Steve Gottlieb presents "Unwrapping the Visual Discovery of Spiral Nebula" for May 14 meeting
For our May 14 meeting, Steve Gottlieb, a contributing editor for Sky & Telescope, will be our featured speaker on "Unwrapping the Visual Discovery of Spiral Nebula". This is the story of William Parsons' (Third Earl of Rosse) first visual observations of M51 with his massive 72-inch speculum reflector in the spring of 1845 and the subsequent discovery of spiral structure in dozens of "nebulae". The context is how our biases and expectations affect our visual perception at the eyepiece. Eyepiece sketches of several spirals by Rosse and other mid-19th century observers will be presented along with my own observing experiences.
Steve's been an active observer for 38 years using 6-inch to 24-inch telescopes, logging over 12,000 deep sky objects. These observations have resulted in numerous historical corrections of the NGC and IC catalogues as a member of the NGC/IC Project. He's also compiled the databases in computerized Digital Setting Circles made by Lumicon and Celestron as well as the Orion "Deep Map 600". Steve is currently a contributing editor for Sky & Telescope magazine and has written numerous deep sky observing articles.