Messier object

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Messier Catalog
All messier objects (numbered).jpg
All Messier objects, photographed by an amateur astronomer
Alternative namesMessier Catalogue
Survey typeAstronomical catalogue
Named after Charles Messier
Published1774 (preliminary version)
Commons-logo.svg Related media on Wikimedia Commons

The Messier objects are a set of 110 astronomical objects catalogued by the French astronomer Charles Messier in his Catalogue des Nébuleuses et des Amas d'Étoiles (Catalogue of Nebulae and Star Clusters). Because Messier was only interested in finding comets, he created a list of those non-comet objects that frustrated his hunt for them. The compilation of this list, in collaboration with his assistant Pierre Méchain, is known as the Messier catalogue. This catalogue of objects is one of the most famous lists of astronomical objects, and many Messier objects are still referenced by their Messier number. [1] The catalogue includes most of the astronomical deep-sky objects that can easily be observed from Earth's Northern Hemisphere; many Messier objects are extremely popular targets for amateur astronomers. [2]

Contents

A preliminary version first appeared in 1774 in the Memoirs of the French Academy of Sciences for the year 1771. [3] [4] [5] The first version of Messier's catalogue contained 45 objects which were not yet numbered. Eighteen of the objects were discovered by Messier, the rest being previously observed by other astronomers. [6] By 1780 the catalogue had increased to 70 objects. [7] The final version of the catalogue containing 103 objects was published in 1781 in the Connaissance des Temps for the year 1784. [8] [4] However, due to what was thought for a long time to be the incorrect addition of Messier 102, the total number remained 102. Other astronomers, using side notes in Messier's texts, eventually filled out the list up to 110 objects. [9]

The catalogue consists of a diverse range of astronomical objects, from star clusters and nebulae to galaxies. For example, Messier 1 is a supernova remnant, known as the Crab Nebula, and the great spiral Andromeda Galaxy is M 31. Further inclusions followed, the first addition came from Nicolas Camille Flammarion in 1921, who added Messier 104 after finding Messier's side note in his 1781 edition exemplar of the catalogue. M 105 to M 107 were added by Helen Sawyer Hogg in 1947, M 108 and M 109 by Owen Gingerich in 1960, and M 110 by Kenneth Glyn Jones in 1967. [10]

Lists and editions

Charles Messier Charles Messier.jpg
Charles Messier

The first edition of 1774 covered 45 objects (M1 to M45). The total list published by Messier in 1781 contained 103 objects, but the list was expanded through successive additions by other astronomers, motivated by notes in Messier's and Méchain's texts indicating that at least one of them knew of the additional objects. The first such addition came from Nicolas Camille Flammarion in 1921, who added Messier 104 after finding a note Messier made in a copy of the 1781 edition of the catalogue. M 105 to M 107 were added by Helen Sawyer Hogg in 1947, M 108 and M 109 by Owen Gingerich in 1960, and M 110 by Kenneth Glyn Jones in 1967. [11] M 102 was observed by Méchain, who communicated his notes to Messier. Méchain later concluded that this object was simply a re-observation of M 101, though some sources suggest that the object Méchain observed was the galaxy NGC 5866 and identify that as M 102. [12]

Messier's final catalogue was included in the Connaissance des Temps pour l'Année 1784 [Knowledge of the Times for the Year 1784], the French official yearly publication of astronomical ephemerides. [8] [4]

Messier lived and did his astronomical work at the Hôtel de Cluny (now the Musée national du Moyen Âge), in Paris, France. The list he compiled contains only objects found in the sky area he could observe: from the north celestial pole to a celestial latitude of about −35.7° . He did not observe or list objects visible only from farther south, such as the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. [13]

Observations

The Messier catalogue comprises nearly all the most spectacular examples of the five types of deep-sky objectdiffuse nebulae, planetary nebulae, open clusters, globular clusters, and galaxies – visible from European latitudes. Furthermore, almost all of the Messier objects are among the closest to Earth in their respective classes, which makes them heavily studied with professional class instruments that today can resolve very small and visually spectacular details in them. A summary of the astrophysics of each Messier object can be found in the Concise Catalog of Deep-sky Objects. [14]

Since these objects could be observed visually with the relatively small-aperture refracting telescope (approximately 100 mm ≈ 4 inches) used by Messier to study the sky, they are among the brightest and thus most attractive astronomical objects (popularly called deep-sky objects) observable from Earth, and are popular targets for visual study and astrophotography available to modern amateur astronomers using larger aperture equipment. In early spring, astronomers sometimes gather for "Messier marathons", when all of the objects can be viewed over a single night. [15] [16]

