On March 15, 2000, a discussion thread began in the sci.astro.amateur (SAA) newsgroup when someone posed the question: “What are your favorite non-Messier objects for 8-12″ telescopes?” Newsgroup participants responded enthusiastically to the question, posting many messages nominating a wide variety of objects.

Fortunately, newsgroup participant Karl Hutchings kept a cumulative list of all the nominations and totaled the number of votes for each object. When the discussion thread wound down a few days later, Karl posted a list of 90 objects that SAA participants had named as their favorites.

ObjectTypeConVMagSizePop. NameNotes
NGC 752OCAnd5.750.0′
NGC 891GalAnd9.914.0’x3.0′edge-on spiral w/prominent dust lane
NGC 7662PNAnd8.617.0″x14.0″Blue Snowball Nebula
NGC 6781PNAql11.81.9’x1.8′
NGC 7009PNAqr8.328.0″x23.0″Saturn Nebula
NGC 7293PNAqr6.316.0’x12.0′Helical Nebula
NGC 6397GCAra5.725.7′one of the nearest Globulars
NGC 1907OCAur8.27.0′
NGC 1502OCCam6.98.0′near SE end of Kemble’s Cascade
Kemble’s CascadeAsterismCamfirst described by Canadian amateur Lucian J. Kemble; beautiful chain of about 20 mag. 5…9 stars; coordinates are for SAO 12969, a mag. 5 star in the middle of the Cascade
NGC 2403GalCam8.517.8′
NGC 3372BNCar120.0’x120.0′Eta Carina Nebula
NGC 3532OCCar355.0′
NGC 225OCCas712.0′
NGC 457OCCas6.413.0′Owl Cluster
NGC 654OCCas6.55.0′
NGC 659OCCas7.95.0′
NGC 663OCCas7.116.0′
Stock 2OCCas4.460.0′Muscleman Cluster
NGC 7789OCCas6.716.0′
NGC 3766OCCen5.312.0′
NGC 5128GalCen6.818.2’x14.5′Centaurus Astrong radio source
NGC 5139GCCen3.736.3′Omega Centauribest GC in the sky
NGC 40PNCep10.71.0’x0.7′
NGC 6939OCCep7.88.0′
IC 1396BNCep3.5154.0’x140.0′
King 10OCCep3.0′
NGC 247GalCet9.120.0’x7.0′
NGC 2359BNCMa8.0′Thor’s Helmet; Duck NebulaWolf-Rayet remnant
NGC 2360OCCMa7.213.0′
NGC 2362OCCMa4.18.0′
Mel 111OCCom1.8275.0′Coma Berenices Star Cluster
NGC 4565GalCom9.615.5’x1.9′Bernice’s Hair Clipclassic edge-on spiral with dust lane
Abell 1656Gal clusterCom11120.0′Coma Gal Clustertough in 8-12″ aperture
NGC 4038GalCor10.32.6’x1.8′The Antennae; Ringtail Galinteracting with NGC 4039
NGC 4039GalCor10.63.2’x2.2′The Antennaeinteracting with NGC 4038
NGC 4361PNCor10.31.3′
NGC 4755OCCru4.210.0′Jewel Box Cluster; Kappa Crucis
NGC 4244GalCVn10.418.5’x2.3′
NGC 4631GalCVn9.217.0’x3.5′same LP field as NGC 4656
NGC 4656GalCVn10.522.0’x3.0′same LP field as NGC 4631
AlbireoStarCyg3.1superb double star; blue-white/yellow
NGC 6819OCCyg7.35.0′
NGC 6826PNCyg8.827.0″x24.0″Blinking Planetary
NGC 6888BNCyg20.0’x10.0′Crescent Nebula
NGC 6960SNRCyg70.0’x6.0′Western Veil
NGC 6992SNRCyg25.0’x20.0′Eastern Veil
