Deep Sky collections and catalogs similar to Messier's

This list is also available in a slightly more systematically organized format

Besides the more comprehensive professional catalogs which came into use after Messier's list, several similar lists have been compiled, first because Messier had not captured all showpieces even in the Northern skies (he simply cataloged what came into his field of view, more or less by chance, and what he could measure), and he never went to the Southern hemisphere (not even to latitudes south of Paris, which is at about 49 degrees Northern latitude). This lack of completeness, connected with a certain arbitrariness, gave rise to several people to fill in with similar object collections, although these are not of the same importance in history. Some of these catalogs are available online and listed below:

Objects, especially those which are fainter and less suited for amateur observations, are often designated by catalog numbers from professional catalogs; look at a list of some common deep sky catalogs.

If you know of further collections of Deep Sky objects suited for amateur observing (or "work-thru"), please notify me.

Hartmut Frommert
Christine Kronberg

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Definite Version: February 8, 1998 Last Modification: August 10, 2011