Messier objects

   Open cluster
   Globular cluster
   Diffuse nebula
   Planetary nebula
   Supernova remnant
   Galaxy
  Other
Messier number NGC/IC numberCommon namePictureObject typeDistance (kly) Constellation Apparent magnitude Right ascension Declination
NGC 1952Crab Nebula Crab Nebula.jpg Supernova remnant Taurus 8.405h 34m 31.94s+22° 00′ 52.2″
NGC 7089 Messier2 - HST - Potw1913a.jpg Globular cluster 33 Aquarius 6.321h 33m 27.02s−00° 49′ 23.7″
NGC 5272 Messier3 - HST - Potw1914a.jpg Globular cluster 33.9 Canes Venatici 6.213h 42m 11.62s+28° 22′ 38.2″
NGC 6121 Globular star cluster Messier 4.jpg Globular cluster 7.2 Scorpius 5.916h 23m 35.22s−26° 31′ 32.7″
NGC 5904 Messier 5 - HST.jpg Globular cluster 24.5 Serpens 6.715h 18m 33.22s+02° 04′ 51.7″
NGC 6405Butterfly Cluster M6a.jpg Open cluster 1.6 Scorpius 4.217h 40.1m−32° 13′
NGC 6475Ptolemy Cluster The star cluster Messier 7.jpg Open cluster Scorpius 3.317h 53m 51.2s−34° 47′ 34″
NGC 6523Lagoon Nebula LagoonHunterWilson.jpg Nebula with cluster4.1 Sagittarius 6.018h 03m 37s−24° 23′ 12″
NGC 6333 Globular cluster Messier 9 (captured by the Hubble Space Telescope).tif Globular cluster 25.8 Ophiuchus 8.417h 19m 11.78s−18° 30′ 58.5″
NGC 6254 Messier 10 Hubble WikiSky.jpg Globular cluster 14.3 Ophiuchus 6.416h 57m 8.92s−04° 05′ 58.07″
NGC 6705Wild Duck Cluster Eso1430a.jpg Open cluster 6.2 Scutum 6.318h 51.1m−06° 16′
NGC 6218 M12 Hubble.jpg Globular cluster 15.7 Ophiuchus 7.716h 47m 14.18s−01° 56′ 54.7″
NGC 6205Great Globular Cluster in Hercules Messier 13 Hubble WikiSky.jpg Globular cluster 22.2 Hercules 5.816h 41m 41.24s+36° 27′ 35.5″
NGC 6402 Messier object 014.jpg Globular cluster 30.3 Ophiuchus 8.317h 37m 36.15s−03° 14′ 45.3″
NGC 7078 Messier 15 Hubble WikiSky.jpg Globular cluster 33 Pegasus 6.221h 29m 58.33s+12° 10′ 01.2″
NGC 6611Eagle Nebula Eagle Nebula from ESO.jpg H II region nebula with cluster7 Serpens 6.018h 18m 48s−13° 49′
NGC 6618Omega, Swan, Horseshoe, or Lobster Nebula The star formation region Messier 17.jpg H II region nebula with cluster Sagittarius 6.018h 20m 26s−16° 10′ 36″
NGC 6613 Messier18.jpg Open cluster 4.9 Sagittarius 7.518h 19.9m−17° 08′
NGC 6273 Messier 19 Hubble WikiSky.jpg Globular cluster 28.7 Ophiuchus 7.517h 02m 37.69s−26° 16′ 04.6″
NGC 6514Trifid Nebula Trifid.nebula.arp.750pix.jpg H II region nebula with cluster5.2 Sagittarius 6.318h 02m 23s−23° 01′ 48″
NGC 6531 Messier object 021.jpg Open cluster 4.25 Sagittarius 6.518h 04.6m−22° 30′
NGC 6656Sagittarius Cluster Messier 22 Hubble WikiSky.jpg Globular cluster Sagittarius 5.118h 36m 23.94s−23° 54′ 17.1″
NGC 6494 Messier object 023.jpg Open cluster 2.15 Sagittarius 6.917h 56.8m−19° 01′
