Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.

The Messier Catalogue

By Tim Trott, 28th March 2013 in Astronomy

The Messier Objects are a set of astronomical objects catalogued by Charles Messier in his catalogue of Nebulae and Star Clusters first published in 1774. The original motivation behind the catalogue was that Messier was a comet hunter, and was frustrated by objects which resembled but were not comets. He, therefore, compiled a list of these objects.

The first edition covered 45 Messier objects numbered M1 to M45. The total list consists of 110 Messier objects, ranging from M1 to M110. The final catalogue was published in 1781 and printed in the Connaissance des Temps in 1784. Many of these objects are still known by their Messier number.

Charles Messier compiled a list of Messier Objects
Charles Messier

Because the Messier list was compiled by astronomers in the Northern Hemisphere, it contains only objects from the north celestial pole to a celestial latitude of about -35°. Many impressive Southern objects, such as the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are excluded from the list. Because all of the Messier objects are visible with binoculars or small telescopes (under favourable conditions), they are popular viewing objects for amateur astronomers. In early spring, astronomers sometimes gather for "Messier Marathons", when all of the objects can be viewed over a single night.

The New General Catalogue (NGC) is the most well-known catalogue of deep sky objects in amateur astronomy. It contains nearly 8,000 objects, known as the NGC objects. The NGC is one of the largest comprehensive catalogues, as it includes all types of deep sky objects (not specialised to just galaxies for instance).

The catalogue was compiled in the 1880s by J. L. E. Dreyer using observations mostly from William Herschel, and then subsequently expanded with two Index Catalogues (IC I & IC II), adding nearly 5,000 objects.

Here is a list of the full 110 Messier Objects and some details about them. It was compiled using information mainly from the SEDS database and from Wikipedia.

You may also wish to look at Sir Patrick Moore's Caldwell Catalogue.

The Messier Objects

 

