Messier object

The Messier objects are a set of 110 astronomical objects cataloged 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 interested in finding only comets, he created a list of 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 some astronomical objects that can be observed from Earth's Northern Hemisphere such as deep-sky objects, a characteristic which makes the Messier objects extremely popular targets for amateur astronomers.[2]

A preliminary version first appeared in the Memoirs of the French Academy of Sciences in 1771,[3][4] and the last item was added in 1966 by Kenneth Glyn Jones, based on Messier's observations.[4] The first version of Messier's catalogue contained 45 objects and was published in 1774 in the journal of the French Academy of Sciences in Paris. In addition to his own discoveries, this version included objects previously observed by other astronomers, with only 17 of the 45 objects being Messier's.[5] By 1780 the catalogue had increased to 80 objects. The final version of the catalogue containing 103 objects was published in 1781 in the Connaissance des Temps for the year 1784.[6] 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.[7]

The catalogue consists of a diverse range of astronomical objects, ranging 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 M31. Many further inclusions followed in the next century when 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. M105 to M107 were added by Helen Sawyer Hogg in 1947, M108 and M109 by Owen Gingerich in 1960, and M110 by Kenneth Glyn Jones in 1967.[8]

Messier object
All messier objects (numbered)
Messier objects, taken and compiled by an amateur astronomer
Alternative namesMessier Catalogue

Lists and editions

The first edition of 1771 covered 45 objects numbered 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 catalog. M105 to M107 were added by Helen Sawyer Hogg in 1947, M108 and M109 by Owen Gingerich in 1960, and M110 by Kenneth Glyn Jones in 1967.[9] M102 was observed by Méchain, who communicated his notes to Messier. Méchain later concluded that this object was simply a re-observation of M101, though some sources suggest that the object Méchain observed was the galaxy NGC 5866 and identify that as M102.[10]

Messier's final catalogue was included in the Connaissance des Temps for 1784 (Knowledge of Time; published in 1781), the French official yearly publication of astronomical ephemerides.[11][12] These objects are still known by their "Messier number" from this list.

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.

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.[13]

Since these objects could be observed visually with the relatively small-aperture refracting telescope (approximately 100 mm, or 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.[14]

