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Deep Sky Observer's Companion – the online database


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Full database:

Entire DOCdb database of 18,816 objects.



Seven Sisters of the Pole (1 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost

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Historical resources

A wealth of information of interest to deep sky observers is sequestered in old (19th century and earlier) publications. Many of these publications are only available in selected libraries, and some older texts are all but impossible to access.

As an ongoing project, DOCdb hopes to make electronic versions of these publications available on-line:

browse the historical texts archive

Before the invention of photography (and allied printing processes), making sketches of deep sky objects was the only way to permanently record a visual impression of what was seen at the eyepiece. Reproduction of these fine sketches challenged the printing technology of the day (e.g. wood cuts and lithography). To this end, published sketches of interest to deep sky observers will be digitized:

browse the historical sketches archive

Find out more about the people behind the eyepiece (who was Lassell, for example?) or whose names have become familiar through the catalogues they produced (such as Trumpler, Ruprecht, Pismis, etc.):

browse the biographical notes archive

Some contributions on historical aspects of deep sky observing & observers:

browse the list of contributed articles


This section of DOCdb is most lacking in material.
You can help by:

  • researching biographical profiles of historical deep sky observers;

  • digitizing sketches published in old journals, monographs, etc.; or

  • creating electronic versions of important deep sky publications (scan/digitize articles, OCR, re-type, check).

Contact us if you're keen on lending a hand and helping expand this free community resource.


Special thanks to our volunteers:

• Magda Streicher

• Chris de Coning

> Find out more

Everything on DOCdb.net is © 2004-2010 by Auke Slotegraaf, unless stated otherwise or if you can prove you have divine permission to use it. Before using material published here, please consult the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.5 License. Some material on DOCdb is copyright the individual authors. If in doubt, don't reproduce. And that goes for having children, too. Please note that the recommended browser for DOCdb is Firefox 3.x. You may also get good results with K-Meleon. Good luck if you're using IE. A successful experience with other browsers, including Opera and Safari, may vary.