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The Texas Star Party – Advanced Observing Program – 2022
Observing the Index Catalogue

By Larry Mitchell – Houston, Texas


The TSP Advanced Observing Program was initiated to educate and challenge observers to locate and observe those objects they might have considered too difficult, if not impossible, to find beforehand. With a small degree of confidence and patience along with good optics, almost anything is possible.

The Texas Star Party – Advanced Observing Program – 2022
Observing the Index Catalogue
This year, 2022 gets us back under the stars at night – FINALLY- which will be especially nice as we have missed the pristine west Texas night sky and the comradery for the last two years. The West Texas transparent skies, the altitude and the extremely low humidity provide telescope views that rival any place on Earth. The pleasure of visiting with seldom seen, like-minded friends is equally as gratifying as the night sky. Those of us who have attended TSP for many years have really missed this place, and for those of you attending for the first time you are in for a real treat.
This years Advanced Observing Program is based upon the objects listed in the Index Catalogues authored by Dr. John Lewis Emil Dreyer. These are objects Dreyer published in two separate catalogues which were mostly photographic discoveries that had not been listed in 1888 in the New General Catalogue, commonly known as the “NGC”. The first Index Catalogue contained objects discovered from 1888 to 1894 while the second catalogue covered 1895 to 1907 objects. Visually Dreyer thought these objects were too faint to be seen in most amateur telescopes, and he famously stated “Most of these objects are very faint and minute and not a few of those found with moderate sized instruments will probably turn out to be nothing but two or three very faint stars close together. The number of observers to whom this will be of use will naturally be a comparatively limited one”. Those of you who accept this challenge and successfully complete this year’s program will have proven Doctor Dreyer wrong.
With just a little extra effort an observer may be able to see ALL 40 of the 2022 objects. Observe when the target is high up in the sky and as close to its transit point as possible, as many of these objects are in the southern sky in Antlia and Centaurus. In planning your observations, note both the listed magnitudes and the object size, which will give an indication of the surface brightness of each object. As we visual observers know all too well, the only way to know for sure if something is visible, on that particular night and with those specific optics, is to LOOK for YOURSELF using the statistics only as a rough guide. Adopt the theory, that within reason anything may be seen, until you have visually proven otherwise, which may require more than one night of work. Everything worthwhile requires effort – the only thing you can achieve without it is failure.
Since last year’s TSP was a virtual event, with very little observational participation, those observers who wish to complete ALL of the Advanced Programs will have to complete the TSP 2021 listing “The Best of the Rest of the Advanced Observing Programs”. This was a continuation of the twentieth year of Advanced Visual Observing Programs of the Texas Star Party. This program highlighted 40 of some of the brighter and more interesting items that were listed in past years.
The Advanced Observing Program was initiated to educate and challenge observers to locate and observe those objects which they may have considered too difficult, if not impossible to find and/or see visually, beforehand. The goal is not to buy a bigger telescope – but to become successful with what you have. Too often observers stop at the “NGC Limit” and never try to locate objects that begin with names like Arakelian, Minkowski, Palomar, Sanduleak or IC. The listed objects are best located and observed by careful and precise star-hopping. It is imperative that the observer knows exactly where in the field to look once the field of view is located, especially if the item turns out to be truly “light challenging”. Trying to locate faint targets “somewhere in the field of view” frequently leads to failure. Knowing exactly where to look, using various magnifications and a combination of averted and direct vision along with a large helping of patience – often leads to success. Give the sky a chance and it will come to you. The standard observing rule is if you think you see the object at least three times, then you probably Really Did See It, so log it and proceed to the next object.
I also have a good supply of 20-year special Advanced Observer T-shirts which are reserved for the ‘Very Best-of-the Best’ – Those of you who have received a pin for every year of the advanced programs existence. This will include the 2021 listing. With patience and good sky conditions this list is well within the range of all observers who desire a –
TSP Advanced Observing Pin – From The One and The Only – The TEXAS STAR PARTY.
1. Any telescope may be used or any combination of telescopes.
2. Location by Star Hopping is Preferred – The only way to know where an object is in the heavens is to go and find it.
“Star Hop and be Educated”. Maybe next time you can locate it without a chart, from memory – Always the Best Way.
3. An Advanced Observing Pin will be awarded to those who observe any 20 of the listed objects during TSP.
4. Observation programs from previous years may be completed at TSP for appropriate pins.
5. Observations may be turned in to Larry Mitchell anytime during the Star Party.
As astronomers, we are privileged to view with our own eyes massive, extremely far-away places that most people do not know even exists. I hope you enjoy this challenge as much as I have in presenting it and that it gives you a new sense of Enjoyment and Confidence in your Abilities to Successfully View – With Your Own Eyes
Natures Grandest Arena – Our Magnificent Universe.

Larry Mitchell : Chairman – TSP Advanced Observing Program – 2022

As astronomers, we are very privileged to get to view far-away, massive fascinating objects that most people do not know even exists. With patience and good sky conditions this relatively easy list is certainly well within the range of all observers, beginner or advanced, with small or large telescopes.

I hope you enjoy this challenge as much as I have and that it gives you a new sense of enjoyment and confidence in your abilities to successfully view with your own eyes – Our Magnificent Universe.
– With Your Own Eyes

A Special Thank-You to Steve and Amelia Goldberg.


The Texas Star Party – Advanced Observing Program – 2022
Observing the Index Catalogue

This year’s observing list   (Adobe Acrobat(PDF) version).

TSP_2022_A_List PDF

TSP_2022_A_List MS Word Docx

And you can download this ZIP file containing this year’s program TSP 2022,in SkyTools(STX) format.</span



Check out our Observing Program archives for previous year lists!