Re: (IAAC) Comet miscataloged as a nebula by Bessel in 1809?

On Tue, 8 Oct 2002, Lew Gramer wrote:

> The following is a query from a meteor observing colleague
> of mine, regarding a comet which he believes was discovered
> but misidentified as a nebula by Bessel - a welcome change
> from the more usual state of affairs in the Eighteenth and
> Nineteenth Centuries, a la Monsieur Messier! :)
> I am not aware of any catalog of nebulae ever published by
> Bessel, but perhaps others on these lists will be familiar
> with the particular references Gary mentions below?
> Clear skies and happy lucubrating!
> Lew Gramer, IMO, NAMN, Webb Society, NDSOS, ATMoB, NSAAC



as I've already written to Gary on a similar request, I'll be looking up
the Berliner Jahrbuch editions published 1808-10 as soon as the local
library has them for me; this will still take some time (they first
reserved the wrong yearbooks). Also, it may be that these observations
have not been published there (but somehow else, or just recorded
somehow but unpublished). I've contacted people in Lilienthal near Bremen
where Bessel was at that time for potentially more info, and am still in
the waiting mode for reply. Unfortunately the Lilienthal Observatory was
destroyed in Napoleonic wars so maybe the observing notes of that time are

Well, as Lew states, it is not likely that Bessel has observed, discovered
or cataloged nebulae at that time in any systematical manner (otherwise
this would be better known). His duties that days was observing comets and
planets (in particular Saturn and moons), including the 4 newly discovered
(at that time) minor planets; he was part of the environment of Olbers who
had discovered Pallas and Vesta, and was among those who rediscovered
Ceres on its first "return" in 1802. Bessel's research of that period also
included atmospheric refraction &c.
(Some info on Bessel: http://www.seds.org/messier/xtra/Bios/bessel.html
and links therein).

Clear skies, Hartmut

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