IC 4715Small Sagittarius Star Cloud Messier 24 Colombari crop invert.jpg Milky Way star cloud Sagittarius 2.518h 17m−18° 33′
IC 4725 Messier object 025.jpg Open cluster 2.0 Sagittarius 4.618h 31.6m−19° 15′
NGC 6694 Messier 26.jpg Open cluster 5.0 Scutum 8.018h 45.2m−09° 24′
NGC 6853Dumbbell Nebula M27 - Dumbbell Nebula.jpg Planetary nebula Vulpecula 7.519h 59m 36.340s+22° 43′ 16.09″
NGC 6626 Nebulous, but no nebula Messier 28.jpg Globular cluster 17.9 Sagittarius 7.718h 24m 32.89s−24° 52′ 11.4″
NGC 6913 Cooling Tower Messier 29.jpg Open cluster 7.2 Cygnus 7.120h 23m 56s+38° 31′ 24″
NGC 7099 Messier 30 Hubble WikiSky.jpg Globular cluster Capricornus 7.721h 40m 22.12−23° 10′ 47.5″
NGC 224Andromeda Galaxy Andromeda Galaxy (with h-alpha).jpg Spiral galaxy Andromeda 3.400h 42m 44.3s+41° 16′ 9″
NGC 221Small Andromeda Galaxy M32 Lanoue.png Dwarf elliptical galaxy Andromeda 8.100h 42m 41.8s+40° 51′ 55″
NGC 598Triangulum/Pinwheel Galaxy VST snaps a very detailed view of the Triangulum Galaxy.jpg Spiral galaxy Triangulum 5.701h 33m 50.02s+30° 39′ 36.7″
NGC 1039 M34 2mass atlas.jpg Open cluster 1.5 Perseus 5.502h 42.1m+42° 46′
NGC 2168 M35atlas.jpg Open cluster 2.8 Gemini 5.306h 09.1m+24° 21′
NGC 1960 M36a.jpg Open cluster 4.1 Auriga 6.305h 36m 12s+34° 08′ 4″
NGC 2099 M37a.jpg Open cluster 4.511 Auriga 6.205h 52m 18s+32° 33′ 02″
NGC 1912Starfish Cluster M38 Open Cluster.jpg Open cluster 4.2 Auriga 7.405h 28m 42s+35° 51′ 18″
NGC 7092 M39atlas.jpg Open cluster 0.8244 Cygnus 5.521h 31m 42s+48° 26′ 00″
Winnecke-4 Messier object 40.jpg Star System 0.51 Ursa Major 9.712h 22m 12.5s+58° 4′ 59″
NGC 2287 Messier 041 2MASS.jpg Open cluster 2.3 Canis Major 4.506h 46.0m−20° 46′
NGC 1976Orion Nebula Orion Nebula - Hubble 2006 mosaic 18000.jpg H II region nebula Orion 4.005h 35m 17.3−05° 23′ 28″
NGC 1982De Mairan's Nebula M43 HST.jpg H II region nebula (part of the Orion Nebula)
1.6 Orion 9.005h 35.6m−05° 16′
NGC 2632Beehive Cluster or Praesepe Messier 44 2018.jpg Open cluster 0.577 Cancer 3.708h 40.4m+19° 59′
Pleiades Bob Star - M45 Carranza Field (by).jpg Open cluster Taurus 1.603h 47m 24s+24° 07′ 00″
NGC 2437 M46a.jpg Open cluster 5.4 Puppis 6.107h 41.8m−14° 49′
NGC 2422 M47a.jpg Open cluster 1.6 Puppis 4.207h 36.6m−14° 30′
NGC 2548 M48a.jpg Open cluster 1.5 Hydra 5.508h 13.7m−05° 45′
NGC 4472 Messier 49 Hubble WikiSky.jpg Elliptical galaxy Virgo 9.412h 29m 46.7s+08° 00′ 02″
NGC 2323 M50a.jpg Open cluster 3.2 Monoceros 5.907h 03.2m−08° 20′
NGC 5194, NGC 5195 Whirlpool Galaxy Messier51 sRGB.jpg Spiral galaxy Canes Venatici 8.413h 29m 52.7s+47° 11′ 43″
NGC 7654 M52atlas.jpg Open cluster 5.0 Cassiopeia 5.023h 24.2m+61° 35′
NGC 5024 Globular Cluster M53.jpg Globular cluster 58 Coma Berenices 8.313h 12m 55.25s+18° 10′ 05.4″
