Ash Observatory Messier Objects

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Charles Messier; 26th June 1730 - 12th April 1817

Messier was a French astronomer born in Badonviller, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Lorraine, France. At the age of 14 he became interested in astronomy, his interest being further spurred on by an annular solar eclipse on 25th July, 1748, which could be seen from his home town. However, he was to become a comet hunter, his first being Halley's Comet, erroneously predicted to return sometime during 1757. Whilst hunting for comets, he frequently came across 'fuzzy patches' which looked as though they might be comets, but weren't.

The first of these 'fuzzy patches' was located in the constellation of Taurus, and was what we now now as the Crab Nebula, the remnant of an ancient supernova first observed by Chinese astronomers in 1054. Messier undertook a search for such 'comet-like' objects, and compiled a catalogue, in order that they should not be mistaken, by himself and others, for comets in the future. The first entry in the catalogue, named Catalogue of Nebulę and Star Clusters, originally published in three stages, is M1 ( Messier 1 ), the famous Crab Nebula. There are, in all, 110 such entries, listed in the table below. They are all interesting objects in their own right.

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Messier Object

Common Names

Type of Object

Location

Magnitude

 

 

 

 

 

M1

The Crab Nebula

Supernova remnant

Taurus

8.4

M2

 

Globular cluster

Aquarius

6.5

M3

 

Globular cluster

Canes Venatici

6.4

M4

 

Globular cluster

Scorpius

5.9

M5

 

Globular cluster

Serpens Caput

5.8

M6

The Butterfly Cluster

Open cluster

Scorpius

4.2

M7

Ptolemy's Cluster

Open cluster

Scorpius

3.3

M8

The Lagoon Nebula

Diffuse nebula

Sagittarius

5.8

M9

 

Globular cluster

Ophiuchus

7.9

M10

Globular cluster

Ophiuchus

6.6

M11

The Wild Duck Cluster

Open cluster

Scutum

5.8

M12

 

Globular cluster

Ophiuchus

6.6

M13

Great Hercules Globular Cluster

Globular cluster

Hercules

5.9

M14

 

Globular cluster

Ophiuchus

7.6

M15

 

Globular cluster

Pegasus

6.4

M16

Part of the Eagle Nebula

Open cluster

Serpens Cauda

6.0

M17

The Omega, Swan or Horseshoe Nebula

Diffuse nebula

Sagittarius

7.0

M18

 

Open cluster

Sagittarius

6.9

M19

 

Globular cluster

Ophiuchus

7.2

M20

The Trifid Nebula

Diffuse nebula

Sagittarius

8.5

M21

 

Open cluster

Sagittarius

5.9

M22

 

Globular cluster

Sagittarius

5.1

M23

 

Open cluster

Sagittarius

5.5

M24

Milky Way Patch

Star cloud

Sagittarius

4.5

M25

 

Open cluster

Sagittarius

4.6

M26

 

Open cluster

Scutum

8.0

M27

The Dumbbell Nebula

Planetary nebula

Vulpecula

8.1

M28

 

Globular cluster

Sagittarius

6.9

M29

 

Open cluster

Cygnus

6.6

M30

 

Globular cluster

Capricornus

7.5

M31

The Andromeda Galaxy

Spiral galaxy

Andromeda

3.4

M32

Satellite galaxy of M31

Elliptical galaxy

Andromeda

8.2

M33

The Triangulum Galaxy

Spiral galaxy

Triangulum

5.7

M34

 

Open cluster

Perseus

5.2

M35

 

Open cluster

Gemini

5.1

M36

 

Open cluster

Auriga

6.0

M37

 

Open cluster

Auriga

5.6

M38

 

Open cluster

Auriga

6.4

M39

 

Open cluster

Cygnus

4.6

M40

Winnecke 4

Double Star

Ursa Major

8.0

M41

 

Open cluster

Canis Major

4.5

M42

The Great Orion Nebula

Diffuse nebula

Orion

4.0

M43

Part of the Orion Nebula

Diffuse nebula

Orion

9.0

M44

The Beehive Cluster, Praesepe

Open cluster

Cancer

3.1

M45

"The Pleiades or The Seven Sisters

Open cluster

Taurus

1.2

M46

 

