Illustrated Deep-Sky Observing Guide

This work is a printable field guide and an observing list of deep-sky objects. It provides basic information about 7000 objects (up to magnitude 14) and features additional 650 select DSO, with negative thumbnail images. See screenshots.

I made it using SAC database as main source of data, excluding objects with declination lower than -60º (south). Most of the images were taken from "NGC/IC project" site, and a few of them are from other sources (see copyright information).

This field guide has two parts:

  1. Observing list of 650 best deep-sky objects, with thumbnail images and some basic information. The list is sorted by constellation and magnitude (sorting by name is also available). List includes all Messier, Herschel, Caldwell, SAC's best of NGC, and ~150 additional DSOs.
  2. List of 7000 deep sky objects under magnitude 14 (which, under dark skies, are in reach of a moderate telescope). The list provides basic information about each object: magnitude, number of stars, page in Uranometria 2000, comments, common name, etc.

Full Download:

    Illustrated DSO Guide - Full (single PDF file, 22MB, 160 pages)
    includes: cover page, thumbnail images of best ~650 DSO sorted by name, list of best ~650 DSO sorted by constellation-magnitude, list of 7000 DSO sorted by name.

Separate Downloads:


Deep-Sky guide
An illustrated list of 650 best deep sky objects
DSO guide sample
A list of 7000 deep sky objects from SAC 7.7 database

"7000 DSO"  List Features:

  • DSO data source: Saguaro Astronomy Club database, version 7.7
  • Objects which are listed in best 650 DSO list appear in bold
  • DSO's up to 14th magnitude are listed (also objects without magnitude)
  • DSO's with declination lower than -60º (southern objects) are NOT listed
  • Sorting order: Messier, NGC, IC, other catalogs (Barnard, PLN, PGC, Mel, etc)
  • Details for each object: Name (catalog number), other name, type, constellation, magnitude, surface brightness, maximum dimension, coordinates, Uranometria 2000 page number, class (for clusters and galaxies), number of stars (for clusters), central star magnitude and magnitude of brightest star, notes from SAC database (including common names)

"Best 650 DSO"  List Features:

  • Objects selected for this list: all Messier, Herschel, Caldwell, "SAC's best of NGC" and ~150 additional DSO objects selected by author.
  • In thumbnail lists - each page contains 16 images with details for each DSO
  • Details given are the same as in 7000 DSO list
  • For observation planning there is a list sorted by constellation and magnitude.

Copyright Information:

Thumbnail images were taken from NGC/IC Project database. Negative DSS images were used (data courtesy of the Digital Sky Survey). Additional image sources: Hubblesite, NGC7000 site (Copyright © Ole Nielsen 200-2007), National Optical Astronomy Observatory (copyright © NOAO/AURA/NSF),, AstroFX site (Copyright © Charlie Warren). SAC 7.7 Deep sky database: Data courtesy of the Saguaro Astronomy Club


To print this guide Adobe Acrobat reader is required.
The list was created using Microsoft Excel and converted to PDF format.
There is an alternative download mirror in website here