Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes

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T. W. Webb: Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes


A classic observer's guide to the heavens (including the MOON, see lower part of this page).
This book appeared in many editions, starting in 1859. It included a small fold-out map. Later editions were issued in two volumes. In those editions, the Moon and planets were covered in Volume I. Volume II covered objects outside the solar system.

Additional Information

  • In the 1859 1st Edition, Webb adopted the nomenclature of Beer and Mädler (on whose work his Outline Map is based), printing their names in a list starting on page 100. Webb assigned letters the 22 seas and numbers to 404 other objects. The numbers assigned by Webb were apparently widely used (at least in England), and appear, for example (without explanation) in Birt's monthly announcements of "Lunar Objects Suitable for Observations" in the Astronomical Register.
  • In the 1873 3rd Edition, Webb added the British Association Catalogue to his Authorities, and expanded the list of numbered objects to 490. Numbers 405 to 490 represent 86 new names added by the British Association Lunar Committee (largely the work of Birt).
  • In the 1881 4th Edition, Webb dropped many of the British Association additions and substituted the system of Neison, 1876 -- who had used many of the British Association names, but omitted some and added a number of his own. The revised list still has 490 numbered entries, but new names have been substituted for many of those between 429 and 490. This seems to have been done in such a way as to retain the numbers for the names that were retained, but when the name associated with a number is changed, the old and new names rarely refer to the same feature on the Moon.
  • The nomenclature in the 5th and 6th Editions appears identical to that in the 4th Edition.
  • Webb's numbering (and map) was adopted by Richard Proctor for his book, although Proctor truncated the numbered list at 400, perhaps in the mistaken belief that #401 and beyond were unofficial additions to Beer and Mädler (in fact only #405 and beyond are).

LPOD Articles


Names of less-known or unknown lunar observers in Webb's chapter THE MOON, pages 77-168 (Dover, 1962)

Since june 2015, Danny Caes is exploring and investigating every page of Webb's Volume 1, especially the chapter THE MOON, because there's a number of names of obscure lunar observers in it, and also of quite unexpected people who were more-or-less related to selenography and selenology.
Here's an alphabetic list of these names. Page numbers are also included.
The purpose of this alphabetic list is to try to detect possible Wikipedia biographies of those obscure lunar observers, and to add them here in this list.
For names in the chapters of the sun and the planets, see THE SOLAR SYSTEM.
- DannyCaes Jun 17, 2015