Open cluster

Puppis

6.1

M47

 

Open cluster

Puppis

4.4

M48

 

Open cluster

Hydra

5.8

M49

 

Elliptical galaxy

Virgo

8.4

M50

 

Open cluster

Monoceros

5.9

M51

The Whirlpool Galaxy

Spiral galaxy

Canes Venatici

8.1

M52

 

Open cluster

Cassiopeia

6.9

M53

 

Globular cluster

Coma Berenices

7.7

M54

 

Globular cluster

Sagittarius

7.7

M55

 

Globular cluster

Sagittarius

7.0

M56

 

Globular cluster

Lyra

8.2

M57

The Ring Nebula

Planetary nebula

Lyra

9.0

M58

 

Spiral galaxy

Virgo

9.8

M59

 

Elliptical galaxy

Virgo

9.8

M60

 

Elliptical galaxy

Virgo

8.8

M61

 

Spiral galaxy

Virgo

9.7

M62

 

Globular cluster

Ophiuchus

6.6

M63

Sunflower galaxy

Spiral galaxy

Canes Venatici

8.6

M64

Blackeye galaxy

Spiral galaxy

Coma Berenices

8.5

M65

 

Spiral galaxy

Leo

9.3

M66

 

Spiral galaxy

Leo

9.0

M67

 

Open cluster

Cancer

6.9

M68

 

Globular cluster

Hydra

8.2

M69

 

Globular cluster

Sagittarius

7.7

M70

 

Globular cluster

Sagittarius

8.1

M71

 

Globular cluster

Sagitta

8.3

M72

 

Globular cluster

Aquarius

9.4

M73

 

Open cluster

Aquarius

5.0

M74

 

Spiral galaxy

Pisces

9.2

M75

 

Globular cluster

Sagittarius

8.6

M76

The Little Dumbell, Cork, or Butterfly

Planetary nebula

Perseus

11.5

M77

 

Spiral galaxy

Cetus

8.8

M78

 

diffuse reflection nebula

Orion

8.0

M79

 

Globular cluster

Lepus

8.0

M80

 

Globular cluster

Scorpius

7.2

M81

Bode's Galaxy

Spiral galaxy

Ursa Major

6.8

M82

The Cigar Galaxy

Irregular galaxy

Ursa Major

8.4

M83

The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy

Spiral galaxy

Hydra

10.1

M84

 

Lenticular galaxy

Virgo

9.3

M85

 

Lenticular galaxy

Coma Berenices

9.3

M86

 

Lenticular galaxy

Virgo

9.2

M87

Virgo A

Elliptical galaxy

Virgo

8.6

M88

 

Spiral galaxy

Coma Berenices

9.5

M89

 

Elliptical galaxy

Virgo

9.8

M90

 

Spiral galaxy

Virgo

9.5

M91

 

Spiral galaxy

Coma Berenices

10.2

M92

 

Globular cluster

Hercules

6.5

M93

 

Open cluster

Puppis

6.2

M94

 

Spiral galaxy

Canes Venatici

8.1

M95

 

Spiral galaxy

Leo

9.7

M96

 

Spiral galaxy

Leo

9.2

M97

The Owl Nebula

Planetary nebula

Ursa Major

11.2

M98

 

Spiral galaxy

Coma Berenices

10.1

M99

 

Spiral galaxy

Coma Berenices

9.8

M100

 

Spiral galaxy

Coma Berenices

9.4

M101

The Pinwheel Galaxy

Spiral galaxy

Ursa Major

7.7

M102

Possible dupe of M101

Lenticular galaxy

Draco

10.0

M103

 

Open cluster

Cassiopeia

7.4

M104

The Sombrero Galaxy

Spiral galaxy

Virgo

8.3

M105

 

Elliptical galaxy

Leo

9.3

M106

 

Spiral galaxy

Canes Venatici

8.3

M107

 

Globular cluster

Ophiuchus

8.1

M108

 

Spiral galaxy

Ursa Major

10.0

M109

 

Spiral galaxy

Ursa Major

9.8

M110

Satellite galaxy of M31

Elliptical galaxy

Andromeda

8.0

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