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Stellar Bodies

Ring Nebula -- Discovered by Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix in 1779. The famous ring nebula M57 is often regarded as the prototype of a planetary nebula, and a showpiece in the northern hemisphere summer sky. Recent research has confirmed that i...

Rosette Nebula -- Discovered by John Flamsteed about 1690. The Rosetta Nebula is a vast cloud of dust and gas, extending over an area of more than 1 degree across, or about 5 times the area covered by the full moon. Its parts have been assigned...

Saturn Nebula -- The layers of the Saturn Nebula give a complex picture of how this planetary nebula was created. The above picture, taken in April 1996 and released last week, allows a better understanding of the mysterious process that transforme...

Seyfert's Sextet -- Seyfert's Sextet is a group of galaxies in which gravitational forces are exerted between its members. The galaxies are so tightly packed together that gravitational forces are beginning to rip stars from them and distort their ...

Sirius -- Sirius (α Canis Major, also known as the Dog Star) is the brightest star (-1.46m) in the night sky and can be seen from every inhabited region of the Earth's surface. At a distance of 8.6 light years, Sirius is also one of the nearest s...

Sombrero Galaxy -- Discovered by Pierre Mchain or Charles Messier in 1781. M104 is numerically the first object of the catalog which was not included in Messier's originally published catalog. However, Charles Messier added it by hand to his person...

Sunflower Galaxy (M63) -- Discovered 1779 by Pierre Mchain. M63 was the very first discovery of a Deep Sky object by Messier's friend, Pierre Mchain, who caught it up on June 14, 1779. On the same day, Charles Messier included it in his catalog. ...

Supernova 1987a -- Supernova 1987a was a supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby dwarf galaxy. It occurred approximately 50 kiloparsecs from Earth, the closest supernova since Supernova 1604, which occurred in the Milky Way itself. Th...

Tau Ceti -- Tau Ceti is a star commonly used by science fiction authors since it is similar to the Sun, being of similar mass and similar spectral type as well as being relatively close to us. However, Tau Ceti is a "metal-deficient" star and there...

Triangulum Galaxy -- The Triangulum Galaxy, Messier object M33, is a spiral galaxy of type Sc located in the constellation Triangulum. Triangulum is small relative to its larger neighbors such as the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy, but is about ave...

Trifid Nebula -- Discovered by Charles Messier in 1764. Charles Messier discovered this object on June 5, 1764, and described it as a cluster of stars of 8th to 9th magnitude, enveloped in nebulosity. The Trifid Nebula M20 is famous for its thr...

Vega -- Vega (Alpha Lyrae) is the lead star in the constellation Lyra, reaching near directly overhead the mid-northern latitudes, during the summer. It's a "nearby star" at only 25 light years distant and together with Arcturus and Sirius, one of t...

Virgo A Galaxy -- Discovered 1781 by Charles Messier. The giant elliptical galaxy M87, also called Virgo A, is one of the most remarkable objects in the sky. It is perhaps the dominant galaxy in the closest big cluster to us, the famous Virgo Clust...

Virgo Cluster of Galaxies -- This giant agglomeration of galaxies is the nearest big cluster of galaxies, the largest proven structure in our intergalactic neighborhood, and the most remote cosmic objects with a physical connection to our own small gro...

Whirlpool Galaxy -- Discovered 1773 by Charles Messier. The famous Whirlpool galaxy M51 was one of Charles Messier's original discoveries: He discovered it on October 13, 1773, when observing a comet, and described it as a "very faint nebula, witho...