Latest Charles Messier Stories
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.
VLT observations of Messier 54 show the lithium problem also applies outside our galaxy.
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.
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 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.
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.
This new picture from ESOâ€™s Very Large Telescope shows NGC 3521, a spiral galaxy located about 35 million light years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion).
Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have uncovered two distinct kinds of "rejuvenated" stars in the globular cluster Messier 30.
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.
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.
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 Ã— 1015 Mâ˜‰ 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...
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...
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,...
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...
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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