Messier Object Observations and Descriptions

Find (mostly historical) observations and descriptions for each Messier object from this index.
M-# NGC-# Type Const. RA(h:m) Dec(d:m) Mag  dim(')  d(kly)   Name

1 1952 SNR Tau 05:34.5 +22:01 8.4 6x4 6.3 Crab Nebula
2 7089 GlCl Aqr 21:33.5 -00:49 6.5 12.9 36.2
3 5272 GlCl CVn 13:42.2 +28:23 6.2 16.2 30.6
4 6121 GlCl Sco 16:23.6 -26:32 5.6 26.3 6.8
5 5904 GlCl SerCap 15:18.6 +02:05 5.6 17.4 22.8
6 6405 OpCl Sco 17:40.1 -32:13 4.3 25.0 2 Butterfly Cluster
7 6475 OpCl Sco 17:53.9 -34:49 3.3 80.0 0.8 The Scorpion's Tail, Ptolemy's Cluster
8 6523 DifN Sgr 18:03.8 -24:23 6.0 90x40 5.2 Lagoon Nebula
9 6333 GlCl Oph 17:19.2 -18:31 7.7 9.3 26.4
10 6254 GlCl Oph 16:57.1 -04:06 6.6 15.1 13.4
11 6705 OpCl Sct 18:51.1 -06:16 6.3 14.0 6 Wild Duck Cluster
12 6218 GlCl Oph 16:47.2 -01:57 6.7 14.5 17.6
13 6205 GlCl Her 16:41.7 +36:28 5.8 16.6 22.8 Hercules Globular Cluster
14 6402 GlCl Oph 17:37.6 -03:15 7.6 11.7 27.4
15 7078 GlCl Peg 21:30.0 +12:10 6.2 12.3 32.6
16 6611 OpCl SerCau 18:18.8 -13:47 6.4 7.0 7 associated with the Eagle Nebula
17 6618 DifN Sgr 18:20.8 -16:11 7.0 11.0 5 Omega, Swan, Horseshoe, or Lobster Nebula
18 6613 OpCl Sgr 18:19.9 -17:08 7.5 9.0 4.9
19 6273 GlCl Oph 17:02.6 -26:16 6.8 13.5 27.1
20 6514 DifN Sgr 18:02.6 -23:02 9.0 28.0 5.2 Trifid Nebula
21 6531 OpCl Sgr 18:04.6 -22:30 6.5 13.0 4.25
22 6656 GlCl Sgr 18:36.4 -23:54 5.1 24.0 10.1
23 6494 OpCl Sgr 17:56.8 -19:01 6.9 27.0 2.15
24 6603 MWP Sgr 18:16.9 -18:29 4.6 90 10 Sagittarius Star Cloud, Delle Caustiche
25 I4725 OpCl Sgr 18:31.6 -19:15 6.5 40.0 2
26 6694 OpCl Sct 18:45.2 -09:24 8.0 15.0 5
27 6853 Pl N Vul 19:59.6 +22:43 7.4 8.0x5.7 1.25 Dumbbell Nebula
28 6626 GlCl Sgr 18:24.5 -24:52 6.8 11.2 17.9
29 6913 OpCl Cyg 20:23.9 +38:32 7.1 7.0 4.0
30 7099 GlCl Cap 21:40.4 -23:11 7.2 11.0 24.8
31 224 Sp G And 00:42.7 +41:16 3.4 178x63 2900 Andromeda Galaxy
32 221 El G And 00:42.7 +40:52 8.1 8x6 2900 A Satellite of the Andromeda Galaxy, M31
33 598 Sp G Tri 01:33.9 +30:39 5.7 73x45 3000 Triangulum Galaxy
34 1039 OpCl Per 02:42.0 +42:47 5.5 35.0 1.4
35 2168 OpCl Gem 06:08.9 +24:20 5.3 28.0 2.8
36 1960 OpCl Aur 05:36.1 +34:08 6.3 12.0 4.1
37 2099 OpCl Aur 05:52.4 +32:33 6.2 24.0 4.4
38 1912 OpCl Aur 05:28.4 +35:50 7.4 21.0 4.2
39 7092 OpCl Cyg 21:32.2 +48:26 5.2 32.0 0.825
40 2 St UMa 12:22.4 +58:05 8.4 0.8 0.51 Winnecke 4