#Common NameConst.LocMagMonthSize (arc min)TypeNGC
1The Crab NebulaTaurus05h 34.5mRA
22° 01mDEC
9February6 x 4Supernova Remnant1952
2Aquarius21h 33.5mRA
-00° 49mDEC
8December12.9Globular Cluster7089
3Cains Venactici13h 42.2mRA
28° 23mDEC
7July16.2Globular Cluster5272
4Scorpius16h 23.6mRA
-26° 32mDEC
8July26.3Globular Cluster6121
5Serpens15h 18.6mRA
02° 05mDEC
7July17.4Globular Cluster5904
6The Butterfly ClusterScorpius17h 40.1mRA
-32° 13mDEC
4August15Open Cluster6405
7The Ptolemy ClusterScorpius17h 53.9mRA
-34° 49mDEC
4August80Open Cluster6475
8The Lagoon NebulaSagittarius18h 03.8mRA
-24° 23mDEC
5August60x35Open Cluster with Nebulosity6523
9Ophiuchus17h 19.2mRA
-18° 31mDEC
9August9.3Globular Cluster6333
10Ophiuchus16h 57.1mRA
-04° 06mDEC
8August15.1Globular Cluster6254
11The Wild Duck ClusterScutum18h 51.1mRA
-06° 16mDEC
7October14Open Cluster6705
12Ophiuchus16h 47.2mRA
-01° 57mDEC
8August14.5Globular Cluster6218
13The Hercules ClusterHercules16h 41.7mRA
36° 28mDEC
7September16.6Globular Cluster6205
14Ophiuchus17h 37.6mRA
-03° 15mDEC
10September11.7Globular Cluster6402
15Pegasus21h 30.0mRA
12° 10mDEC
8December12.3Globular Cluster7078
16Serpens18h 18.8mRA
-13° 47mDEC
6October7Open Cluster with Nebulosity6611
17Omega NebulaSagittarius18h 20.8mRA
-16° 11mDEC
7October11Open Cluster with Nebulosity6618
18Sagittarius18h 19.9mRA
-17° 08mDEC
8October9Open Cluster6613
19Ophiuchus17h 02.6mRA
-26° 16mDEC
8August13.5Globular Cluster6273
20The Trifid NebulaSagittarius18h 02.6mRA
-23° 02mDEC
5August28Open Cluster with Nebulosity6514
21Sagittarius18h 04.6mRA
-22° 30mDEC
7August13Open Cluster6531
22Sagittarius18h 36.4mRA
-29° 54mDEC
6September24Globular Cluster6656
23Sagittarius17h 56.8mRA
-19° 01mDEC
6August27Open Cluster6494
24The Sagittarius Star CloudSagittarius18h 16.9mRA
-18° 29mDEC
12October5Galaxy0
25Sagittarius18h 31.6mRA
-19° 15mDEC
5October40Open Cluster0
26Scutum18h 45.2mRA
-09° 24mDEC
10October15Open Cluster6694
27The Dumbbell NebulaVulpecula19h 59.6mRA
22° 43mDEC
8November8.0x5.7Planetary Nebula6853
28Sagittarius18h 24.5mRA
-24° 52mDEC
8September11.2Globular Cluster6626
29Cygnus20h 23.9mRA
38° 32mDEC
9December7Open Cluster6913
30Capricornus21h 40.4mRA
-23° 11mDEC
8November11Globular Cluster7099
31The Andromeda GalaxyAndromeda00h 42.7mRA
41° 16mDEC
4December178Galaxy224
32Andromeda00h 42.7mRA
40° 52mDEC
10December8 x 6Galaxy221
33Triangulum GalaxyTriangulum01h 33.9mRA
30° 39mDEC
7January73x45Galaxy598
34Perseus02h 42.0mRA
42° 47mDEC
6January35Open Cluster1039
35Gemini06h 08.9mRA
24° 20mDEC
6February28Open Cluster2168
36Auriga05h 36.1mRA
34° 08mDEC
6February12Open Cluster1960
37Auriga05h 52.4mRA
32° 33mDEC
6February24Open Cluster2099
38Auriga05h 28.7mRA
35° 50mDEC
7February21Open Cluster1912
39Cygnus21h 32.2mRA
48° 26mDEC
6December32Open Cluster7092
40Ursa Major12h 22.4mRA
58° 05mDEC
9April0.8Double Star0
41Canis Major06h 47.0mRA
-20° 44mDEC
5March38Open Cluster2287
42The Orion NebulaOrion05h 35.4mRA
-05° 27mDEC
3February85x60Diffuse Nebula1976
43de Mairan's NebulaOrion05h 35.6mRA
-05° 16mDEC
7February20x15Diffuse Nebula1982
44PraesepeCancer08h 40.1mRA
19° 59mDEC
4March95Open Cluster2632
45The PleiadesTaurus03h 47.0mRA
24° 07mDEC
1February110Open Cluster0
46Puppis07h 41.8mRA
-14° 49mDEC
6March27Open Cluster2437
47Puppis07h 36.6mRA
-14° 30mDEC
4March30Open Cluster2422
48Hydra08h 13.8mRA
-05° 48mDEC
6March54Open Cluster2548
49Virgo12h 29.8mRA
08° 00mDEC
10May9x7.5Galaxy4472
50Monoceros07h 03.2mRA
-08° 20mDEC
7March16Open Cluster2323
51The Whirlpool GalaxyCains Venactici13h 29.9mRA
47° 12mDEC
8May11x7Galaxy5194
52Cassiopeia23h 24.2mRA
61° 35mDEC
8January13Open Cluster7654
53Coma Berenices13h 12.9mRA
18° 10mDEC