NGC 6715 Messier54.jpg Globular cluster 87.4 Sagittarius 8.418h 55m 03.33s−30° 28′ 47.5″
NGC 6809 Messier55.jpg Globular cluster 17.6 Sagittarius 7.419h 39m 59.71s−30° 57′ 53.1″
NGC 6779 M56-LRGB.jpg Globular cluster 32.9 Lyra 8.319h 16m 35.57s+30° 11′ 00.5″
NGC 6720Ring Nebula M57 The Ring Nebula.JPG Planetary nebula Lyra 8.818h 53m 35.079s+33° 01′ 45.03″
NGC 4579 M58s (visible).jpg Barred Spiral galaxy Virgo 10.512h 37m 43.5s+11° 49′ 05″
NGC 4621 Messier59 - HST - Potw1921a.jpg Elliptical galaxy Virgo 10.612h 42m 02.3s+11° 38′ 49″
NGC 4649 Messier 60 Hubble WikiSky.jpg Elliptical galaxy Virgo 9.812h 43m 39.6s+11° 33′ 09″
NGC 4303 Messier61 - ESO - Potw1901a.tif Spiral galaxy Virgo 10.212h 21m 54.9s+04° 28′ 25″
NGC 6266 Messier object 062.jpg Globular cluster 22.2 Ophiuchus 7.417h 01m 12.60s−30° 06′ 44.5″
NGC 5055Sunflower Galaxy M63s.jpg Spiral galaxy 37,000 Canes Venatici 9.313h 15m 49.3s+42° 01′ 45″
NGC 4826Black Eye Galaxy Blackeyegalaxy.jpg Spiral galaxy Coma Berenices 9.412h 56m 43.7s+21° 40′ 58″
NGC 3623Leo Triplet M65.jpg Barred Spiral galaxy Leo 10.311h 18m 55.9s+13° 05′ 32″
NGC 3627Leo Triplet Phot-33c-03-fullres.jpg Barred Spiral galaxy Leo 8.911h 20m 15.0s+12° 59′ 30″
NGC 2682 Messier object 067.jpg Open cluster Cancer 6.108h 51.3m+11° 49′
NGC 4590 Messier object 068.jpg Globular cluster 33.6 Hydra 9.712h 39m 27.98s−26° 44′ 38.6″
NGC 6637 Messier object 069.jpg Globular cluster 29.7 Sagittarius 8.318h 31m 23.10s−32° 20′ 53.1″
NGC 6681 Messier70.jpg Globular cluster 29.4 Sagittarius 9.118h 43m 12.76s−32° 17′ 31.6″
NGC 6838 Messier71.jpg Globular cluster 13.0 Sagitta 6.119h 53m 46.49s+18° 46′ 45.1″
NGC 6981 Messier72.jpg Globular cluster Aquarius 9.420h 53m 27.70s−12° 32′ 14.3″
NGC 6994 Messier 073 2MASS.jpg Asterism Aquarius 9.020h 58m 54s−12° 38′
NGC 628Phantom Galaxy [91] Messier 74 by HST.jpg Spiral galaxy Pisces 10.001h 36m 41.8s+15° 47′ 01″
NGC 6864 Messier75.jpg Globular cluster 67.5 Sagittarius 9.220h 06m 04.75s−21° 55′ 16.2″
NGC 650, NGC 651Little Dumbbell Nebula M76-RL5-DDmin-Gamma-LRGB 883x628.jpg Planetary nebula 2.5 Perseus 10.101h 42.4m+51° 34′ 31″
NGC 1068Cetus A M77 Galaxy from the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter Schulman Telescope courtesy Adam Block.jpg Spiral galaxy 47,000 Cetus 9.602h 42m 40.7s−00° 00′ 48″
NGC 2068 Messier 78.jpg Diffuse nebula 1.6 Orion 8.305h 46m 46.7s+00° 00′ 50″
NGC 1904 M79a.jpg Globular cluster 41 Lepus 8.605h 24m 10.59s−24° 31′ 27.3″
NGC 6093 A Swarm of Ancient Stars - GPN-2000-000930.jpg Globular cluster 32.6 Scorpius 7.916h 17m 02.41s−22° 58′ 33.9″
NGC 3031Bode's Galaxy Messier 81 HST.jpg Spiral galaxy Ursa Major 6.909h 55m 33.2s+69° 3′ 55″
NGC 3034Cigar Galaxy JPEG M82 Cigar Galaxyjn.jpg Starburst galaxy Ursa Major 8.409h 55m 52.2s+69° 40′ 47″
