Author Topic: FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009: Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!  (Read 3991 times)

jules

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FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009: Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!
« on: June 25, 2009, 11:08:25 pm »
Charles Messier
June 26 1730 - April 12 1817


Charles Messier was passionate about comets. He discovered 13 new comets and co-discovered a further 7. However, he kept coming across comet-like fuzzy smudges that raised his hopes that he’d discovered another new comet. These smudges, however, did not change position from night to night as comets do. So annoying did he find them that he began cataloguing the “embarrassing” objects as he called them and published them as a list of "Nébuleuses & des amas d'Étoiles" which was published in the Connaissance des Temps in 1784. Several of these fuzzy patches had already been identified and Messier always acknowledged the original discoverer. Many were first noted by his colleague Pierre Méchain.

Some errors were apparent in some of his ra/dec measurements and he appeared to have catalogued M101 twice as M101 and M102 though there is evidence to suggest that M102 is in fact what is now known as NGC 5866.

Messier’s original catalogue listed 103 objects. Corrections and a further 7 objects were added by others, the last one in 1966, after finding references to them in Messier’s own notes or drawings.

Messier's Drawings of M31/32/110 and M42/43



Messier had access to an impressive collection of telescopes and it is generally thought that the quality of the optics would have at best given him similar views to those through a modern 3 inch refractor. His annoying fuzzy patches would have looked nebulous and he would have been able to resolve some stars in the star clusters.

Today, Messier’s list of annoying fuzzy patches is renown as a collection of some of the most beautiful objects in the sky including nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies. At certain times of the year all 110 objects are visible if you are willing to stay up all night so if you fancy a challenge the Messier Marathon awaits.

The SDSS has picked up several Messier objects. A thread was started for posting them but seems to have been forgotten. Here are a few of my own personal favourite faint fuzzies. :)

M87
588017703470694423
M100
587738570314416215
M53
587742904477352372
M67
587745243083636817
M97
587731870705057813
M102 / NGC 5866
588011219140739084
M81
587738067276857349
M82
587738067813859393
M101
587735695913320962

Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!

« Last Edit: June 26, 2009, 12:45:17 pm by jules »

Dave

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Re: FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009: Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2009, 11:15:36 pm »
  He left us a wonderful legacy.
                   :)
"Personally, I don't think there's intelligent life on other planets. Why should other planets be any different from this one?"                R.A.Monkhouse.

Alice

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Re: FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009: Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2009, 11:19:22 pm »
That is GORGEOUS, Jules. Thanks so much! ;D

Ahhhh, embarrassing objects - they're clearly a wonderful thing . . . 8)

Lovethetropics

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Re: FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009: Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2009, 12:12:41 am »
What a beautiful legacy...merci Jules and Messier.  :D

 *and find lots of asteroids  ;D

NGC3314

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Re: FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009: Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2009, 01:23:31 am »
Indeed, worth celebrating - to this day, how often do we hear M51, M81, M82, M87, M101, M104 invoked in talking about galaxies and their properties? Here is another gallery of Messier's objects; done in "spare time", as best I recall, from the first to final images spanned 32 years!
« Last Edit: June 26, 2009, 01:30:03 am by NGC3314 »

Zeus2007

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Re: FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009: Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2009, 02:56:18 am »
Who knew "embarrasing" turned to be "stunningly amazing."  See there is beauty in uglyness! Great OOTD, Jules.  Totally fantastic.
"The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step"
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AlexandredOr

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Re: FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009: Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2009, 06:27:30 am »
Great great OotD ! Very clear, complete. Thx !

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Geoff

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Re: FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009: Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2009, 06:46:27 am »
Beautiful OOTD Jules - great stuff  :)
  Sometimes I think we're alone. Sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the prospect is staggering!- Arthur C. Clarke

Pat

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Re: FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009: Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2009, 07:08:45 am »
Very nice OOTD Jules. :)

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Half65

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Re: FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009: Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2009, 07:21:47 am »
Really Really Really great OOTD.
Beautiful images.

Infinity

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Re: FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009: Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2009, 09:11:04 am »
Terrific post Jules 8)

weezerd

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Re: FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009: Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2009, 11:46:33 am »
Thanks Jules, those images are really pretty, as is the story.

...and thanks also to NGC3314 for the link to the complete Messier gallery.
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where time is not and angels play the paeans of the galaxies;
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to change dread darkness into light, cold chaos into ecstasy!

echo-lily-mai

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Re: FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009: Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2009, 03:31:42 pm »
Great OOTD Jules, Well explained.  :)
They are all so pretty.

Art does not reproduce the visible....  Paul Klee

Hanny

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Re: FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009: Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2009, 05:05:35 pm »
 8)

Rona

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Re: FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2009: Joyeux anniversaire Monsieur Messier!
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2009, 07:39:22 pm »
Fab OTTD Jules. Thanks 8)