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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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Beginner's tips & tutorials

The Deepsky Observer's Companion tutorial

Compiled & edited by Auke Slotegraaf. Published 2006 January 01

A comprehensive tutorial for the novice deep sky observer, this compilation consists of what skilled observers have written and said about their experiences. It discusses the basic and not-so-basic techniques of observing our Universe beyond the solar system. Whether you have binoculars or a telescope, this guide provides the background you'll need to start observing.

Observing resources

A Checklist for deep sky descriptions

Published 2006 February 02. Updated: 2008 February 19

Guidelines to help you to get the most out of your observing sessions by providing a checklist of things to look out for when you examine a deep sky object.

Star colours

Published 2006 February 02.

A brief discussion of the beautiful range of colours that can be picked out in the stars.

Star charts

Southern Star Wheel

Published 2009 January 08

A novel planisphere ideal for learning the constellations. Download, print, cut, paste 'n observe. Suitable for southern latitudes (South Africa, South America, Australia etc.)

Discover! the Southern Constellations

Published 2006 January 01. Updated 2009 January 10.

A workbook ideal for learning all the constellations visible from the southern hemisphere, and for discovering the brighter deep sky objects on your own.


Compiled & edited by Auke Slotegraaf. Updated 2017 October 28

A set of handy star charts, one per constellation visible from the southern hemisphere, showing the best deep sky objects. Ideal for binocular users and star party presentations.

Deep Sky Explorer Atlas (south and equatorial)

Published 2009 January 08. Updated 2009 January 10.

The Deep Sky Explorer's Atlas consists of 30 wide-field star charts, from the south pole to declination +45, showing all stars down to 8th magnitude and over 1 000 deep sky objects. Ideal for those who have mastered the more basic Discover! atlas.

Observing equipment tips

A light-weight light box for deep sky sketching

By Carol Botha. Published 2009 April 06

Deep sky observer Carol Botha shares details of her latest observing aide: a light-weight light box for sketching.

Portable observing shelter

By Carol Botha & Auke Slotegraaf. Published 2008 February 05

A cheap robust observing shelter that fits into your car and keeps you shielded from stray light while observing.

Catalogues & lists

Lacaille's deep sky catalogue

Published 2006 October 28

One of the earliest catalogues of deep sky objects is the one prepared in the 1750's by Abbe Nicholas Louis de la Caille (1713-1762) during his visit to Cape Town, South Africa.

Dunlop's deep sky catalogue

Published 2006 October 28

The first "proper" southern deep sky catalogue was drawn up by a former factory hand who had taught himself astronomy.

Jack Bennett – a southern Messier catalogue

Published 2006 October 28

Jack Bennett, South African comet hunter, drew up a list of southern deep sky objects that were comet-like in appearance.

ASSA Top 100 southern deep sky objects

Published 2006 October 28

Hand-picked and collected together in a single list for the first time are the 100 best galaxies, star clusters and nebulae visible in the southern skies.

The Bug Report

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Known issues, feature requests, and updates on bug fixes, are here:

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DOCdb is a free online resource that exists to promote deep sky observing.

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Star charts

Star charts

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.