Messier objects

 Open cluster
 Globular cluster
 Diffuse nebula
 Planetary nebula
 Supernova remnant
 Galaxy
 Other
Messier number NGC/IC number Common name Picture Object type Distance (kly) Constellation Apparent magnitude Right ascension Declination
M1[15] NGC 1952 Crab Nebula Crab Nebula Supernova remnant 4.9–8.1 Taurus 8.4 05h 34m 31.94s +22° 00′ 52.2″
M2[16] NGC 7089   Messier 2 Hubble WikiSky Cluster, globular 33 Aquarius 6.3 21h 33m 27.02s −00° 49′ 23.7″
M3[17] NGC 5272   M3LRGB 891x674 Cluster, globular 33.9 Canes Venatici 6.2 13h 42m 11.62s +28° 22′ 38.2″
M4[18] NGC 6121   Messier 4 Hubble WikiSky Cluster, globular 7.2 Scorpius 5.9 16h 23m 35.22s −26° 31′ 32.7″
M5[19] NGC 5904   Messier 5 - HST Cluster, globular 24.5 Serpens 6.7 15h 18m 33.22s +02° 04′ 51.7″
M6[20] NGC 6405 Butterfly Cluster M6a Cluster, open 1.6 Scorpius 4.2 17h 40.1m −32° 13′
M7[21] NGC 6475 Ptolemy Cluster Open-cluster-Messier-7.jpeg Cluster, open 0.65–1.31 Scorpius 3.3 17h 53m 51.2s −34° 47′ 34″
M8[22] NGC 6523 Lagoon Nebula LagoonHunterWilson Nebula with cluster 4.1 Sagittarius 6.0 18h 03m 37s −24° 23′ 12″
M9[23] NGC 6333   Messier object 009 Cluster, globular 25.8 Ophiuchus 8.4 17h 19m 11.78s −18° 30′ 58.5″
M10[24] NGC 6254   Messier 10 Hubble WikiSky Cluster, globular 14.3 Ophiuchus 6.4 16h 57m 8.92s −04° 05′ 58.07″
M11[25] NGC 6705 Wild Duck Cluster Messier11 Cluster, open 6.2 Scutum 6.3 18h 51.1m −06° 16′
M12[26] NGC 6218   M12 Hubble Cluster, globular 15.7 Ophiuchus 7.7 16h 47m 14.18s −01° 56′ 54.7″
M13[27] NGC 6205 Great Globular Cluster in Hercules Messier 13 Hubble WikiSky Cluster, globular 22.2 Hercules 5.8 16h 41m 41.24s +36° 27′ 35.5″
M14[28] NGC 6402   Messier object 014 Cluster, globular 30.3 Ophiuchus 8.3 17h 37m 36.15s −03° 14′ 45.3″
M15[29] NGC 7078 Messier 15 Hubble WikiSky Cluster, globular 33 Pegasus 6.2 21h 29m 58.33s +12° 10′ 01.2″
M16[30] NGC 6611 Eagle Nebula Fairy of Eagle Nebula.jpg Nebula, H II region with cluster 7 Serpens 6.0 18h 18m 48s −13° 49′
M17[31] NGC 6618 Omega, Swan, Horseshoe, or Lobster Nebula Messier 17 Nebula, H II region with cluster 5–6 Sagittarius 6.0 18h 20m 26s −16° 10′ 36″
M18[32] NGC 6613   Messier18 Cluster, open 4.9 Sagittarius 7.5 18h 19.9m −17° 08′
M19[33] NGC 6273   Messier object 019 Cluster, globular 28.7 Ophiuchus 7.5 17h 02m 37.69s −26° 16′ 04.6″
M20[34] NGC 6514 Trifid Nebula Trifid.nebula.arp.750pix Nebula, H II region with cluster 5.2 Sagittarius 6.3 18h 02m 23s −23° 01′ 48″
M21[35] NGC 6531   Messier object 021 Cluster, open 4.25 Sagittarius 6.5 18h 04.6m −22° 30′
M22[36] NGC 6656 Sagittarius Cluster Messier object 022 Cluster, globular 9.6–11.6 Sagittarius 5.1 18h 36m 23.94s −23° 54′ 17.1″
M23[37] NGC 6494   Messier object 023 Cluster, open 2.15 Sagittarius 6.9 17h 56.8m −19° 01′
M24[38] IC 4715 Sagittarius Star Cloud Messier 024 2MASS Milky Way star cloud ~10 Sagittarius 4.6 18h 17m −18° 29′
M25[39] IC 4725   Messier object 025 Cluster, open 2.0 Sagittarius 4.6 18h 31.6m −19° 15′
