Amazing Explorer’s Legacy – the Henize Objects

My astrophotography group recently targeted the deep sky object known as Henize 70, using a 24” Planewave telescope high in the Andes in Chile. The image of Henize 70 (Nebulae Gallery) is the result of this effort. From this I became curious about the history of the Henize objects. The astronomer Karl Henize spent years studying the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), the dwarf galaxy nearest us visible only from the southern hemisphere. He created a catalog of interesting objects in it during his career as Professor of Astronomy at Northwestern University. In 1967 he gave up his full professorship to became an Apollo astronaut and was actually slated to fly on Apollo 20 or 21 had the NASA project not been discontinued. In 1985 he finally did go into space on the Space Shuttle Challenger with the SpaceLab2 experiment. Henize had a lifelong interest in the LMC and created the catalog of interesting objects now bearing his name. Exploration was his game, and ultimately how he went out – at age 70 in 1994 he died climbing Mount Everest, where his body was buried at 22,000 ft.