Reference numberMS/272
Previous numbersMS 272, MS 273, MS 274, MS 275, MS 276, MS 277, MS 278
TitleNebulae sweep books of William Herschel
CreatorHerschel; Sir; William (1738-1822); astronomer; musician
DescriptionRecords of astronomical sweeps of the night sky, noting nebulae, stars and other objects.

The volumes in this series progress from being relatively basic observational records, to more detailed and consistent works as Herschel's level of experience as an astronomer increases during the period of these observations. Later volumes have a greater level of complexity as scientific records, in addition to containing occasional comments on equipment, observational techniques, visitors and other matters.

The data contained within these volumes informed the Registers of nebulae and was ultimately used in Herschel's series of Royal Society papers on nebulae, including the following.

Observations for 1783-1785: 'Catalogue of one thousand new nebulae and clusters of stars' by William Herschel, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, v.76 (1786) pp.457-499.
Observations for 1785-1788: 'Catalogue of a second thousand of new nebulae and clusters of stars; with a few introductory remarks on the construction of the heavens' by William Herschel, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, v.79 (1789) pp.212-255.
Observations for 1788-1799: 'Catalogue of 500 new nebulae, nebulous stars, planetary nebulae,and clusters of stars; with remarks on the construction of the heavens', by William Herschel, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, v.92 (1802) pp.477-528.

This set of documents is referred to in Sir John Herschel's explanation of Herschel family manuscripts on nebulae. See pp.6-7 of 'Catalogue of nebulae and clusters of stars', by John Frederick William Herschel, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, v.154 (1864) pp.1-137. 'In presenting to the Royal Society this Catalogue, it will be accompanied by the following series of records and documents...7th. The original sweeps with the 20-feet Reflector at Slough in which the nebulae were observed, contained in three small quarto and four folio volumes of MS.'
Extent7 volumes
Physical descriptionOn paper, bound in pasteboard covers.
Digital imagesView item on Science in the Making
Access statusOpen
Related materialDOI: 10.1098/rspl.1800.0060
DOI: 10.1098/rstl.1786.0027
DOI: 10.1098/rstl.1802.0021
DOI: 10.1098/rstl.1789.0021
Related records in the catalogueMS/583/29
Fellows associated with this archive
NA8060Herschel; Sir; William (1738 - 1822); astronomer1738 - 1822
NA8238Herschel; Sir; John Frederick William (1792 - 1871); astronomer1792 - 1871
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