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Messier Catalog

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The Messier Catalog

The Messier catalog lists over 100 bright nebulae, clusters and galaxies. Charles Messier, a French observer of comets in the last century, compiled the catalog so that he wouldn't confuse nebulous objects with the comets he was searching for. It is ironic that now his name is mainly remembered for the catalog of objects that really just "got in the way" of his real targets! The original catalog contained some errors, that is why some of the numbers are missing.

The Catalog

The comments below are mainly based on my own observations of these objects using small amateur telescopes. In future I will provide a way to link to more extensive information on some of the more interesting objects. Remember that I observe from the southern hemisphere, the altitude and therefore appearance may be quite different for northern observers.

MNGCTypeCons MagSizeComments 
11952gnTau8.44Easy oval hazy patch in 4". - M1...
27089gnAqr7.512Easy in 30 cm scope, quite detailed. 
35272gcCVn7.02Easy in binoculars. 
46121gcSco7.52Bright and easy in binoculars. - M4...
55904gcSer7.02Visible in binocs using averted vision. 
66405ocSco4.5-Very nice but needs wide field. - M6...
76475ocSco3.5-Probably better than M6. - M7...
86523gnSgr5.02Easy with some detail in 12". - M8...
96333gcOph7.32Bright and easy in binoculars. 
106254gcOph7.22Quite easy in binoculars. 
116705ocSct7.0-Easy naked eye object. "Wild duck". 
126218gcOph8.02Close to M10, easy. 
136205gcHer6.02Bright and easy in binoculars. 
146402gcOph9.54Found in 4". 
157078gcPeg7.512Very easy and bright in 12". 
166611gnSer6.52Nice in binoculars. A cluster & nebula. - M16...
176618gnSgr7.02Easy but no detail in 12", "Omega". - M17...
186613ocSgr8.02Easy in binoculars if sky is good. 
196273gcOph8.52Difficult in binoculars. 
206514gnSgr9.012Difficult if sky is bright. - M20...
216531ocSgr7.02Easy, near 6514 and 6523. 
226656gcSgr6.512Nice globular in 12" Newtonian. - M22...
236494gcSgr6.92Large open cluster in binoculars. 
246603ocSgr7.02Easy in binoculars. 
25-ocSgr6.02Easy in binoculars. 
266694ocSct-3Small & quite bright. Location easy. 
276853pnVul7.512Easy and bright in 12" Newtonian. 
286626ocSgr6.812Small but reasonably bright. 
29-ocCyg--- 
307099gcCap8.52Difficult in 7x50 binoculars. 
31224egAnd4.04Bright but near horizon. 
32221egAnd8.7-- 
33598egTri5.32Not too bright but easy at culmination. 
341039ocPer5.9-- 
352168ocGem5.32Low in sky so difficult in 7x50 
361960ocAur6.52Easy in 7x50 at culmination 
372099ocAur6.22Easy. forms line with M36 M38 
381912ocAur7.02Needs averted vision in 7x50, low. 
412287ocCma5.0-Excellent in 12", very fine. - M41...
421976gnOri4.0-Superb in 12" Newtonian. - M42...
431977gnOri4.04Near M42, quite easy. 
442632ocCnc4.5-Easy large naked eye object 
45-ocTau1.4-Easy, needs large field, "Pleiades". 
462437ocPup6.52Large & easy but not impressive. 
472422ocPup4.52Scattered and unspectacular. 
482548ocHya5.52Large but sparse cluster. 
494472egVir8.6-Should be easy. 
502323ocMon6.52Medium bright blur in 7x50. 
515194egCVn8.1-- 
527654ocCas--- 
535024gcCom7.62Easy object in good sky. 
546715gcSgr7.32Very small but bright. 
556809gcSgr7.02Visible in 7x50. - M55...
566779gcLyr8.24Location easy but tricky in 4". 
576720pnLyr9.54Location easy near horizon, "Ring". 
584579egVir--- 
594621egVir9.3-- 
604649egVir9.2-- 
614303egVir10.0-- 
626266gcPup8.02Visible in binoculars with averted vision. 
635055egCVn10.0-- 
644826egCom8.4-- 
653623egLeo9.512Location easy but quite faint. 
663627egLeo8.812Easier than 95. In same low power field. 
672682ocCnc7.52Easy open cluster near M44. 
684590gcHya8.212Easy but unspectacular. 
696637gcSgr9.04Easy object. 
706681gcSgr9.04Easy but quite small. 
716838gcSge8.52Difficult in 7x50. 
726981gcAqr--- 
74628egPsc10.0-- 
756864gcSgr9.5-- 
76650pnPer9.6-- 
771068egCet8.94Small but easy in 4". 
782068gnOri7.04Easy in 4". 2 stars & nebula. 
791904gcLep8.512Easy in 12". Small nucleus. 
806093gcSco8.52Visible but no detail. - M80...
813031egUMa7.9-- 
823034egUMa8.8-- 
835236egHya8.06Easy & bright if the sky is good. 
844374egVir9.3-- 
854382egVir9.3-- 
864406egVir9.7-- 
874486egVir9.2-- 
884501egCom--- 
894552egVir9.5-- 
904569egVir10.0-- 
926341gcHer6.1-- 
932447ocPup6.52Easy in binoculars. 
944736egCVn9.2-- 
953351egLeo-4Low and tricky in 4". 
963368egLeo9.04Similar to M95. 
973587pnUMa9.5-- 
984192egCom--- 
994254egCom--- 
1004321egCom--- 
1015457egUma9.6-- 
103581ocCas7.4-- 
1044594egVir7.95Location easy but quite dim. - M104...
1064258egCVn8.2-- 
107-gcOph--- 

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