Adams, J. 162 (could this have been the British astronomer John Couch Adams who's name is (among two other Adams'es) on the moon? See Nomenclature section at crater Adams)
Beer (frequently mentioned throughout the chapter as "B", together with Madler as "M") (see Beer)
Bianchini 113, 126 (see Bianchini)
Bird 108, 123 (mentioned on both pages because of Bird's 12-inch silvered reflector) (was Bird a telescope maker?) (was this the same Bird of the Jones-Bird Newtonian telescope? See lower part of page Newtonian telescope) (far-fetched perhaps, but... could it also have been the same as F.Bird mentioned in Table 1 on page X of SKY CATALOGUE 2000.0 Volume 2 ?) (Double Star Designation Codes)
Birmingham 120, 130 (see Birmingham)
Birt, W.R. 87, 95, 99, 105, 117, 120, 127, 129, 130, 131, 148 (see Birt)
Brenner 161 (see Brenner)
Brodie 124, 125 (of all the Brodies in Wikipedia, I can only think of Peter Bellinger Brodie (1815-1897, English geologist) as the possible one mentioned in Webb's pages 124, 125) (seems to be the most scientific one)
Bull, John 120 (John Bull, mentioned on page 120 because of... eh... reasons not quite understood...) (I have to investigate that)
Note: Webb's John Bull should not be confused with NASA's John S. Bull (1934-2008, test pilot and astronaut) (because of medical reasons John S. Bull never flew in space)
Cassini 139 (see Cassini)
Chacornac 138 (see Chacornac)
Charles II 109 (don't know if this was Charles II of England (1630-1685), I have to go to school again to learn some facts about the history of mankind...) (in Webb's Celestial Objects, Charles II is mentioned because he received a lunar globe made by Christopher Wren)
Corder, H. 160 (made a drawing of crater Linné, which appeared in the 5th Report of the Lunar Section of the B.A.A.)
Dana 83 (could this have been the American geologist James Dwight Dana?) (see also Dorsa Dana)
Dawes 100, 126, 147 (see Dawes)
De La Rue 96, 97, 103 (see De La Rue)
Dennett 125, 163 (observed the pair Helicon and Le Verrier in Mare Imbrium during Full Moon. Dennett (together with Gaudibert) thought Le Verrier was the brightest one of the pair) (observed, together with Simms, three or four low hills on the floor of Cichus)
Denning (see appendix on page 252) (see also Denning)
Dickert 109 (see: The Schmidt-Dickert Moon Model)(several sources on the web)
Dobie 121 (noticed the curiously speckled appearance of the interior of Stadius, but... who was Dobie? That's a difficult question)
Elger, T.G. 92, 93, 126, 127, 159, 167 (see Elger)
Elwes 83, 93 (probably Robert Elwes (1819-1878), British Victorian traveller, painter, author of A Sketcher's Tour Round the World)
Espin, T. E. (Rev.) 105 (see Espin)
Eysenhard 106 (according to Schroter this was a pupil of Lambert, who, on july the 25th of the year 1774, observed four bright spots in Mare Crisium) (was Eysenhard the same person as the Eisenhard in the short list of lunar crater names of F.v.P.Gruithuisen? See page 114 in Ewen A. Whitaker's Mapping and Naming the Moon, a history of lunar cartography and nomenclature).
Freeman 117 (observed, together with Birt and Kunowsky, a minute prolongation of the eastern part of Rima Ariadaeus, beyond the western "coastline" of Mare Tranquillitatis) (detected by Gruithuisen)
Galileo 77, 130 (see Galilaei)
Note: the first page of the chapter THE MOON (page 77) starts with Galileo and his very early telescopic observations of lunar craters, which he compared with... the Eyes in a Peacock's Tail. Strange to say, readers of Sir Isaac Newton's OPTICKS should know about a similar example of Peacock's Eye comparison, namely Newton's observation of the strange looking spot which appears when the tip of a finger is gently pressing upon the lateral region of the white of the observer's eye, and opposite this region (in the field of view) the Eye in the Feather of a Peacock's Tail is seen. What is the exact scientific word for this visual inter-eye phenomenon? Is Newton's observation scientifically recognized and explained?
See page 347 in the revised Dover edition (1979) of Newton's OPTICKS. In this, Newton doesn't really speak of the Eye in a peacock's tail, he described it as a Circle of Colours like those in the Feather of a Peacock's Tail.
Gaudibert 110, 118, 120, 125, 131, 140, 142, 146, 159 (see Gaudibert)