M26[40] NGC 6694   Messier object 026 Cluster, open 5.0 Scutum 8.0 18h 45.2m −09° 24′
M27[41] NGC 6853 Dumbbell Nebula Messier27 Nebula, planetary 1.148–1.52 Vulpecula 7.5 19h 59m 36.340s +22° 43′ 16.09″
M28[42] NGC 6626   Messier28 Cluster, globular 17.9 Sagittarius 7.7 18h 24m 32.89s −24° 52′ 11.4″
M29[43] NGC 6913 Cooling Tower Messier object 029 Cluster, open 7.2 Cygnus 7.1 20h 23m 56s +38° 31′ 24″
M30[44] NGC 7099   Messier object 030 Cluster, globular 27.8–31 Capricornus 7.7 21h 40m 22.12 −23° 10′ 47.5″
M31[45] NGC 224 Andromeda Galaxy Andromeda galaxy Galaxy, spiral 2,430–2,650 Andromeda 3.4 00h 42m 44.3s +41° 16′ 9″
M32[46] NGC 221   M32 Lanoue Galaxy, dwarf elliptical 2,410–2,570 Andromeda 8.1 00h 42m 41.8s +40° 51′ 55″
M33[47] NGC 598 Triangulum Galaxy M33 Galaxy, spiral 2,380–3,070 Triangulum 5.7 01h 33m 50.02s +30° 39′ 36.7″
M34[48] NGC 1039   M34 2mass atlas Cluster, open 1.5 Perseus 5.5 02h 42.1m +42° 46′
M35[49] NGC 2168   M35atlas Cluster, open 2.8 Gemini 5.3 06h 09.1m +24° 21′
M36[50] NGC 1960   M36a Cluster, open 4.1 Auriga 6.3 05h 36m 12s +34° 08′ 4″
M37[51] NGC 2099   M37a Cluster, open 4.511 Auriga 6.2 05h 52m 18s +32° 33′ 02″
M38[52] NGC 1912   Messier object 038 Cluster, open 4.2 Auriga 7.4 05h 28m 42s +35° 51′ 18″
M39[53] NGC 7092   Messier object 039 Cluster, open 0.8244 Cygnus 5.5 21h 31m 42s +48° 26′ 00″
M40[54]   Winnecke 4 Messier object 40 Double star WNC4 0.51 Ursa Major 9.7 12h 22m 12.5s +58° 4' 59"
M41[55] NGC 2287   Messier 041 2MASS Cluster, open 2.3 Canis Major 4.5 06h 46.0m −20° 46′
M42[56] NGC 1976 Orion Nebula Orion Nebula - Hubble 2006 mosaic 18000 Nebula, H II region 1.324–1.364 Orion 4.0 05h 35m 17.3 −05° 23′ 28″
M43[57] NGC 1982 De Mairan's Nebula Messier object 043 Nebula, H II region
(part of the Orion Nebula)
1.6 Orion 9.0 05h 35.6m −05° 16′
M44[58] NGC 2632 Beehive Cluster Messier 044 2MASS Cluster, open 0.577 Cancer 3.7 08h 40.4m +19° 59′
M45[59]   Pleiades Bob Star - M45 Carranza Field (by) Cluster, open 0.39–0.46 Taurus 1.6 03h 47m 24s +24° 07′ 00″
M46[60] NGC 2437   M46a Cluster, open 5.4 Puppis 6.1 07h 41.8m −14° 49′
M47[61] NGC 2422   M47a Cluster, open 1.6 Puppis 4.2 07h 36.6m −14° 30′
M48[62] NGC 2548   M48a Cluster, open 1.5 Hydra 5.5 08h 13.7m −05° 45′
M49[63] NGC 4472   Messier 49 Hubble WikiSky Galaxy, elliptical 53,600–58,200 Virgo 9.4 12h 29m 46.7s +08° 00′ 02″
M50[64] NGC 2323   M50a Cluster, open 3.2 Monoceros 5.9 07h 03.2m −08° 20′
M51[65] NGC 5194, NGC 5195 Whirlpool Galaxy Whirlpool (M51) Galaxy, spiral 19,000–27,000 Canes Venatici 8.4 13h 29m 52.7s +47° 11′ 43″
M52[66] NGC 7654   M52atlas Cluster, open 5.0 Cassiopeia 5.0 23h 24.2m +61° 35′
M53[67] NGC 5024   Globular Cluster M53 Cluster, globular 58 Coma Berenices 8.3 13h 12m 55.25s +18° 10′ 05.4″
M54[68] NGC 6715   Messier54 Cluster, globular 87.4 Sagittarius 8.4 18h 55m 03.33s −30° 28′ 47.5″
M55[69] NGC 6809   Messier55 Cluster, globular 17.6 Sagittarius 7.4 19h 39m 59.71s −30° 57′ 53.1″
