Astronomical Catalogs

Astronomical Catalogs – Stars, Star Clusters, Galaxies

We plan to observe the objects listed in the following Astronomical Catalogs:

The Messier objects are found on many Star Charts, and the David Levy Deep Sky Gems are embedded in the program Earth Centered Universe – Observer’s Handbook Edition.

Astronomical observers have a wealth of objects to observe and study. Contributions to scientific data are often made by amateurs. The planetarium program ECU includes data from nearly 20 astronomical object catalogs printed in the Observer’s Handbook. These include the following:

  • The Brightest Stars
  • Double and Multiple Star System
  • Variable and and Eclipsing Binary Stars
  • Special Stars
    • Spectral Class (Color), Wolf-Rayet Stars, Supernova Remnants
  • Deep Sky Gems
  • Star Clusters – Open Clusters which have formed together within the disk of our Milky Way Galaxy – also called Galactic Star Clusters
  • Globular Star Clusters- 10s of 1000s of suns, not resolvable as point light sources
  • Galaxies – Brightest and Nearest
  • The Messier Catalog – listed by seasonal appearance

This is the most important catalog to teach you what can be seen in the Night Sky Around Us

Messier object data in the tables below:

Type: 
    1=Open Cluster, 2=Globular Cluster, 3=Planetary Nebula, 4=Diffuse Nebula, 
    5=Spiral Galaxy, 6=Elliptical Galaxy, 7=Irregular Galaxy, 
    8=Lenticular (S0) Galaxy, 9=Supernova Remnant, 
    A=System of 4 stars or Asterism, B=Milky Way Patch, C=Binary star.
ra, dec:
    right ascension and declination for epoch 2000.0
B:  apparent visual magnitude
D:  apparent (angular) diameter in arc minutes
d:  distance in kilo-light-years
Remarks:
    Remarks from the RASC's Observer's Handbook (unchanged)

Winter
======

M#   NGC# Con Type  ra    dec   B      D          d      Remarks

M1  1952 Tau 9 05 34.5 +22 01  8.2    6x4         6.3    !! famous Crab Nebula supernova remnant
M45    - Tau 1 03 47.0 +24 07  1.6  110.0         0.4    !! Pleiades; use low power, look for nebulosity
                                                       
M36  1960 Aur 1 05 36.1 +34 08  6.3   12.0        4.1    best at low power; bright but scattered group
M37  2099 Aur 1 05 52.4 +32 33  6.2   24.0        4.6    !! finest of the 3 Auriga clusters; very rich
M38  1922 Aur 1 05 28.4 +35 50  7.4   21.0        4.2    look for the small cluster NGC 1907 1/2 deg south
                                                         
M42  1976 Ori 4 05 35.4 -05 27  4.0   85x60       1.6    !! Orion Nebula !; a magnificient object
M43  1982 Ori 4 05 35.6 -05 16  9.1   20x15       1.6    detached part of Orion Nebula; in same field
M78  2068 Ori 4 05 46.7 +00 03 10.3    8x6        1.6    featureless reflection nebula
                                                         
M79  1904 Lep 2 05 24.2 -24 31  8.4    8.7       39.8    20-cm telescope needed to resolve
                                                         
M35  2168 Gem 1 06 08.9 +24 20  5.3   28.0        2.8    !! look for small cluster NGC 2158 1/4 deg SW
                                                         
M41  2287 CMa 1 06 46.0 -20 44  4.6   38.0        2.4    4 deg S of Sirius; bright but coarse cluster
                                                         
M50  2323 Mon 1 07 03.2 -08 20  6.3   16.0        3      between Sirius and Procyon; use low power
                                                        
M46  2437 Pup 1 07 41.8 -14 49  6.0   27.0        5.4    !! contains planetary nebula NGC 2438
M47  2422 Pup 1 07 36.6 -14 30  4.5   30.0        1.6    coarse cluster; 1.5 deg W of M46
M93  2447 Pup 1 07 44.6 -23 52  6.0   22.0        4.5    compact, bright cluster; fairly rich
                                                         
M48  2548 Hya 1 08 13.8 -05 48  5.3   54.0        1.5    former 'lost' Messier object; sparse group

Spring
======

M#    NGC# Con Type  ra    dec   B      D          d      Remarks

M44  2632 Cnc 1 08 40.1 +19 59  3.7   95.0        0.5    !! Beehive Cluster; use low power & wide field
M67  2682 Cnc 1 08 50.4 +11 49  6.1   30.0        2.25   one of the oldest star clusters

M40  Win4 UMa C 12 22.4 +58 05  9.1    0.8        0.3    double star Winnecke 4; separation of 50"
M81  3031 UMa 5 09 55.6 +69 04  7.9   21x10   11000      !! bright spiral; M82 1/2 deg N
M82  3034 UMa 7 09.55.8 +69 41  8.8    9x4    11000      !! the `exploding galaxy'; look for structure
M97  3587 UMa 3 11 14.8 +55 01  9.9  3.4x3.3      2.6    !! Owl Nebula; appears brighter than 11.2 mag
M101  5457 UMa 5 14 03.2 +54 21  9.6   22.0    24000      !! Pinwheel Galaxy; face-on spiral; diffuse
M108  3556 UMa 5 11 11.5 +55 40 10.7    8x1    45000      nearly edge-on; very close to M97
M109  3992 UMa 5 11 57.6 +53 23 10.8    7x4    55000      barred spiral near gamma UMa

M65  3623 Leo 5 11 18.9 +13 05  9.3    8x1.5  35000      !! bright elongated spiral
M66  3627 Leo 5 11 20.2 +12 59  8.2    8x2.5  35000      !! M65 & NGC 3628 in same field
M95  3351 Leo 5 10 44.0 +11 42 10.4  4.4x3.3  38000      bright barred spiral
M96  3368 Leo 5 10 46.8 +11 49  9.1    6x4    38000      M95 in same field
M105  3379 Leo 6 10 47.8 +12 35  9.2    2.0    38000      very bear M95 and M96