41 2287 OpCl CMa 06:46.0 -20:44 4.6 38.0 2.3
42 1976 DifN Ori 05:35.4 -05:27 4.0 85x60 1.6 Orion Nebula
43 1982 DifN Ori 05:35.6 -05:16 9.0 20x15 1.6 De Mairan's Nebula
44 2632 OpCl Cnc 08:40.1 +19:59 3.7 95.0 0.577 Beehive Cluster, Praesepe
45 OpCl Tau 03:47.0 +24:07 1.6 110.0 0.38 Pleiades
46 2437 OpCl Pup 07:41.8 -14:49 6.0 27.0 5.4
47 2422 OpCl Pup 07:36.6 -14:30 5.2 30.0 1.6
48 2548 OpCl Hya 08:13.8 -05:48 5.5 54.0 1.5
49 4472 El G Vir 12:29.8 +08:00 8.4 9x7.5 60000
50 2323 OpCl Mon 07:03.2 -08:20 6.3 16.0 3
51 5194 Sp G CVn 13:29.9 +47:12 8.4 11x7 37000 Whirlpool Galaxy
51B 5195 IrrG CVn 13:30.0 +47:16 9.6 6.4x4.6 37000
52 7654 OpCl Cas 23:24.2 +61:35 7.3 13.0 5.0
53 5024 GlCl Com 13:12.9 +18:10 7.6 12.6 56.4
54 6715 GlCl Sgr 18:55.1 -30:29 7.6 9.1 82.8
55 6809 GlCl Sgr 19:40.0 -30:58 6.3 19.0 16.6
56 6779 GlCl Lyr 19:16.6 +30:11 8.3 7.1 31.6
57 6720 Pl N Lyr 18:53.6 +33:02 8.8 1.4x1.0 4.1 Ring Nebula
58 4579 Sp G Vir 12:37.7 +11:49 9.7 5.5x4.5 60000
59 4621 El G Vir 12:42.0 +11:39 9.6 5x3.5 60000
60 4649 El G Vir 12:43.7 +11:33 8.8 7x6 60000
61 4303 Sp G Vir 12:21.9 +04:28 9.7 6x5.5 60000
62 6266 GlCl Oph 17:01.2 -30:07 6.5 14.1 21.5
63 5055 Sp G CVn 13:15.8 +42:02 8.6 10x6 37000 Sunflower Galaxy
64 4826 Sp G Com 12:56.7 +21:41 8.5 9.3x5.4 19000 Blackeye Galaxy
65 3623 Sp G Leo 11:18.9 +13:05 9.3 8x1.5 35000 in the Leo Triplett
66 3627 Sp G Leo 11:20.2 +12:59 8.9 8x2.5 35000 in the Leo Triplett
67 2682 OpCl Cnc 08:50.4 +11:49 6.1 30.0 2.7
68 4590 GlCl Hya 12:39.5 -26:45 7.8 12.0 32.3
69 6637 GlCl Sgr 18:31.4 -32:21 7.6 7.1 26.7
70 6681 GlCl Sgr 18:43.2 -32:18 7.9 7.8 28.0
71 6838 GlCl Sge 19:53.8 +18:47 8.2 7.2 11.7
72 6981 GlCl Aqr 20:53.5 -12:32 9.3 5.9 52.8
73 6994 4 St Aqr 20:58.9 -12:38 9.0 2.8 2.0
74 628 Sp G Psc 01:36.7 +15:47 9.4 10.2x9.5 35000
75 6864 GlCl Sgr 20:06.1 -21:55 8.5 6.0 57.7
76 650 Pl N Per 01:42.4 +51:34 10.1 2.7x1.8 3.4 Little Dumbbell Nebula
77 1068 Sp G Cet 02:42.7 -00:01 8.9 7x6 60000 Cetus A
78 2068 DifN Ori 05:46.7 +00:03 8.3 8x6 1.6
79 1904 GlCl Lep 05:24.5 -24:33 7.7 8.7 41.1
80 6093 GlCl Sco 16:17.0 -22:59 7.3 8.9 27.4
81 3031 Sp G UMa 09:55.6 +69:04 6.9 21x10 12000 Bode's Galaxy
82 3034 IrrG UMa 09:55.8 +69:41 8.4 9x4 12000 Cigar Galaxy
83 5236 Sp G Hya 13:37.0 -29:52 7.6 11x10 15000 Southern Pinwheel
84 4374 S0 G Vir 12:25.1 +12:53 9.1 5.0 60000
85 4382 S0 G Com 12:25.4 +18:11 9.1 7.1x5.2 60000