Gerling 124 (probably Christian Ludwig Gerling, 1788-1864, German astronomer)
Gledhill 127 (probably Joseph Gledhill, 1837-1906, British astronomer) (there's a certain J.Gledhill on page 1666 of Burnham's Celestial Handbook (Volume 3), was this J.Gledhill the same as the Gledhill in T.W.Webb's Celestial Objects?)
Goodacre 77, 103 (see Goodacre)
Gray 124 (observed changes in crater Archimedes, in 1880)
Green 82 (see Green)
Grover 94, 114
Note: this is a difficult one, because we all know Grover the indigo-blue colored muppet with pink nose, and... there was also NASA's wheeled vehicle called Grover, which was the terrestrial test version of the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) of the three scientific Apollo missions (Apollo 15, 16, and 17)
Gruithuisen (frequently mentioned throughout the chapter as "G") (see Gruithuisen)
Hansen 78 (see Hansen)
Henry, MM. (Messieurs) 97 (probably the Henry brothers, see Henry Freres)
Herschel I (William Herschel) 93, 97, 111, 118, 129 (see Herschel)
Herschel II (John Herschel) 122 (see J.Herschel)
Hevel (Hevelius) 79, 80, 114, 122, 125, 160 (see Hevelius)
Hodge, R. 162 (observed, in 1904, October the 2nd, from Highgate-London, the floor of crater Plato, on which he could detect no one of the small craterlets which were visible two days earlier under a higher sun)
Hooke 82 (see Hooke)
Hunt 124 (observed, in 1862, a bright hill at about 1/3 of the distance from Lambert to Timocharis, according to Webb glittering on the terminator like a star with rays) (this must be the hillock which is officially known as Lambert Gamma, unofficially called Undest on the Lunar Topographic Orthophotomaps)
Ingall 105 (in 1865 Ingall and Slack observed Mare Crisium speckled with minute dots and streaks of light)
Key 109, 147 (on september the 21st, 1863, Key discovered two very remarkable flattenings at the eastern limb regions, which only appear during favourable libration conditions) (this is something to investigate, because the pinpoint locations of these flattenings are not really known)
Klein 77, 87, 96, 102, 113, 116, 117, 122, 127, 134, 144, 145 (see Klein)
Knott 120, 123, 124 (observed changes in crater Archimedes, in 1860)
Kohler 105 (see also page 60 in the chapter MERCURY)
Kreiger 161, 167 (typographical error, should be Krieger) (see Krieger)
Kunowsky 87, 98, 99, 105, 117 (see Kunowsky)
Lambert 106, 107 (see Lambert)
Lee 147 (see Lee)
Lohrmann (frequently mentioned throughout the chapter as "L", see also appendix on page 252) (see Lohrmann)
Madler (frequently mentioned throughout the chapter as "M", together with Beer as "B") (see Madler)
Madler, Mme 109
Maw, W.H. 163 (Dr. W.H.Maw, the observer of the small reddish spot in South on the 15th of June 1913, see also page 185 in V.A.Firsoff's The Old Moon and the New) (the name Maw is also mentioned on page 219 of Harold Hill's A Portfolio of Lunar Drawings; at crater Vendelinus)
Molesworth (Major Molesworth) 159, 161, 162, 163, 164, 166 (Percy Braybrooke Molesworth, 1867-1908, Major in the corps of Royal Engineers and an amateur astronomer)
Nasmyth 85, 89 (see Nasmyth)
Neison (frequently mentioned throughout the chapter as "Ne") (see Neison)
Newcomb (appendix on page 252) (see Newcomb)
Nichol 89 (probably John Pringle Nichol, 1804-1859, Scottish astronomer)
Parry, R. 160 (observed variations in the shape of the bright ray northwest of Proclus; sometimes being seen straight and at other times curved)
Peal, S.E. 83 (from several sources on the web: Samuel Edward Peal passed away in Assam, India, on July 29, 1897. He was born December 31, 1834. Originally an artist, he went to India in 1862 as a tea-planter. In 1873 he discovered that tea blight was caused by an Aphis, whose life history he investigated. He did useful work in exploring the Naga Hills to show the practicability of a direct route from India to China. He completed a work on the grasses and trees of Assam, but the MS. was destroyed through the burning of his bungalow. Latterly, he gave much attention to astronomy. His theory of lunar surfacing as due to glaciation was well known at the time of his death, and he wrote a paper on "A Possible Cause of Lunar Libration." He was a frequent contributor to the Indian Press and to Nature on natural history subjects)
