Messier catalog


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Messier catalog

(mĕsyā`), systematic list of nebulae and star clusters. A first list, compiled and published in 1771 by Charles Messier, contained 45 objects. The final list, published in 1784, contained 103 objects; some of these were later removed from the list. Of the remaining objects, about 50 are extragalactic nebulae, i.e., galaxies. Designations from Messier's catalog are frequently used to refer to the brighter nebulae and star clusters; for example, M31 is the Andromeda Galaxy, M1 the Crab Nebula, M42 the Great Nebula in Orion, and M45 the Pleiades.

Messier Catalog

(mess -ee-ay, mess-yay ) A catalog of the brightest ‘nebulae’ prepared by the French astronomer Charles Messier and printed in final form in 1784. Messier compiled the list in order to avoid confusion of these cloudlike objects with comets, for which he was a keen searcher. 103 celestial objects, which appeared fuzzy and extended in telescopes of the time, were listed and given a number preceded by the letter M. This is the object's Messier number, an example being M42: the Orion nebula. It was later found that most of the objects were not true nebulae but galaxies and star clusters. Seven more objects were later added to Messier's list, bringing the total number of cataloged items to 110. See Table 8, backmatter; NGC.
References in periodicals archive ?
Today astronomical readers have a shelf-filling variety of books surveying the Messier catalog, and every one we have seen credits Darquier.
The first image in the Messier catalog, called M1, was that of the Crab Nebula, which Messier mistook for the Halley's Comet - his inspiration for creating his catalog.
8) At 3,600 light-years, M93 is one of the more distant open clusters in the Messier catalog.
Since Messier's time the Messier catalog has developed and matured, in several stages.
It's plausible that Mechain was in fact describing NGC 5866, and identifying M102 with this galaxy nicely fills out the Messier catalog.
During that brief period, it's possible to log all 109 objects in the Messier catalog in a single night.
Spiral galaxy M109 in Ursa Major sports one of the most distinct central bars of any galaxy in the Messier catalog.
Indeed, this 8th-magnitude object holds the distinction of being the most elusive open cluster in the Messier catalog.
According to the website cited above, the Herschel Catalog is considered less reliable than the much smaller Messier Catalog in terms of duplications and other errors.
Indeed, of the 39 specimens in the Messier catalog, only two are much more than tiny blurs in ordinary binos.
Lying some 68,000 light-years away in Sagittarius, M75 is the second most distant globular cluster in the Messier catalog.
ALTHOUGH GALAXIES dominate the list of deep-sky objects in the Messier catalog, they're also the most difficult to observe.