86 4406 S0 G Vir 12:26.2 +12:57 8.9 7.5x5.5 60000
87 4486 El G Vir 12:30.8 +12:24 8.6 7.0 60000 Virgo A
88 4501 Sp G Com 12:32.0 +14:25 9.6 7x4 60000
89 4552 El G Vir 12:35.7 +12:33 9.8 4.0 60000
90 4569 Sp G Vir 12:36.8 +13:10 9.5 9.5x4.5 60000
91 4548 Sp G Com 12:35.4 +14:30 10.2 5.4x4.4 60000
92 6341 GlCl Her 17:17.1 +43:08 6.4 11.2 26.4
93 2447 OpCl Pup 07:44.6 -23:52 6.0 22.0 3.6
94 4736 Sp G CVn 12:50.9 +41:07 8.2 7x3 14500
95 3351 Sp G Leo 10:44.0 +11:42 9.7 4.4x3.3 38000
96 3368 Sp G Leo 10:46.8 +11:49 9.2 6x4 38000
97 3587 Pl N UMa 11:14.8 +55:01 9.9 3.4x3.3 2.6 Owl Nebula
98 4192 Sp G Com 12:13.8 +14:54 10.1 9.5x3.2 60000
99 4254 Sp G Com 12:18.8 +14:25 9.9 5.4x4.8 60000
100 4321 Sp G Com 12:22.9 +15:49 9.3 7x6 60000
101 5457 Sp G UMa 14:03.2 +54:21 7.9 22.0 27000 Pinwheel Galaxy
102 5866 S0 G Dra 15:06.5 +55:46 9.9 5.2x2.3 40000 Spindle Galaxy
103 581 OpCl Cas 01:33.2 +60:42 7.4 6.0 8
104 4594 Sp G Vir 12:40.0 -11:37 8.0 9x4 50000 Sombrero Galaxy
105 3379 El G Leo 10:47.8 +12:35 9.3 2.0 38000
106 4258 Sp G CVn 12:19.0 +47:18 8.4 19x8 25000
107 6171 GlCl Oph 16:32.5 -13:03 7.9 10.0 19.6
108 3556 Sp G UMa 11:11.5 +55:40 10.0 8x1 45000
109 3992 Sp G UMa 11:57.6 +53:23 9.8 7x4 55000
109B 3953 Sp G UMa 11:53.8 +52:20 10.1 7x4 55000
110 205 El G And 00:40.4 +41:41 8.5 17x10 2900 A Satellite of the Andromeda Galaxy, M31
Key:
M-#, NGC-#
Messier and NGC Catalog Number, respectively ("I" indicates IC No.)
Type
Object Type: SNR, Supernova Remnant; Pl N, Planetary Nebula; DifN, Diffuse Nebula; OpCl, Open Cluster; GlCl, Globular Cluster; Sp G, Spiral Galaxy; S0 G, S0 (Lenticular) Galaxy; El G, Elliptical Galaxy; IrrG, Irregular Galaxy; MWP, Milky Way Patch (Star Cloud); 2 St, Double Star; 4 St, Four Stars.
Const
Constellation
RA, Dec
Coordinates for Epoch 2000.0 (J2000.0): Right Ascension in hours and minutes (h:m), Declination in degrees and arc minutes (d:m)
Mag
Visual brightness in magnitudes
dim
Apparent dimension in arc minutes
d
Distance in thousands of light years ("kilo-lightyears", kly)
Name
Proper Name and remarks
Sources:
Messier, Méchain:
Charles Messier, Pierre Méchain. The Messier Catalog. Three editions 1771, 1780 and 1781. Also manuscript notes in the personal copy of his catalog, and various publications by Messier, notably a 1798 remark on his discovery of M110, and a letter of 1783 by Pierre Méchain.
