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Charles Messier
Please vote to return to collections (Voting Results will appear on Right Sidebar).
    (June 26, 1730-April 12, 1817)
    Born in Badonviller, France
    Discovered thirteen comets
    Published a catalog of 110 nebulae, galaxies and star clusters, designated by the letter M followed by a number
    Examples include M1, the Crab Nebula, and M31, the Andromeda Galaxy
    The catalog that he is remembered for was a sidelight to his real goal of finding comets: it was basically a list of astronomical objects to avoid because they resemble comets, but aren’t.
    At least twenty of the entries in the catalog were actually discovered by his assistant, Pierre Machain.
    When he wanted a pension from Napoleon’s government, he wrote a servile pamphlet declaring that the Great Comet of 1769 had been a herald of the Emperor’s birth.
    In addition to the French Academy of Science, he was named a fellow of the Swedish Academy of Science and Britain’s Royal Society.
    A crater on the Moon and an asteroid were named after him.
    His Messier designations are still used by professional and amateur astronomers.
    Amateur astronomers in the Northern Hemisphere sometimes hold ‘Messier marathons’ in the spring (mid-March to early April), when all 110 Messier objects can be seen in a single night.

Credit: C. Fishel

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