Astrophysics (Index)About

Messier Catalog

(M, Messier Objects, Catalogue des Nebuleuses et des Amas d'Etoiles, Catalogue of Nebulae and Star Clusters, Messier Catalog)
(catalog of astronomical objects to avoid when looking for comets)

The Messier Catalog (or list of Messier Objects or Catalogue des Nebuleuses et des Amas d'Etoiles, i.e., Catalogue of Nebulae and Star Clusters) is Charles Messier's 1771 catalog of fixed but apparently-non-stellar astronomical objects, almost all now known to be galaxies. Messier was interested in finding comets and produced this list of objects that look like comets but had been established to be something else. The objects are designated M with a number (examples: Andromeda (M31), Triangulum Galaxy (M33), M82, M87) and include galaxies, clouds, and stellar clusters. The objects are number 1 through 110, the last seven being objects Messier did not include in his list, but are mentioned in his notes. All that are galaxies are also in the New General Catalogue. The Messier designations are still often used by astronomers.

(catalog,galaxies,nebulae,star clusters)
Further reading:
MM85-HCC1galaxy near M85

Referenced by pages:
astronomical catalog
Caldwell Catalog
Crab Nebula (M1)
Messier 100 (M100)
Pinwheel Galaxy (M101)
Sombrero Galaxy (M104)
Messier 106 (M106)
Messier 15 (M15)
Andromeda (M31)
Triangulum Galaxy (M33)
Whirlpool Galaxy (M51a)
Messier 74 (M74)
Messier 84 (M84)
Spindle Galaxy (NGC 5866)
Orion Nebula (M42)
Virgo Cluster