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ASTRO 101

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Charles Messier 1730 - 1817 The objects of the
Messier Catalog

From 1758 to 1782 Charles Messier, a comet-hunting French astronomer (1730 - 1817), sought to catalog the location of deepsky objects that could easily be mistaken for comets in small telescopes.

His list contains a few more than 100 diffuse objects. The actual number is controversial because of problems with identifying certain objects. M40 may not exist at all, or at best is a dim double star pair. M102 is probably a duplicate entry of M101.

Today the list is considered the sky's very best showpiece objects for deepsky enthusiasts. All the objects can be seen with small amateur telescopes and many can be seen with binoculars.



Click the thumbnails for larger displays of the images.

[M1]
M1 Crab Nebula
supernova remnant
in Taurus
  [M2]
M2
globular cluster
in Aquarius
  [M3]
M3
globular cluster
in Canes Venatici
  [M4]
M4
globular cluster
in Scorpius
  [M5]
M5
globular cluster
in Serpens Caput
  [M6]
M6 Butterfly Cluster
open cluster
in Scorpius
  [M7]
M7 Ptolemy's Cluster
open cluster
in Scorpius
  [M8]
M8 Lagoon Nebula
diffuse nebula
in Sagittarius
  [M9]
M9
globular cluster
in Ophiuchus
 [M10]
M10
globular cluster
in Ophiuchus
 [M11]
M11 Wild Duck Cluster
open cluster
in Scutum
 [M12]
M12
globular cluster
in Ophiuchus
 [M13]
M13 Hercules Cluster
globular cluster
in Hercules
 [M14]
M14
globular cluster
in Ophiuchus
 [M15]
M15
globular cluster
in Pegasus
 [M16]
M16 Eagle Nebula
open cluster
in Serpens Cauda
 [M17]
M17 Swan Nebula
diffuse nebula
in Sagittarius
 [M18]
M18
open cluster
in Sagittarius
 [M19]
M19
globular cluster
in Ophiuchus
 [M20]
M20 Trifid Nebula
diffuse nebula
in Sagittarius
 [M21]
M21
open cluster
in Sagittarius
 [M22]
M22
globular cluster
in Sagittarius
 [M23]
M23
open cluster
in Sagittarius
 [M24]
M24
Milky Way patch
in Sagittarius
 [M25]
M25
open cluster
in Sagittarius
 [M26]
M26
open cluster
in Scutum
 [M27]
M27 Dumbbell Nebula
planetary nebula
in Vulpecula
 [M28]
M28
globular cluster
in Sagittarius
 [M29]
M29
open cluster
in Cygnus
 [M30]
M30
globular cluster
in Capricornus
 [M31]
M31 Andromeda Galaxy
spiral galaxy
in Andromeda
 [M32]
M32 Satellite of M31
elliptical galaxy
in Andromeda
 [M33]
M33 Pinwheel Galaxy
spiral galaxy
in Triangulum
 [M34]
M34
open cluster
in Perseus
 [M35]
M35
open cluster
in Gemini
 [M36]
M36
open cluster
in Auriga
 [M37]
M37
open cluster
in Auriga
 [M38]
M38
open cluster
in Auriga
 [M39]
M39
open cluster
in Cygnus
 [M40]
M40
double star WNC4
in Ursa Major
 [M41]
M41
open cluster
in Canis Major
 [M42]
M42 Orion Nebula
diffuse nebula
in Orion
 [M43]
M43
diffuse nebula
in Orion
 [M44]
M44 Beehive
open cluster
in Cancer
 [M45]
M45 Pleiades
open cluster
in Taurus
 [M46]
M46
open cluster
in Puppis
 [M47]
M47
open cluster
in Puppis
 [M48]
M48
open cluster
in Hydra
 [M49]
M49
elliptical galaxy
in Virgo
 [M50]
M50
open cluster
in Monoceros
 [M51]
M51 Whirlpool Galaxy
spiral galaxy
in Canes Venatici
 [M52]
M52
open cluster
in Cassiopeia
 [M53]
M53
globular cluster
in Coma Berenices
 [M54]
M54
globular cluster
in Sagittarius
 [M55]
M55
globular cluster
in Sagittarius
 [M56]
M56
globular cluster
in Lyra
 [M57]
M57 Ring Nebula
planetary nebula
in Lyra
 [M58]
M58
spiral galaxy
in Virgo
 [M59]
M59
elliptical galaxy
in Virgo
 [M60]
M60
elliptical galaxy
in Virgo
 [M61]
M61
spiral galaxy
in Virgo
 [M62]
M62
globular cluster
in Ophiuchus
 [M63]
M63 Sunflower Galaxy
spiral galaxy
in Canes Venatici
 [M64]
M64 Blackeye Galaxy
spiral galaxy
in Coma Berenices
 [M65]
M65
spiral galaxy
in Leo
 [M66]
M66
spiral galaxy
in Leo
 [M67]
M67
open cluster
in Cancer
 [M68]
M68
globular cluster
in Hydra
 [M69]
M69
globular cluster
in Sagittarius
 [M70]
M70
globular cluster
in Sagittarius
 [M71]
M71
globular cluster
in Sagitta
 [M72]
M72
globular cluster
in Aquarius
 [M73]
M73
open cluster
in Aquarius
 [M74]
M74
spiral galaxy
in Pisces
 [M75]
M75
globular cluster
in Sagittarius
 [M76]
M76 Little Dumbell
planetary nebula
in Perseus
 [M77]
M77
spiral galaxy
in Cetus
 [M78]
M78
reflection nebula
in Orion
 [M79]
M79
globular cluster
in Lepus
 [M80]
M80
globular cluster
in Scorpius
 [M81]
M81 Bode's Galaxy
spiral galaxy
in Ursa Major
 [M82]
M82 Cigar Galaxy
irregular galaxy
in Ursa Major
 [M83]
M83 Southern Pinwheel
spiral galaxy
in Hydra
 [M84]
M84
lenticular galaxy
in Virgo
 [M85]
M85
lenticular galaxy
in Coma Berenices
 [M86]
M86
lenticular galaxy
in Virgo
 [M87]
M87 Virgo A
elliptical galaxy
in Virgo
 [M88]
M88
spiral galaxy
in Coma Berenices
 [M89]
M89
elliptical galaxy
in Virgo
 [M90]
M90
spiral galaxy
in Virgo
 [M91]
M91
spiral galaxy
in Coma Berenices
 [M92]
M92
globular cluster
in Hercules
 [M93]
M93
open cluster
in Puppis
 [M94]
M94
spiral galaxy
in Canes Venatici
 [M95]
M95
spiral galaxy
in Leo
 [M96]
M96
spiral galaxy
in Leo
 [M97]
M97 Owl Nebula
planetary nebula
in Ursa Major
 [M98]
M98
spiral galaxy
in Coma Berenices
 [M99]
M99
spiral galaxy
in Coma Berenices
[M100]
M100
spiral galaxy
in Coma Berenices
[M101]
M101 Pinwheel Galaxy
spiral galaxy
in Ursa Major
[M102]
M102 Dupe of M101?
lenticular galaxy
in Draco
[M103]
M103
open cluster
in Casseopeia
[M104]
M104 Sombrero Galaxy
spiral galaxy
in Virgo
[M105]
M105
elliptical galaxy
in Leo
[M106]
M106
spiral galaxy
in Canes Venatici
[M107]
M107
globular cluster
in Ophiuchus
[M108]
M108
spiral galaxy
in Ursa Major
[M109]
M109
spiral galaxy
in Ursa Major
[M110]
M110 satellite of M31
elliptical galaxy
in Andromeda