Universe

Messier catalog. Observing the Universe

Messier catalog. Observing the Universe

This composition shows us some of the celestial objects that are part of the Messier Catalog.

Charles Messier was a French astronomer (1730-1817). While making his observations in search of comets, he devoted himself to cataloging objects of weak luminosity that could be seen in the night sky.

The Messier catalog was first published in 1774 and was the first catalog of deep space objects. In its first version it grouped less than 50 objects. Today it is composed of a total of 110 objects, numbered from M1 to M110. The catalog has become so popular in the astronomical field, that objects are often described by their M number instead of by their scientific name.

The objects that appear are mostly nebulas, galaxies and star clusters. Some examples are the Great Orion Nebula (M42), Ring Nebula in Lira (M57), Open Cluster of the Pleiades (M45), Swirl Galaxy in the Big Dipper (M101), and Andromeda Spiral Galaxy (M31).

Since the late 70s, the Messier marathons have become very popular among astronomy fans. They are meetings of fans from all over the world in which you try to observe the largest possible number of objects in the catalog in a single night. The best time for a good observation is the new moon nights at the beginning of spring.

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