M56[70] NGC 6779   M56-LRGB Cluster, globular 32.9 Lyra 8.3 19h 16m 35.57s +30° 11′ 00.5″
M57[71] NGC 6720 Ring Nebula Ring Nebula Nebula, planetary 1.6–3.8 Lyra 8.8 18h 53m 35.079s +33° 01′ 45.03″
M58[72] NGC 4579   M58s Galaxy, barred spiral ~63,000 Virgo 10.5 12h 37m 43.5s +11° 49′ 05″
M59[73] NGC 4621   Messier59 Galaxy, elliptical 55,000–65,000 Virgo 10.6 12h 42m 02.3s +11° 38′ 49″
M60[74] NGC 4649   Messier object 060 Galaxy, elliptical 51,000–59,000 Virgo 9.8 12h 43m 39.6s +11° 33′ 09″
M61[75] NGC 4303   Messier object 061 Galaxy, spiral 50,200–54,800 Virgo 10.2 12h 21m 54.9s +04° 28′ 25″
M62[76] NGC 6266   Messier object 062 Cluster, globular 22.2 Ophiuchus 7.4 17h 01m 12.60s −30° 06′ 44.5″
M63[77] NGC 5055 Sunflower Galaxy Messier 63 GALEX WikiSky Galaxy, spiral 37,000 Canes Venatici 9.3 13h 15m 49.3s +42° 01′ 45″
M64[78] NGC 4826 Black Eye Galaxy Blackeyegalaxy Galaxy, spiral 22,000–26,000 Coma Berenices 9.4 12h 56m 43.7s +21° 40′ 58″
M65[79] NGC 3623 Leo Triplet M65 Galaxy, barred spiral 41,000–42,000 Leo 10.3 11h 18m 55.9s +13° 05′ 32″
M66[80] NGC 3627 Leo Triplet Sig05-016 Galaxy, barred spiral 31,000–41,000 Leo 8.9 11h 20m 15.0s +12° 59′ 30″
M67[81] NGC 2682   Messier object 067 Cluster, open 2.61–2.93 Cancer 6.1 08h 51.3m +11° 49′
M68[82] NGC 4590   Messier object 068 Cluster, globular 33.6 Hydra 9.7 12h 39m 27.98s −26° 44′ 38.6″
M69[83] NGC 6637   Messier object 069 Cluster, globular 29.7 Sagittarius 8.3 18h 31m 23.10s −32° 20′ 53.1″
M70[84] NGC 6681   Messier70 Cluster, globular 29.4 Sagittarius 9.1 18h 43m 12.76s −32° 17′ 31.6″
M71[85] NGC 6838   Messier71 Cluster, globular 13.0 Sagitta 6.1 19h 53m 46.49s +18° 46′ 45.1″
M72[86] NGC 6981   Messier72 Cluster, globular 53.40–55.74 Aquarius 9.4 20h 53m 27.70s −12° 32′ 14.3″
M73[87] NGC 6994   Messier 073 2MASS Asterism ~2.5 Aquarius 9.0 20h 58m 54s −12° 38′
M74[88] NGC 628   Messier 74 by HST Galaxy, spiral 24,000–36,000 Pisces 10.0 01h 36m 41.8s +15° 47′ 01″
M75[89] NGC 6864   Messier75 Cluster, globular 67.5 Sagittarius 9.2 20h 06m 04.75s −21° 55′ 16.2″
M76[90] NGC 650, NGC 651 Little Dumbbell Nebula M76-RL5-DDmin-Gamma-LRGB 883x628 Nebula, planetary 2.5 Perseus 10.1 01h 42.4m +51° 34′ 31″
M77[91] NGC 1068 Cetus A NGC1068-hst-R658GB814 Galaxy, spiral 47,000 Cetus 9.6 02h 42m 40.7s −00° 00′ 48″
M78[92] NGC 2068   Messier 78 Nebula, diffuse 1.6 Orion 8.3 05h 46m 46.7s +00° 00′ 50″
M79[93] NGC 1904   M79a Cluster, globular 41 Lepus 8.6 05h 24m 10.59s −24° 31′ 27.3″
M80[94] NGC 6093   A Swarm of Ancient Stars - GPN-2000-000930 Cluster, globular 32.6 Scorpius 7.9 16h 17m 02.41s −22° 58′ 33.9″
M81[95] NGC 3031 Bode's Galaxy Sig07-009 Galaxy, spiral 11,400–12,200 Ursa Major 6.9 09h 55m 33.2s +69° 3′ 55″
M82[96] NGC 3034 Cigar Galaxy Messier82 Galaxy, starburst 10,700–12,300 Ursa Major 8.4 09h 55m 52.2s +69° 40′ 47″
M83[97] NGC 5236 Southern Pinwheel Galaxy M83g Galaxy, barred spiral 14,700 Hydra 7.5 13h 37m 00.9s −29° 51′ 57″
M84[98] NGC 4374   Messier 84 nucleus Hubble Galaxy, lenticular 57,000–63,000 Virgo 10.1 12h 25m 03.7s +12° 53′ 13″
