Latest Charles Messier Stories

wild duck cluster
2014-10-01 03:00:43

Richard Hook, European Southern Observatory The Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile has taken this beautiful image, dappled with blue stars, of one of the most star-rich open clusters currently known — Messier 11, also known as NGC 6705 or the Wild Duck Cluster. Messier 11 is an open cluster, sometimes referred to as a galactic cluster, located around 6000 light-years away in the constellation of Scutum (The Shield). It was...

messier 54
2014-09-11 03:00:30

Richard Hook, ESO VLT observations of Messier 54 show the lithium problem also applies outside our galaxy This new image from the VLT Survey Telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile shows a vast collection of stars, the globular cluster Messier 54. This cluster looks very similar to many others but it has a secret. Messier 54 doesn’t belong to the Milky Way, but is part of a small satellite galaxy, the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy. This unusual parentage has now allowed...

Diamonds In The Tail Of The Scorpion
2014-02-19 10:01:57

[ Watch The Video: Zooming in on the Bright Star Cluster Messier 7 ] ESO Messier 7, also known as NGC 6475, is a brilliant cluster of about 100 stars located some 800 light-years from Earth. In this new picture from the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope it stands out against a very rich background of hundreds of thousands of fainter stars, in the direction of the center of the Milky Way. At about 200 million years old, Messier 7 is a typical middle-aged open...

Hubble Provides Most Detailed Image Of Ring Nebula To Date
2013-05-23 12:48:25

[WATCH VIDEOS: Flying Around The Ring Nebula | Secrets Of The Ring Nebula] Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online The Hubble Space Telescope has provided one of the most detailed images of the Ring Nebula so far, allowing scientists to construct a model of the nebula in 3D. The Ring Nebula, or Messier 57, is an archetypal planetary nebula relatively close to Earth at 2,000 light-years away. NASA said Messier 57 is the glowing remains of a Sun-like star. The...

Spiral Galaxy Messier 106 Has A Secret
2013-02-05 10:47:02

[ Video 1 ] | [ Video 2 ] | [ Video 2 ] NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope — with a little help from an amateur astronomer — has produced one of the best views yet of nearby spiral galaxy Messier 106. Located a little over 20 million light-years away, practically a neighbor by cosmic standards, Messier 106 is one of the brightest and nearest spiral galaxies to our own. Despite its appearance, which looks much like countless other galaxies,...

Messier 55's Vast Ball Of Stars Imaged By ESO's VISTA
2012-05-09 10:53:23

[ Video 1 ] | [ Video 2 ] A new image of Messier 55 from ESO's VISTA infrared survey telescope shows tens of thousands of stars crowded together like a swarm of bees. Besides being packed into a relatively small space, these stars are also among the oldest in the Universe. Astronomers study Messier 55 and other ancient objects like it, called globular clusters, to learn how galaxies evolve and stars age. Globular clusters are held together in a tight spherical shape by gravity. In...

2011-08-10 14:12:08

This new picture from ESO's Very Large Telescope shows NGC 3521, a spiral galaxy located about 35 million light years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). Spanning about 50 000 light-years, this spectacular object has a bright and compact nucleus, surrounded by richly detailed spiral structure. The most distinctive features of the bright galaxy NGC 3521 are its long spiral arms that are dotted with star-forming regions and interspersed with veins of dust. The arms are rather irregular...

2009-12-23 14:20:00

Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have uncovered two distinct kinds of "rejuvenated" stars in the globular cluster Messier 30. A new study shows that both stellar collisions and a process sometimes called vampirism are behind this cosmic "face lift". The scientists also uncover evidence that both sorts of blue stragglers were produced during a critical dynamical event (known as "core collapse") that occurred in Messier 30 a few billion years ago. Stars in globular...

2009-08-26 07:20:00

Today ESO has released a new image of the Trifid Nebula, showing just why it is a firm favorite of astronomers, amateur and professional alike. This massive star factory is so named for the dark dust bands that trisect its glowing heart, and is a rare combination of three nebula types, revealing the fury of freshly formed stars and presaging more star birth. Smoldering several thousand light-years away in the constellation of Sagittarius (the Archer), the Trifid Nebula presents a compelling...

2009-07-16 08:05:00

Today ESO has released a new and stunning image of the sky around the Eagle Nebula, a stellar nursery where infant star clusters carve out monster columns of dust and gas. Located 7000 light-years away, towards the constellation of Serpens (the Snake), the Eagle Nebula is a dazzling stellar nursery, a region of gas and dust where young stars are currently being formed and where a cluster of massive, hot stars, NGC 6611, has just been born. The powerful light and strong winds from these...

Latest Charles Messier Reference Libraries

2010-09-16 15:18:29

The Virgo Cluster consists of galaxies at a distance of around 59 Mly away in the constellation Virgo. Containing between 1300 to 2000 galaxies the Virgo Cluster is the heart of the Local Supercluster. Its mass is estimated at 1.2 × 1015 M☉ out to 8 degrees of the cluster's center or a radius of about 2.2 Mpc. Most of the brighter galaxies in the cluster were discovered by Charles Messier in the late 1770's and early 1780's, including the giant elliptical Messier 87. Messier...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

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, without stars" which is difficult to see. Its companion, NGC 5195, was discovered in 1781 by his friend, Pierre Mchain, so that it is mentioned in Messier's 1784 catalog: `It is double, each has a bright center, which are separated 4'35". The two...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

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 three-lobed appearance. This may have caused William Herschel, who normally carefully avoided to number Messier's objects in his catalog, to assign four different numbers to parts of this nebula: H IV.41 (cataloged May 26, 1786) and H V.10, H V.11,...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

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. The Sunflower galaxy M63 is one of the early recognized spiral galaxies, listed by Lord Rosse as one of 14 "spiral nebulae" discovered to 1850. It has been classified as of Hubble type Sb or Sc, displaying a patchy spiral pattern which can...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

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 personal copy on May 11, 1781, and described it as a "very faint nebula." It was Camille Flammarion who found that its position coincided with Herschel's H I.43, which is the Sombrero Galaxy (NGC 4594), and added it to the official Messier list in...

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