Aristotle
Aristotle of Stageira. Probable observation of M41 described in his Meteorologica, c. 325 B.C. Also possibly M39.
Aratos
Aratos of Soloi. In his Phainomaina, described Praesepe (M44), the Pleiades (M45), and the Hyades.
Hipparchus
Hipparchus of Nicaea.
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy (Ptolemaios, Ptolemaeus). In his Almagest, lists 7 "nebulous" objects.
Al Sufi
Abd-al-Rahman Al Sufi. In his Book of Fixed Stars (c. 964 A.D.), mentions 8 "nebulous" objects, among them the Andromeda Galaxy (M31).
Ulugh Begh
Ulugh Begh (Mohammed Taragai Ibn Shah-rukh Ibn-Timur).
Johann Bayer
Johann Bayer.
Galileo
Galileo Galilei.
Peiresc
Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc.
Cysatus
Johann Baptist Cysatus.
Marius
Simon Marius.
Hodierna
Giovanni Battista Hodierna.
Hevelius
Johan Hevelius.
Bullialdus
Ismail Bullialdus.
Kirch
Gottfried Kirch.
Flamsteed
John Flamsteed.
Halley
Edmond Halley.
De Mairan
Jean-Jacques Dortous De Mairan.
Bevis
John Bevis. Found M1 in 1731 (see Messier 1781). Also note his Uranographia Britannica (London, 1750).
Derham
William Derham.
Maraldi
Jean-Dominique Maraldi (Maraldi II).
De Chéseaux
Philippe Loys De Chéseaux.
Legentil
Guillaume-Joseph-Hyacinthe-Jean-Baptiste Le Gentil de la Galaziere.
Lacaille
Nicholas Louis de Lacaille's catalog of 42 "nebulous stars."
Bode
Johann Elert Bode's "Complete Catalog of hitherto observed Nebulous Stars and Star Clusters." Also his 1782 "Catalog" of nebulae and clusters, extracted from his "Vorstellung der Gestirne."
Koehler
Johann Gottfried Koehler.
Darquier
Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix.
Pigott
Edward Pigott.
Oriani
Barnabas Oriani.
Caroline Herschel
Descriptions from her journals were quoted by William Herschel and some other authors. Many of the original descriptions were published only in 2005 by Michael Hoskin (Hoskin 2005).
William Herschel
Various publications, mostly in the Philosophical Transactions, in particular his Catalog of 2500 non-stellar objects. Also, J.L.E. Dreyer's compilation of Herschel's Unpublished Observations of Messier's Nebulae and Clusters.
Dunlop
James Dunlop.
John Herschel (1833 and 1847)
John Herschel.
Smyth
Admiral William H. Smyth. The Bedford Catalogue, From A Cycle Of Celestial Objects.
Rosse
Lassell
Webb
Secci
Julius Schmidt
John Herschel, General Catalogue (GC)
John Herschel.
Huggins
D'Arrest
Rümker
Winnecke
Roberts
Vogel
J.L.E. Dreyer (1877). Supplement to the General Catalogue (GC)
1877. [X.] Supplement to Sir John Herschel's "General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars." Royal Irish Academy Transactions, Vol. XXVI (26). Science. P. 381-426. GC 5080-6251.
J.L.E. Dreyer, New general Catalogue (NGC) and Index Catalogue (IC)
R.H. Allen
Bailey
Solon I. Bailey
Barnard
Agnes M. Clerke
Gore
John Ellard Gore (1902). A series of three articles on the Messier Objects in "The Observatory."
Lick VIII (Keeler 1908)
Pease
Flammarion
Shapley, Davies (1917)
Curtis
Oswald Thomas (1934)
Helen Sawyer Hogg (1947)
Gingerich (1953)
T.F. Morris (1959)
Gingerich (1960)
Owen Gingerich.
Mallas (1966)
John Mallas.
William C. Williams (1969)
Sullentic, Tifft: RNGC (1975)
References


Hartmut Frommert
Christine Kronberg
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Last Modification: April 27, 2016