M85[99] NGC 4382   Messier 85 Hubble WikiSky Galaxy, lenticular 56,000–64,000 Coma Berenices 10.0 12h 25m 24.0s +18° 11′ 28″
M86[100] NGC 4406   Messier 86 Hubble WikiSky Galaxy, lenticular 49,000–55,000 Virgo 9.8 12h 26m 11.7s +12° 56′ 46″
M87[101] NGC 4486 Virgo A M87 jet Galaxy, elliptical 51,870–55,130 Virgo 9.6 12h 30m 49.42338s +12° 23′ 28.0439″
M88[102] NGC 4501   Messier object 088 Galaxy, spiral 39,000–56,000 Coma Berenices 10.4 12h 31m 59.2s +14° 25′ 14″
M89[103] NGC 4552   Messier object 089 Galaxy, elliptical 47,000–53,000 Virgo 10.7 12h 35m 39.8s +12° 33′ 23″
M90[104] NGC 4569   Messier object 090 Galaxy, spiral 55,900–61,500 Virgo 10.3 12h 36m 49.8s +13° 09′ 46″
M91[105] NGC 4548   Messier91 Galaxy, barred spiral 47,000–79,000 Coma Berenices 11.0 12h 35m 26.4s +14° 29′ 47″
M92[106] NGC 6341   Globular Cluster M92 Cluster, globular 26.7 Hercules 6.3 17h 17m 07.39s +43° 08′ 09.4″
M93[107] NGC 2447   Messier object 093 Cluster, open 3.6 Puppis 6.0 07h 44.6m −23° 52′
M94[108] NGC 4736   Messier object 094 Galaxy, spiral 14,700–17,300 Canes Venatici 9.0 12h 50m 53.1s +41° 07′ 14″
M95[109] NGC 3351   Messier95 spitzer Galaxy, barred spiral 31,200–34,000 Leo 11.4 10h 43m 57.7s +11° 42′ 14″
M96[110] NGC 3368   Messier object 096 Galaxy, spiral 28,000–34,000 Leo 10.1 10h 46m 45.7s +11° 49′ 12″
M97[111] NGC 3587 Owl Nebula M97 FTN Nebula, planetary 2.03 Ursa Major 9.9 11h 14m 47.734s +55° 01′ 08.50″
M98[112] NGC 4192   M-98 Galaxy, spiral 44,400 Coma Berenices 11.0 12h 13m 48.292s +14° 54′ 01.69″
M99[113] NGC 4254   M99 Galaxy, spiral 44,700–55,700 Coma Berenices 10.4 12h 18m 49.6s +14° 24′ 59″
M100[114] NGC 4321   Spiral Galaxy M100 Galaxy, spiral 55,000 Coma Berenices 10.1 12h 22m 54.9s +15° 49′ 21″
M101[115] NGC 5457 Pinwheel Galaxy M101 hires STScI-PRC2006-10a Galaxy, spiral 19,100–22,400 Ursa Major 7.9 14h 03m 12.6s +54° 20′ 57″
M102[116] NGC 5866 Spindle Galaxy Ngc5866 hst big Galaxy, lenticular 50,000 Draco 10.7 15h 06m 29.5s +55° 45′ 48″
M103[117] NGC 581   Messier object 103 Cluster, open 10 Cassiopeia 7.4 01h 33.2m +60° 42′
M104[118] NGC 4594 Sombrero Galaxy M104 ngc4594 sombrero galaxy hi-res Lenticular galaxy|Galaxy, lenticular]] 28,700–30,900 Virgo 9.0 12h 39m 59.4s −11° 37′ 23″
M105[119] NGC 3379   Messier object 105 Galaxy, elliptical 30,400–33,600 Leo 10.2 10h 47m 49.6s +12° 34′ 54″
M106[120] NGC 4258   Messier 106 by Spitzer Galaxy, spiral 22,200–25,200 Canes Venatici 9.1 12h 18m 57.5s +47° 18′ 14″
M107[121] NGC 6171   Messier object 107 Cluster, globular 20.9 Ophiuchus 8.9 16h 32m 31.86s −13° 03′ 13.6″
M108[122] NGC 3556   Messier 108 Hubble WikiSky Galaxy, barred spiral 46,000 Ursa Major 10.7 11h 11m 31.0s +55° 40′ 27″
M109[123] NGC 3992   Messier object 109 Galaxy, barred spiral 59,500–107,500 Ursa Major 10.6 11h 57m 36.0s +53° 22′ 28″
M110[124] NGC 205   Messier object 110 Galaxy, dwarf elliptical 2,600–2,780 Andromeda 9.0 00h 40m 22.1s +41° 41′ 07″