NGC 7000BNCyg175.0’x110.0′North American Nebulalarge; often easier in binoculars than telescope
NGC 2070BNDor8.35.0′Tarantula Nebulain Lg. Magellanic Cloud
NGC 5907GalDra10.312.8’x1.8′
NGC 6543PNDra8.322.0″x16.0″Cat’s Eye Nebula
NGC 1535PNEri10.420.0″x17.0″multiple shells
Fornax Gal. ClusterGal clusterFor3°x2°approx. 20 galaxies brighter than mag. 13
NGC 2158OCGem8.65.0′
NGC 2392PNGem8.647.0″x43.0″Eskimo Nebula; Clown Face
NGC 6210PNHer9.720.0″x13.0″
NGC 3242PNHya8.640.0″x35.0″Ghost of Jupiter
NGC 2903GalLeo913.3’x6.0′
IC 418PNLep10.714.0″x11.0″
NGC 2232OCMon3.930.0′
NGC 2237BNMon5.570.0’x80.0′Rosette NebulaOC NGC 2244 embedded in nebula
NGC 2244OCMon4.824.0′involved with Rosette Neb. (NGC 2237)
NGC 2261BNMon2.0’x1.0′Hubble’s Variable Nebula
NGC 2264OCMon3.930.0’x60.0′Christmas Tree Cluster; Cone Nebulaincludes naked-eye S Mon (15 Mon)
NGC 2301OCMon612.0′
B 59, 65-7DNOph300.0′Pipe Nebula (stem)
NGC 6369PNOph1130.0″x29.0″
B 78DNOph200.0′Pipe Nebula (bowl)
IC 4665OCOph4.241.0′
NGC 6572PNOph915.0″x12.0″
NGC 6633OCOph4.627.0′
NGC 1973BNOri5.0’x5.0′part of Running Man Nebula
NGC 1975BNOri10.0’x5.0′part of Running Man Nebula
NGC 1977BNOri20.0’x10.0′part of Running Man Nebula42 Orionis nebula
NGC 2169OCOri5.97.0′“37” Cluster
NGC 2174BNOri25.0’x20.0′
NGC 6545GalPav13.21.0’x0.9′Needle Galaxy
NGC 7331GalPeg9.511.4’x4.0′Little And Gal
NGC 869OCPer5.330.0′Double Clusterw/NGC 884
NGC 884OCPer6.130.0′Double Clusterw/NGC 869
NGC 1023GalPer9.49.0’x4.0′
Mel 20OCPer1.2185.0′Alpha Persei Association
NGC 1528OCPer6.424.0′
NGC 2438PNPup111.1′in foreground of M 46
NGC 2467BNPup7.115.0′use UHC or O-III filter; includes loose cluster of mag. 8-12 stars
NGC 253GalScl7.225.0’x7.0′edge-on spiral
NGC 6231OCSco2.615.0′Table of Scorpiuszeta Sco complex
NGC 3115GalSex8.98.3’x3.2′Spindle Gal
Mel 25OCTau0.5330.0′HyadesAldebaran not a member
NGC 104GCTuc430.9′47 Tucanae
NGC 2841GalUma9.27.4’x3.5′
NGC 3877GalUma115.6’x1.2′
Markarian’s ChainGal chainVirstring of bright galaxies; covers 3 degrees of sky, starting with M84 & M86 in Virgo, ending with NGCs 4459 & 4474 in Coma Berenices; coordinates are for M 84
3C 273QuasarVir12brightest quasar; most remote object visible in modest amateur telescopes (~ 2 billion light years)
NGC 4526GalVir9.77.0’x2.7′Lost Gal
NGC 4567GalVir11.33.0’x2.5′Siamese Twinsoverlaps NGC 4568
NGC 4568GalVir10.85.1’x2.4′Siamese Twinsoverlaps NGC 4567
NGC 5746GalVir10.37.4’x1.1′
Cr 399AsterismVul3.660.0′Brocchi’s Cluster; The Coathangeronce assumed to be a OC; data from Hipparcos spacecraft shows it to be a chance alignment of stars
NGC 6885OCVul8.17.0′