NGC 5236Southern Pinwheel Galaxy M83 - Southern Pinwheel.jpg Barred Spiral galaxy 14,700 Hydra 7.513h 37m 00.9s−29° 51′ 57″
NGC 4374 Messier 84 nucleus Hubble.jpg Lenticular galaxy Virgo 10.112h 25m 03.7s+12° 53′ 13″
NGC 4382 Messier 85 Hubble WikiSky.jpg Lenticular galaxy Coma Berenices 10.012h 25m 24.0s+18° 11′ 28″
NGC 4406 Messier 86 Hubble WikiSky.jpg Lenticular galaxy Virgo 9.812h 26m 11.7s+12° 56′ 46″
NGC 4486Virgo A Messier 87 Hubble WikiSky.jpg Elliptical galaxy Virgo 9.612h 30m 49.42338s+12° 23′ 28.0439″
NGC 4501 M88s.jpg Spiral galaxy Coma Berenices 10.412h 31m 59.2s+14° 25′ 14″
NGC 4552 Messier89 - HST - Potw1902a.tif Elliptical galaxy Virgo 10.712h 35m 39.8s+12° 33′ 23″
NGC 4569 Messier90 - SDSS DR14 (panorama).jpg Spiral galaxy Virgo 10.312h 36m 49.8s+13° 09′ 46″
NGC 4548 M91s.jpg Barred Spiral galaxy Coma Berenices 11.012h 35m 26.4s+14° 29′ 47″
NGC 6341 Globular Cluster M92.JPG Globular cluster 26.7 Hercules 6.317h 17m 07.39s+43° 08′ 09.4″
NGC 2447 Messier object 093.jpg Open cluster 3.6 Puppis 6.007h 44.6m−23° 52′
NGC 4736Croc's Eye or Cat's Eye Messier 94.jpg Spiral galaxy Canes Venatici 9.012h 50m 53.1s+41° 07′ 14″
NGC 3351 The VLT goes lion hunting.jpg Barred Spiral galaxy Leo 11.410h 43m 57.7s+11° 42′ 14″
NGC 3368 NGC 3368 ESO.jpg Spiral galaxy Leo 10.110h 46m 45.7s+11° 49′ 12″
NGC 3587Owl Nebula M97-stargazer-obs.jpg Planetary nebula 2.03 Ursa Major 9.911h 14m 47.734s+55° 01′ 08.50″
NGC 4192 M-98.jpg Spiral galaxy 44,400 Coma Berenices 11.012h 13m 48.292s+14° 54′ 01.69″
NGC 4254 M99.jpg Spiral galaxy Coma Berenices 10.412h 18m 49.6s+14° 24′ 59″
NGC 4321 Messier 100 and Supernova SN 2006X.jpg Spiral galaxy 55,000 Coma Berenices 10.112h 22m 54.9s+15° 49′ 21″
NGC 5457Pinwheel Galaxy M101 hires STScI-PRC2006-10a.jpg Spiral galaxy Ursa Major 7.914h 03m 12.6s+54° 20′ 57″
NGC 5866Spindle Galaxy Ngc5866 hst big.png Lenticular galaxy Draco 10.715h 06m 29.5s+55° 45′ 48″
NGC 581 Messier object 103.jpg Open cluster 10 Cassiopeia 7.401h 33.2m+60° 42′
NGC 4594Sombrero Galaxy M104 ngc4594 sombrero galaxy hi-res.jpg Spiral galaxy Virgo 9.012h 39m 59.4s−11° 37′ 23″
NGC 3379 Messier105 - HST - Potw1901a.jpg Elliptical galaxy Leo 10.210h 47m 49.6s+12° 34′ 54″
NGC 4258 M106 - Messier 106 Galaxy.jpg Spiral galaxy Canes Venatici 9.112h 18m 57.5s+47° 18′ 14″
NGC 6171 Messier object 107.jpg Globular cluster 20.9 Ophiuchus 8.916h 32m 31.86s−13° 03′ 13.6″
NGC 3556 Messier108 - SDSS DR 14 (panorama).jpg Barred Spiral galaxy 46,000 Ursa Major 10.711h 11m 31.0s+55° 40′ 27″
NGC 3992 Messier109 - SDSS DR14 (panorama).jpg Barred Spiral galaxy Ursa Major 10.611h 57m 36.0s+53° 22′ 28″
NGC 205 Messier object 110.jpg Dwarf elliptical galaxy Andromeda 9.000h 40m 22.1s+41° 41′ 07″

