In the late 1700s, French astronomer Charles Messier (1730-1817) compiled a catalog of fuzzy objects he came across while searching for comets. Messier compiled a list of objects to avoid in order not to confuse them with comets. In 1771, a list of 45 entries was published with future updates as new lists of objects where generated. Messier's final list contained 103 entries. Several more objects were added after studies of Messier's papers and correspondence. The final list contained 110 objects. Ironically, Messier's list of astronomical objects turned out to be the deep-sky objects most visible in amateur astronomer's telescopes and one of the most popular deep-sky lists used by amateur astronomers today.
An 18th century comet hunter probably best known for compiling a list of 110 celestial objects known as the "Messier Catalog" that is still in use today.
A French astronomer and comet hunter who prepared one of the earliest catalogs of nebulous objects and star clusters. The entire Messier catalog of 110 star clusters, nebulae and galaxies can be seen with a 3-inch telescope under dark skies.
The 18th-century French astronomer who compiled a list of 110 fuzzy, diffuse objects that appeared at fixed positions in the sky. Being a comet-hunter, Messier compiled this list of objects which he knew were not comets. His list is now well known to professional and amateur astronomers as containing the brightest and most striking nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies in the sky.
While hunting for comets in the skies above France, 18th century astronomer Charles Messier made a list of the positions of about 100 fuzzy, diffuse looking objects which appeared at fixed positions in the sky. Although these objects looked like comets, Messier knew that since they did not move with respect to the background stars they could not be the undiscovered comets he was searching for. These objects are now well known to modern astronomers to be among the brightest and most striking gaseous nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies. Objects on Messier's list are still referred to by their "Messier number". For example the Andromeda Galaxy, the 31st object on the list, is known as M31.