TAAS 200

TAAS 200 History

In April 1995, it was proposed that a night sky observing program of celestial objects be developed for TAAS members of all skill levels. At that time many TAAS members were completing the Messier and the Herschel 400 observing lists of deep sky objects. These two lists represent two levels of deep sky observing skill: the Messier list for beginners using moderate sized telescopes and the Herschel 400 for more advanced observers with larger telescopes.  

The TAAS 200 list was designed for an intermediate observer and includes the best 200 non-Messier objects easily visible from central New Mexico (objects north of declination -48o).

Since the TAAS 200 list includes so many bright objects Messier overlooked, or could not see from Europe, it really should be viewed as complementary to his famous list.

The TAAS 200 is not an abbreviated version of the Herschel 400 list. While about two thirds of the TAAS 200 objects are also Herschel 400 objects, the TAAS list includes several dozen bright objects (logged by William Herschel) that were not included in the Herschel 400 list.

The TAAS 200 list includes objects that are bright, large, impressive, colorful, and of historical interest. It does not include “challenge” objects (e. g. the Horsehead nebula, or Stephan’s Quintet) which require advanced techniques and very large telescopes. None of the objects are fainter than about magnitude 12.

The initial TAAS 200 list was drafted by Society members Lee Mesibov and Jeff Bender. TAAS members Gordon Pegue, Carl Frisch, Elinor Gates, Bill Tondreau, Leo Broline, Lisa Wood, and Kevin McKeown provided additional inputs and suggested alterations.

Observing Strategy

All the TAAS 200 objects can be viewed with a 6-inch telescope under clean, black skies. The list gives the minimum aperture needed to detect the object with certainty, although for many of the smaller, fainter objects, an aperture of at least twice this size is recommended. A 10 or 12-inch telescope will show all the objects especially well. Any good star atlas or planetarium program is sufficient to locate the objects. A low power finder plus star hopping is adequate to find each of the objects. All the TAAS 200 objects should be available in the library of most GOTO telescopes.

Good luck and we hope you have many enjoyable hours observing the TAAS 200!

TAAS 200 Files

File Name
TAAS 200 List (Excel)
TAAS 200 List (PDF)
TAAS 200 Images by Number
TAAS 200 Images by Constellation