Messier Catalog :
Charles Messier (1730-1817)

Charles Messier devoted much of his life to searching the skies for comets.  While looking through a telescope in August, 1758, he noticed a faint patch of fuzz in the constellation Taurus.  It looked somewhat like a comet but could not be one, he concluded, because it didn’t move differently from the stars.  Nevertheless, Messier marked its position on his star chart so he would not be confused by it again.  The object he had stumbled upon was the Crab Nebula, which became the first in a a list of 45 such “confusing” objects that he published in 1774.*

By 1781 the Messier catalog had grown to 103 entries and it now stands at 110 including one duplicate. It is now two centuries later and all of us backyard observers consider the “M” objects to be the jewels of the night sky.  I have now photographed all of Chuck's List from the end of my driveway, and I have updated almost all of the images with data taken from the observatory in New Mexico:

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Messier No. NGC# type
1 Crab Nebula 1952 Supernova remnant
2 7989 Globular cluster
3 5272 Globular cluster
4 Cat's Eye 6121 Globular cluster
5 5904 Globular cluster
6 Butterfly Cluster 6405 Open cluster
7 6475 Open cluster
8 Lagoon Nebula 6523 Nebula
9 6333 Globular cluster
10 6254 Globular cluster
11 Wild Duck Cluster 6705 Open cluster
12 Gumball Globular 6218 Globular cluster
13 Hercules Cluster 6205 Globular cluster
14 6402 Globular cluster
15 Pegasus Cluster 7078 Globular cluster
16 Eagle Nebula 6611 Nebula
17 Swan Nebula 6618 Nebula
18 Black Swan 6613 Open cluster
19 6273 Globular cluster
20 Trifid Nebula 6514 Nebula
21 6531 Open cluster
22 Sagittarius Cluster 6656 Globular cluster
23 6494 Open cluster
24 6603 Open cluster
25 IC4725 Open cluster
26 6694 Open cluster
27 Dumbbell Nebula 6853 Nebula
28 6626 Globular cluster
29 6913 Open cluster
30 7099 Globular cluster
31 Andromeda Galaxy 224 Spiral Galaxy
32 221 Elliptical Galaxy
33 Triagulum Galaxy 598 Spiral Galaxy
34 1039 Open cluster
35 2168 Open cluster
36 1960 Open cluster
37 2099 Open cluster
38 1912 Open cluster
39 7092 Open cluster
40 Winnecke 4 Double Star
41 Little Beehive 2287 Open cluster
42 Orion Nebula 1976 Nebula
43 1982 Nebula
44 Beehive Cluster 2632 Open cluster
45 Pleiades (7 Sisters) Open cluster
46 2437 Open cluster
47 2422 Open cluster
48 2548 Open cluster
49 4472 Elliptical Galaxy
50 2323 Open cluster
51 Whirlpool Galaxy 5194 Spiral Galaxy
52 The Scorpion 7654 Open cluster
53 5024 Globular cluster
54 6715 Globular cluster
55 6809 Globular cluster
56 6779 Globular cluster
57 Ring Nebula 6720 Planetary Nebula
58 4579 Barred Spiral Galaxy
59 4621 Elliptical Galaxy
60 4649 Elliptical Galaxy
61 Swelling Spiral 4303 Spiral Galaxy
62 Flickering Globular 6266 Globular cluster
63 Sunflower Galaxy 5055 Spiral Galaxy
64 Black-Eye Galaxy 4826 Spiral Galaxy
65 3623 Spiral Galaxy
66 3627 Spiral Galaxy
67 King Cobra 2682 Open cluster
68 4590 Globular cluster
69 6637 Globular cluster
70 6681 Globular cluster
71 6838 Cluster
72 6981 Globular cluster
73 6994 Asterism?
74 The Phantom 628 Spiral Galaxy
75 6864 Globular cluster
76 Little Dumbbell  650 Planetary Nebula
77 1068 Spiral Galaxy
78 2068 Nebula
79 1904 Globular cluster
80 6093 Globular cluster
81 3031 Spiral Galaxy
82 3034 Irregular Galaxy
83 5236 Spiral Galaxy
84 4374 Elliptical Galaxy
85 4382 Lenticular Galaxy
86 4406 Elliptical/Spiral Galaxies
87 4486 Elliptical Galaxy-Quasar
88 4501 Spiral Galaxy
89 4552 Elliptical Galaxy
90 4569 Spiral Galaxy
91 4548 Barred Spiral Galaxy
92 6341 Globular cluster
93 2447 Open cluster
94 Croc's Eye Galaxy 4736 Spiral Galaxy
95 3351 Barred Spiral Galaxy
96 3368 Spiral Galaxy
97 Owl Nebula 3587 Planetary Nebula
98 4192 Spiral Galaxy
99 4254 Spiral Galaxy
100 4321 Spiral Galaxy
101 5457 Spiral Galaxy
102 a duplicate 5457
103 581 Open cluster
104 Sombrero Galaxy 4594 Spiral Galaxy
105 3379 Elliptical Galaxy
106 4258 Spiral Galaxy
107 6171 Globular cluster
108 3556 Spiral Galaxy
109 3992 Barred Spiral Galaxy
110 205 Elliptical Galaxy
* The Messier Objects, by Stephen James O'Meara, Cambridge University Press, 1998.