Phillips 80, 143 (Theodore Evelyn Reece Phillips, aka T.E.R.Phillips, 1868-1942, English astronomer) (see also Phillips)
Piazzi Smyth 77, 104, 122 (see Piazzi Smyth)
Pickering 82, 90, 93, 103, 127, 159, 160, 161, 162, 164, 165, 166 (must be W.H.Pickering, I have to investigate this)
Plutarch 115 (see Plutarch)
Pratt 126, 127 (probably Henry Pratt, 1838-1891, English watchmaker and observer of the moon) (the name Henry Pratt is also included on page 193 of EPIC MOON by Sheehan and Dobbins)
Prince Metternich 120 (probably Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, 1773-1859, diplomat, politician, and statesman) (Prince Metternich is mentioned in T.W.Webb's Celestial Objects because of his important role in the story of F.v.P.Gruithuisen's so-called Lunar City near Schroter)
Proctor 98, 99 (see Proctor)
Riccioli 80, 122, 125, 160 (see Riccioli)
Russell 109, 144 (see Russell)
Saunder, S.A. 103, 164 (see Saunder)
Schmidt (frequently mentioned throughout the chapter as "Schm") (see Schmidt)
Schroter (frequently mentioned throughout the chapter as "Schr") (see Schroter)
Schwabe 90, 119, 120, 138 (see Schwabe)
Scrope 82, 120 (George Julius Poulett Scrope, 1797-1876, English geologist, mentioned in T.W.Webb's Celestial Objects because of his Extinct Volcanoes of Central France)
Secchi 89 (see Secchi)
Shaler 127 (see Shaler)
Short 126 (see Short)
Simms 148, 163 (observed, together with Birt, the theoretically absent northern part of the rim of Fracastorius) (observed, together with Dennett, three or four low hills on the floor of Cichus) (was this William Simms? 1793-1860, British scientific instrument maker) (see also the most interesting pages about the legendary Craig telescope)
Slack 105 (in 1865 Slack and Ingall observed Mare Crisium speckled with minute dots and streaks of light)
Slater 113 (probably Thomas Slater, 1817-1889, English optical technician) (Slater is mentioned in Webb's chapter THE MOON because Webb himself once observed the field of hillocks between Vallis Alpes, Palus Nebularum, and Egede through a 20-ft. achr. by Slater, of 14 3/4-in. aperture)
Smyth (Piazzi Smyth?) 129
South 98 (see South)
Tobias Mayer 144 (see T.Mayer)
Tomkins, H.G. 89 (Rev. H.G.Tomkins?) (Henry George Tomkins?) (1826-1907?) (this is something to investigate) (H.G.Tomkins is mentioned in Celestial Objects because of (according to Webb) his very ingenious theory of dried up oceans and layers of salt) (H.G.Tomkins must have been an investigator of terrestrial salt deposits, especially in the Punjab and elsewhere in India)
Wadsworth, H. (Rev.) 165 (was H.Wadsworth the first one who noticed the formation which is unofficially called Miyamori Valley on pages 138-139 in Harold Hill's A Portfolio of Lunar Drawings?) (for the location of the Miyamori Valley, see Lohrmann and Riccioli)
Waugh, W.R. (Rev.) 162 (the Rev. W.R.Waugh is mentioned in the page United Reformed Church, Portland)
Weinek, L. 146, 161 (see Weinek)
Whitley 120, 136 (observed Gruithuisen's so-called Lunar City near Schroter (1870), discovered several minute crater-chains southeast of Bullialdus)
Williams 94, 125 (see Williams)
Williams, A.S. 127, 159 (see Williams)
With 87 (of all the names in T.W.Webb's Celestial Objects, this name (-With-) is the most difficult one, because... how on earth (on the moon) should we try to search an astronomy-related person who's name was With? Nothing seems to be known about With. The only thing we know (thanks to Webb) is that he must have been some sort of telescope maker and occasional observer of the moon...) (W.P.Sheehan and T.A.Dobbins in their EPIC MOON (page 157) let us know something about a certain George With who made a 9.25-inch silver-on-glass reflector, through which T.W.Webb observed the moon)
Witte, Mme. 109 (footnote at page 109: Mme.Witte, a Hanoverian lady, has completed a very perfect moonglobe in relief, from Beer and Madler's observations and her own) (I have to take a look in E.A.Whitaker's Mapping and Naming the Moon for more info, or in EPIC MOON by Sheehan and Dobbins)
Wood, R.W. 91 (see Wood)
Wren, Chr. 109 (Christopher Wren, 1632-1723, English architect and astronomer, made a lunar globe for Charles II)

A book without additional notes from the reader, or without small sketches to fill up the white unprinted margins and the blank pages, is a dead book.
Danny Caes