Star chart of Messier objects

NOTE: Messier 102 is missing from this chart.

Star chart depicting the Messier objects plotted on a rectangular grid representing right ascension and declination MessierStarChart.svg
Star chart depicting the Messier objects plotted on a rectangular grid representing right ascension and declination

See also

Related Research Articles

Charles Messier 18th- and 19th-century French astronomer

Charles Messier was a French astronomer. He published an astronomical catalogue consisting of 110 nebulae and faint star clusters, which came to be known as the Messier objects. Messier's purpose for the catalogue was to help astronomical observers distinguish between permanent and transient visually diffuse objects in the sky.

Nebula Interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases

A nebula is a distinct body of interstellar clouds. Originally, the term was used to describe any diffused astronomical object, including galaxies beyond the Milky Way. The Andromeda Galaxy, for instance, was once referred to as the Andromeda Nebula before the true nature of galaxies was confirmed in the early 20th century by Vesto Slipher, Edwin Hubble and others. Edwin Hubble discovered that most nebulae are associated with stars and illuminated by starlight. He also helped categorize nebulae based on the type of light spectra they produced.

Ring Nebula Planetary nebula in Lyra

The Ring Nebula is a planetary nebula in the mildly northern constellation of Lyra. Such a nebula is formed when a star, during the last stages of its evolution before becoming a white dwarf, expels a vast luminous envelope of ionized gas into the surrounding interstellar space.

Messier 100 Grand design intermediate spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices

Messier 100 is a grand design intermediate spiral galaxy in the southern part of the mildly northern Coma Berenices. It is one of the brightest and largest galaxies in the Virgo Cluster and is approximately 55 million light-years from our galaxy, its diameter being 107,000 light years, and being about 60% as large. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781 and 29 days later seen again and entered by Charles Messier in his catalogue "of nebulae and star clusters".. It was one of the first spiral galaxies to be discovered, and was listed as one of fourteen spiral nebulae by Lord William Parsons of Rosse in 1850. NGC 4323 and NGC 4328 are satellite galaxies of M100; the former is connected with it by a bridge of luminous matter.

Messier marathon

A Messier marathon is an attempt, usually organized by amateur astronomers, to find as many Messier objects as possible during one night. The Messier catalogue was compiled by French astronomer Charles Messier during the late 18th century and consists of 110 relatively bright deep-sky objects.

Pinwheel Galaxy Face-on spiral galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major

The Pinwheel Galaxy is a face-on spiral galaxy 21 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781 and was communicated that year to Charles Messier, who verified its position for inclusion in the Messier Catalogue as one of its final entries.

Pierre Méchain French mathematician and astronomer

Pierre François André Méchain was a French astronomer and surveyor who, with Charles Messier, was a major contributor to the early study of deep-sky objects and comets.

Whirlpool Galaxy Grand-design spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici

The Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as Messier 51a, M51a, and NGC 5194, is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy with a Seyfert 2 active galactic nucleus. It lies in the constellation Canes Venatici, and was the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral galaxy. Its distance is estimated to be 31 million light-years away from Earth.

Omega Centauri Globular cluster in the constellation Centaurus

Omega Centauri is a globular cluster in the constellation of Centaurus that was first identified as a non-stellar object by Edmond Halley in 1677. Located at a distance of 17,090 light-years, it is the largest known globular cluster in the Milky Way at a diameter of roughly 150 light-years. It is estimated to contain approximately 10 million stars, and a total mass equivalent to 4 million solar masses, making it the most massive known globular cluster in the Milky Way.

Messier 102 is a galaxy listed in the Messier Catalogue that cannot be unambiguously identified. Its original discoverer Pierre Méchain said that it was a duplicate observation of Messier 101, but more historical evidence favors that it is NGC 5866, although other galaxies have been suggested as possible identities. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) considers it to be the same as NGC 5866.

Messier 58 Barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Virgo

Messier 58 is an intermediate barred spiral galaxy with a weak inner ring structure located within the constellation Virgo, approximately 68 million light-years away from Earth. It was discovered by Charles Messier on April 15, 1779 and is one of four barred spiral galaxies that appear in Messier's catalogue. M58 is one of the brightest galaxies in the Virgo Cluster. From 1779 it was arguably the farthest known astronomical object until the release of the New General Catalogue in the 1880s and even more so the publishing of redshift values in the 1920s.