Star chart of Messier objects

MessierStarChart
Messier Star Chart depicting all the Messier objects (plotted on a rectangular grid right ascension and declination)

See also

References

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External links

Dumbbell Nebula

The Dumbbell Nebula (also known as Apple Core Nebula, Messier 27, M 27, or NGC 6853) is a planetary nebula in the constellation Vulpecula, at a distance of about 1227 light-years. This object was the first planetary nebula to be discovered; by Charles Messier in 1764. At its brightness of visual magnitude 7.5 and its diameter of about 8 arcminutes, it is easily visible in binoculars, and a popular observing target in amateur telescopes.

Lagoon Nebula

The Lagoon Nebula (catalogued as Messier 8 or M8, NGC 6523, Sharpless 25, RCW 146, and Gum 72) is a giant interstellar cloud in the constellation Sagittarius. It is classified as an emission nebula and as an H II region.

The Lagoon Nebula was discovered by Giovanni Hodierna before 1654 and is one of only two star-forming nebulae faintly visible to the eye from mid-northern latitudes. Seen with binoculars, it appears as a distinct oval cloudlike patch with a definite core. Within the nebula is the open cluster NGC 6530.

Messier 103

Messier 103 (also known as M103, or NGC 581) is an open cluster where a few thousand stars formed in the constellation Cassiopeia. This open cluster was discovered in 1781 by Charles Messier's friend and collaborator Pierre Méchain. It is one of the most distant open clusters known, with distances of 8,000 to 9,500 light-years from the earth and ranging about 15 light-years apart. There are about 40 member stars within M103, two of which have magnitudes 10.5, and a 10.8 red giant, which is the brightest within the cluster. Observation of M103 is generally dominated by the appearance of Struve 131, though the star is not a member of the 172-star cluster. M103 is about 25 million years old.