8July12.6Globular Cluster5024
54Sagittarius18h 55.1mRA
-30° 29mDEC
8September9.1Globular Cluster6715
55Sagittarius19h 40.0mRA
-30° 58mDEC
7October19Globular Cluster6809
56Lyra19h 16.6mRA
30° 11mDEC
10November7.1Globular Cluster6779
57The Ring NebulaLyra18h 53.6mRA
33° 02mDEC
10November1.4x1.0Planetary Nebula6720
58Virgo12h 37.7mRA
11° 49mDEC
11June5.5x4.5Galaxy4579
59Virgo12h 42.0mRA
11° 39mDEC
12June5x3.5Galaxy4621
60Virgo12h 43.7mRA
11° 33mDEC
10June7x6Galaxy4649
61Virgo12h 21.9mRA
04° 28mDEC
10May6x5.5Galaxy4303
62Ophiuchus17h 01.2mRA
-30° 07mDEC
8August14.1Globular Cluster6266
63The Sunflower GalaxyCains Venactici13h 15.8mRA
42° 02mDEC
8May10x6Galaxy5055
64The Blackeye GalaxyComa Berenices12h 56.7mRA
21° 41mDEC
9May9.3x5.4Galaxy4826
65Leo11h 18.9mRA
13° 05mDEC
10April8x1.5Galaxy3623
66Leo11h 20.2mRA
12° 59mDEC
10April8x2.5Galaxy3627
67Cancer08h 50.4mRA
11° 49mDEC
8March30Open Cluster2682
68Hydra12h 39.5mRA
-26° 45mDEC
8July12Globular Cluster4590
69Sagittarius18h 34.4mRA
-32° 21mDEC
9September7.1Globular Cluster6637
70Sagittarius18h 43.2mRA
-32° 18mDEC
9September7.8Globular Cluster6681
71Sagitta19h 53.8mRA
18° 47mDEC
8November7.2Globular Cluster6838
72Aquarius20h 53.5mRA
-12° 32mDEC
10November5.9Globular Cluster6981
73Aquarius20h 58.9mRA
-12° 38mDEC
9November2.8Asterism6994
74Pisces01h 36.7mRA
15° 47mDEC
10January10.2x9.5Galaxy628
75Sagittarius20h 06.1mRA
-21° 55mDEC
10October6Globular Cluster6864
76The Little DumbbellPerseus01h 42.4mRA
51° 34mDEC
12January2.7x1.8Planetary Nebula650
77Cetus ACetus02h 42.7mRA
-00° 01mDEC
10November7x6Galaxy1068
78Orion05h 46.7mRA
00° 03mDEC
8February8x6Diffuse Nebula2068
79Lepus05h 24.5mRA
-24° 33mDEC
8February8.7Globular Cluster1904
80Scorpius16h 17.0mRA
-22° 59mDEC
8July8.9Globular Cluster6093
81Bodems GalaxyUrsa Major09h 55.6mRA
69° 04mDEC
8March21x10Galaxy3031
82Cigar GalaxyUrsa Major09h 55.8mRA
69° 41mDEC
10March9x4Galaxy3034
83Hydra13h 37.0mRA
-29° 52mDEC
8July11x10Galaxy5236
84Virgo12h 25.1mRA
12° 53mDEC
11June5Galaxy4374
85Coma Berenices12h 25.4mRA
18° 11mDEC
10May7.1 x 5.2Galaxy4382
86Virgo12h 26.2mRA
12° 57mDEC
11June7.5x5.5Galaxy4406
87Virgo AVirgo12h 30.8mRA
12° 24mDEC
11June7Galaxy4486
88Coma Berenices12h 32.0mRA
14° 25mDEC
11June7 x 4Galaxy4501
89Virgo12h 35.7mRA
12° 33mDEC
12June4Galaxy4552
90Virgo12h 36.8mRA
13° 10mDEC
11June9.5x4.5Galaxy4569
91Coma Berenices12h 35.4mRA
14° 30mDEC
12June5.4x4.4Galaxy4548
92Hercules17h 17.1mRA
43° 08mDEC
8September11.2Globular Cluster6341
93Puppis07h 44.6mRA
-23° 52mDEC
6March22Open Cluster2447
93Puppis07h 44.6mRA
-23° 52mDEC
6March22Open Cluster2447
94Cains Venactici12h 50.9mRA
41° 07mDEC
10May7 x 3Galaxy4736
95Leo10h 44.0mRA
11° 42mDEC
11April4.4x3.3Galaxy3351
96Leo10h 46.8mRA
11° 49mDEC
10April6x4Galaxy3368
97The Owl NebulaUrsa Major11h 14.8mRA
55° 01mDEC
12April3.4 x 3.3Planetary Nebula3587
98Coma Berenices12h 13.8mRA
14° 54mDEC
11June9.5 x 3.2Galaxy4192
99Coma Berenices12h 18.8mRA
14° 25mDEC
10June5.4 x 4.8Galaxy4254
100Coma Berenices12h 22.9mRA
15° 49mDEC
10June7x6Galaxy4321
101Pinwheel GalaxyUrsa Major14h 03.3mRA
54° 21mDEC
8May22Galaxy5457
102Spindle GalaxyDraco15h 06.5mRA
55° 45mDEC
10May5.2x2.3Galaxy5866
103Cassiopeia01h 33.2mRA
60° 42mDEC
7January6Open Cluster581
104Sombrero GalaxyVirgo12h 40.0mRA
-11° 37mDEC
10May9x4Galaxy4594
105Leo10h 47.8mRA
12° 35mDEC
11April2Galaxy3379
106Cains Venactici12h 19.0mRA
47° 18mDEC
10April19x8Galaxy4258
107Ophiuchus16h 32.5mRA
-13° 03mDEC
10August10Globular Cluster6171
108Ursa Major11h 11.5mRA
55° 40mDEC
11April8x1Galaxy3556
109Ursa Major11h 57.6mRA
53° 23mDEC
11April7x4Galaxy3992
110Andromeda00h 40.4mRA
41° 41mDEC
10December17x10Galaxy205

 

 

 

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