Messier 74 Face-on spiral galaxy in the constellation Pisces

Messier 74 is a large spiral galaxy in the equatorial constellation Pisces. It is about 32 million light-years away from Earth. The galaxy contains two clearly defined spiral arms and is therefore used as an archetypal example of a grand design spiral galaxy. The galaxy's low surface brightness makes it the most difficult Messier object for amateur astronomers to observe. Its relatively large angular size and the galaxy's face-on orientation make it an ideal object for professional astronomers who want to study spiral arm structure and spiral density waves. It is estimated that M74 hosts about 100 billion stars.

Messier 91 Barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices

Messier 91 is a barred spiral galaxy that is found in the south of Coma Berenices. It is in the local supercluster and is part of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. It is about 63 million light-years away from our galaxy. It was the last of a group of eight "nebulae" – - the term 'galaxy' only coming into use for these objects once it was realized in the 20th century that they were extragalactic – discovered by Charles Messier in 1781.

Owl Nebula Planetary Nebula in the constellation Ursa Major

The Owl Nebula is a starburst ("planetary") nebula approximately 2,030 light years away in the northern constellation Ursa Major. The estimated age of the Owl Nebula is about 8,000 years. It is approximately circular in cross-section with faint internal structure. It was formed from the outflow of material from the stellar wind of the central star as it evolved along the asymptotic giant branch. The nebula is arranged in three concentric shells/envelopes, with the outermost shell being about 20–30% larger than the inner shell. A mildly owl-like appearance of the nebula is the result of an inner shell that is not circularly symmetric, but instead forms a barrel-like structure aligned at an angle of 45° to the line of sight.

Messier 98 Intermediate spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices

Messier 98, M98 or NGC 4192, is an intermediate spiral galaxy about 44.4 million light-years away in slightly northerly Coma Berenices, about 6° to the east of the bright star Denebola. It was discovered by French astronomer Pierre Méchain on 1781, along with nearby M99 and M100, and was catalogued by compatriot Charles Messier 29 days later in his Catalogue des Nébuleuses & des amas d'Étoiles. It has a blueshift, denoting ignoring of its fast other movement, it is approaching at about 140 km/s.

Messier 99 Grand design spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices

Messier 99 or M99, also known as NGC 4254, is a grand design spiral galaxy in the northern constellation Coma Berenices approximately 15,000,000 parsecs from the Milky Way. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain on 17 March 1781. The discovery was then reported to Charles Messier, who included the object in the Messier Catalogue of comet-like objects. It was one of the first galaxies in which a spiral pattern was seen. This pattern was first identified by Lord Rosse in the spring of 1846.

Messier 105 Elliptical galaxy in the constellation Leo

Messier 105 or M105, also known as NGC 3379, is an elliptical galaxy 36.6 million light-years away in the equatorial constellation of Leo. It's the biggest elliptical galaxy in the Messier catalogue that is not in the Virgo cluster. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781, just a few days after he discovered the nearby galaxies Messier 95 and Messier 96. This galaxy is one of a few not object-verified by Messier so omitted in the editions of his Catalogue of his era. It was appended when Helen S. Hogg found a letter by Méchain locating and describing this object which matched those aspects under its first-published name, NGC 3379.

Caldwell catalogue

The Caldwell catalogue is an astronomical catalogue of 109 star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies for observation by amateur astronomers. The list was compiled by Patrick Moore as a complement to the Messier catalogue.

The Herschel 400 catalogue is a subset of William Herschel's original Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars, selected by Brenda F. Guzman (Branchett), Lydel Guzman, Paul Jones, James Morrison, Peggy Taylor and Sara Saey of the Ancient City Astronomy Club in St. Augustine, Florida, United States c. 1980. They decided to generate the list after reading a letter published in Sky & Telescope by James Mullaney of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Astronomical catalog Tabulated list of similar astronomical objects

An astronomical catalog or catalogue is a list or tabulation of astronomical objects, typically grouped together because they share a common type, morphology, origin, means of detection, or method of discovery. The oldest and largest are star catalogues. Hundreds have been published, including general ones and special ones for such items as infrared stars, variable stars, giant stars, multiple star systems, star clusters, and so forth.

References

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