Messier 106

Messier 106 (also known as NGC 4258) is an intermediate spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781. M106 is at a distance of about 22 to 25 million light-years away from Earth. M106 contains an active nucleus classified as a Type 2 Seyfert, and the presence of a central supermassive black hole has been demonstrated from radio-wavelength observations of the rotation of a disk of molecular gas orbiting within the inner light-year around the black hole. NGC 4217 is a possible companion galaxy of Messier 106. A Type II supernova was observed in M106 in May 2014.

Messier 15

Messier 15 or M15 (also designated NGC 7078) is a globular cluster in the constellation Pegasus. It was discovered by Jean-Dominique Maraldi in 1746 and included in Charles Messier's catalogue of comet-like objects in 1764. At an estimated 12.0 billion years old, it is one of the oldest known globular clusters.

Messier 2

Messier 2 or M2 (also designated NGC 7089) is a globular cluster in the constellation Aquarius, five degrees north of the star Beta Aquarii. It was discovered by Jean-Dominique Maraldi in 1746, and is one of the largest known globular clusters.

Messier 39

Messier 39 or M39, also known as NGC 7092, is an open cluster of stars in the constellation of Cygnus, positioned two degrees to the south of the star Pi Cygni and around 9° east-northeast of Deneb. The cluster was discovered by Guillaume Le Gentil in 1749, then Charles Messier added it to his catalogue in 1764. When observed in a small telescope at low power the cluster shows around two dozen members, but it is best observed with binoculars. It has a total integrated magnitude (brightness) of 5.5 and spans an angular diameter of 29 arcminutes – about the size of the full Moon. M39 is at a distance of about 1,010 light-years (311 parsecs) from the Sun.

This cluster has an estimated mass of 232 M☉ and a linear tidal radius of 8.6±1.8 pc. Of the 15 brightest components, six form binary star systems with one more suspected. HD 205117 is a probable eclipsing binary system with a period of 113.2 days that varies by 0.051 in visual magnitude. Both members appear to be subgiant stars. There are at least five chemically peculiar stars in the cluster and ten suspected short-period variable stars.

Messier 48

Messier 48 or M48, also known as NGC 2548, is an open cluster of stars in the constellation of Hydra. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1771. There is no cluster in the position indicated by Messier. The value that he gave for the right ascension matches that of NGC 2548, however, his declination is off by five degrees. Credit for discovery is sometimes given instead to Caroline Herschel in 1783. Her nephew John Herschel described it as, "a superb cluster which fills the whole field; stars of 9th and 10th to the 13th magnitude – and none below, but the whole ground of the sky on which it stands is singularly dotted over with infinitely minute points". The brightest component is HIP 40348 at visual magnitude 8.3.M48 is visible to the naked eye under good atmospheric conditions. It is located some 2,500 light-years from the Sun. The age estimated from isochrones is 400±100 Myr, while gyrochronology age estimate is 450±50 Myr – in good agreement. The cluster has a tidal radius of 63.3 ± 7.8 ly (19.4 ± 2.4 pc) with at least 438 members and a mass of 2,366 M☉. The general structure of the cluster is fragmented and lumpy, which may be due to interactions with the galactic disk. The cluster is now subdivided into three groups, each of which has its own collective proper motion.

Messier 5

Messier 5 or M5 (also designated NGC 5904) is a globular cluster in the constellation Serpens. It was discovered by Gottfried Kirch in 1702.

Messier 54

Messier 54 (also known as M54 or NGC 6715) is a globular cluster in the constellation Sagittarius. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1778 and subsequently included in his catalog of comet-like objects.

M54 is easily found in the sky, being close to the star ζ Sagittarii. It is, however, not resolvable into individual stars even with larger amateur telescopes.

Messier 61

Messier 61 (also known as M61 or NGC 4303) is an intermediate barred spiral galaxy in the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. It was discovered by Barnaba Oriani on May 5, 1779. This was six days before Charles Messier observed the same galaxy, but had mistaken it as a comet.

Messier 65

Messier 65 (also known as NGC 3623) is an intermediate spiral galaxy about 35 million light-years away in the constellation Leo. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1780. Along with M66 and NGC 3628, M65 forms the Leo Triplet, a small group of galaxies.

