather lately has reduced the observing time considerably (and the moon last night and tonight too I think).
I did manage to view NGC 7049 back on August 3rd when it was low to the horizon. Considering I am in town and the sky position was not ideal, it should be much easier now it is higher up. It wasn't the easiest when it was low and soaked in light pollution!
James Dunlop always looked at objects when they transited at their highest point in the sky and he had good eyes, he was only 32 years old. He used to sweep back and forth along the meridian and recorded the time, a description and the south polar distance when he found something. He also had to climb up and down a ladder because his 9 inch speculum mirrored scope was 9 foot long. He used candles for lighting, there were no red LEDS in 1826!
I started astronomy early with a Star Atlas, a 50mm refractor and a logbook back in 1985. I carefully recorded everything I saw and had a field day when I went to various astro society viewing nights... and 26 years later I am still in my 30s!! (just...)
Glen, I laugh every time I see the time at which you post! You must be semi-retired or are very tired at work!!