Messier 72

Messier 72 (also known as M72 or NGC 6981) is a globular cluster in the Aquarius constellation discovered by French astronomer Pierre Méchain on August 29, 1780. French astronomer Charles Messier looked for it on the following October 4, and included it in his catalog. Both decided that it was a faint nebula rather than a cluster. With a larger instrument, British astronomer John Herschel called it a bright "cluster of stars of a round figure". American astronomer Harlow Shapley noted a similarity to Messier 4 and Messier 12.This cluster is visible as a faint nebula in a telescope with a 6 cm (2.4 in) aperture. the surrounding field stars become visible at 15 cm (5.9 in), while 25 cm (9.8 in) is sufficient to resolve the cluster with an angular diameter of 2.5′. At 30 cm (12 in) the core is resolved in a 1.25′ diameter, showing a broad spread with darker regions to the south and east.Based upon a 2011 census of variable stars, Messier 72 is located at a distance of 54.57 ± 1.17 kly (16.73 ± 0.36 kpc) from the Sun. It has an estimated combined mass equal to 168,000 times the mass of the Sun and is around 9.5 billion years old. The core region has a density of stars that is radiating 2.26 times the luminosity of the Sun per cubic parsec. There are 43 identified variable stars in the cluster.

Messier 73

Messier 73 (M73, also known as NGC 6994) is an asterism of four stars in the constellation of Aquarius. An asterism is composed of physically unconnected stars that appear close to each other in the sky as seen from Earth.

Messier 85

Messier 85 (also known as M85 or NGC 4382 or PGC 40515 or ISD 0135852) is a lenticular galaxy, or elliptical galaxy for other authors, in the Coma Berenices constellation. It is 60 million light-years away, and it is estimated to be 125,000 light-years across.

It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781. It is the northernmost outlier of the Virgo cluster discovered as of 2004.

Messier 86

Messier 86 (also known as M86 or NGC 4406) is an elliptical or lenticular galaxy in the constellation Virgo. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1781. M86 lies in the heart of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies and forms a most conspicuous group with another large galaxy known as Messier 84. It displays the highest blue shift of all Messier objects, as it is approaching the Milky Way at 244 km/s. This is due to its falling towards the center of the Virgo cluster from the opposite side, which causes it to move in the direction of the Milky Way.Messier 86 is linked by several filaments of ionized gas to the severely disrupted spiral galaxy NGC 4438 and shows some gas and interstellar dust that may have been stripped of it like the one present in those filaments. It is also suffering ram-pressure stripping as it moves at high speed through Virgo's intracluster medium, losing its interstellar medium and leaving behind a very long trail of X ray-emitting hot gas that has been detected with the help of the Chandra space telescope.Messier 86 has a rich system of globular clusters, with a total number of around 3,800. Its halo also has a number of stellar streams interpreted as remnants of dwarf galaxies that have been disrupted and absorbed by this galaxy.

Messier 88

Messier 88 (also known as M88 or NGC 4501) is a spiral galaxy about 50 to 60 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1781.

Messier 89

Messier 89 (M89 for short, also known as NGC 4552) is an elliptical galaxy in the constellation Virgo. It was discovered by Charles Messier on March 18, 1781. M89 is a member of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies.

Messier 91

Messier 91 (also known as NGC 4548 or M91) is a barred spiral galaxy located in the Coma Berenices constellation and is part of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. M91 is about 63 million light-years away from the earth. It was the last of a group of eight nebulae discovered by Charles Messier in 1781.

Originally M91 was a missing Messier object in the catalogue as the result of a bookkeeping mistake by Messier. It was not until 1969 that amateur astronomer William C. Williams realized that M91 was NGC 4548, which was documented by William Herschel in 1784 (according to other sources, however, the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 4571 was also considered as a candidate for Messier 91 by him.)

Messier objects
List
See also

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