M53  5024 Com 2 13 12.9 +18 10  7.6   12.6       56.4    15-cm telescope needed to resolve
M64  4826 Com 5 12 56.7 +21 41  8.8  9.3x5.4  12000      !! Black Eye Galaxy; `eye' needs large aperture
M85  4382 Com 8 12 25.4 +18 11  9.3  7.1x5.2  60000      bright elliptical shape
M88  4501 Com 5 12 32.0 +14 25 10.2    7x4    60000      bright multiple-arm spiral
M91  4548 Com 5 12 35.4 +14 30  9.5  5.4x4.4  60000      some lists say M91 is M58, not NGC 4548
M98  4192 Com 5 12 13.8 +14 54 11.7  9.5x3.2  60000      nearly edge-on spiral near star 6 Comae B.
M99  4254 Com 5 12 18.8 +14 25 10.1  5.4x4.8  60000      nearly face-on spiral near M98
M100  4321 Com 5 12 22.9 +15 49 10.6    7x6    60000      face-on spiral with starlike nucleus

M49  4472 Vir 6 12 29.8 +08 00  8.5    9x7.5  60000      very bright elliptical
M58  4579 Vir 5 12 37.7 +11 49  9.2  5.5x4.5  60000      bright barred spiral; M59 and M60 1 deg East
M59  4621 Vir 6 12 42.0 +11 39  9.6    5x3.5  60000      bright elliptical paired with M60
M60  4649 Vir 6 12 43.7 +11 33  8.9    7x6    60000      bright elliptical with M59 and NGC 4647
M61  4303 Vir 5 12 21.9 +04 28 10.1    6x5.5  60000      face-on two-armed spiral
M84  4374 Vir 8 12 25.1 +12 53  9.3    5.0    60000      M86 and many NGC's nearby; lots to explore !
M86  4406 Vir 8 12 26.2 +12 57  9.7  7.5x5.5  60000      in richest part of Coma-Virgo galaxy cluster
M87  4486 Vir 6 12 30.8 +12 24  9.2    7.0    60000      the one with the famous jet and black hole
M89  4552 Vir 6 12 35.7 +12 33  9.5    4.0    60000      resembles M87 but smaller
M90  4569 Vir 5 12 36.8 +13 10 10.0  9.5x4.5  60000      bright spiral; near M89
M104  4594 Vir 5 12 40.0 -11 37  8.7    9x4    50000      !! Sombrero Galaxy; look for dust lane

M3  5272 CVn 2 13 42.2 +28 23  6.3   16.2       30.6    !! contains many variable stars
M51  5194 CVn 5 13 29.9 +47 12  8.1   11x7    37000      !! Whirlpool Galaxy; superb in big telescopes
M63  5055 CVn 5 13 15.8 +42 02  9.5   10x6    37000      !! Sunflower Galaxy; bright, elongated
M94  4736 CVn 5 12 50.9 +41 07  7.9    7x3    14500      very bright and very comet-like
M106  4258 CVn 5 12 19.0 +47 18  8.6   19x8    25000      !! large bright spiral

M68  4590 Hya 2 12 39.5 -26 45  8.0   12.0       32.3    15-cm telescope needed to resolve
M83  5236 Hya 5 13 37.0 -29 52  7.6   11x10   10000      large and diffuse; tough from northern latitudes

M102? 5866 Dra 8 15 06.5 +55 46 10.0  5.2x2.3  40000      or is M102 = M101 ? (look for NGC 5907 nearby)

M5  5904 Ser 2 15 18.6 +02 05  6.2   17.4       22.8    !! one of the finest globulars

Summer
======

M#    NGC# Con Type  ra    dec   B      D          d      Remarks

M13  6205 Her 2 16 41.7 +36 28  5.7   16.6       22.2    !! Hercules cluster !; NGC 6207 1/2 deg NE
M92  6341 Her 2 17 17.1 +43 08  6.5   11.2       26.1    9 deg NE of M13; fine object but often overlooked

M9  6333 Oph 2 17 19.2 -18 31  7.3    9.3       26.4    smallest of Ophiuchus globulars
M10  6254 Oph 2 16 57.1 -04 06  6.7   15.1       13.4    rich cluster; M12 3 deg NW
M12  6218 Oph 2 16 47.2 -01 57  6.6   14.5       17.6    loose globular cluster
M14  6402 Oph 2 17 37.6 -03 15  7.7   11.7       27.4    20-cm telescope needed to resolve
M19  6273 Oph 2 17 02.6 -26 16  6.6   13.5       27.1    oblate cluster; M62 4 deg South
M62  6266 Oph 2 17 01.2 -30 07  6.6   14.1       21.5    unsymmetrical; in rich field
M107  6171 Oph 2 16 32.5 -13 03  9.2   10.0       19.6    small, faint globular

M4  6121 Sco 2 16 23.6 -26 32  6.4   26.3        6.8    bright globular near Antares
M6  6405 Sco 1 17 40.1 -32 13  5.3   15.0        2      !! Butterfly Cluster; best at low power
M7  6475 Sco 1 17 53.9 -34 49  4.1   80.0        1      !! excellent in binocular or rich-field scope
M80  6093 Sco 2 16 17.0 -22 59  7.7    8.9       27.4    very compressed globular

M16  6611 Ser 1 18 18.8 -13 47  6.4    7.0        7      Eagle Nebula with open cl.; use nebula filter

M8  6523 Sgr 4 18 03.8 -24 23  6.0   60x35       6.5    !! Lagoon Nebula with open cl. NGC 6530
M17  6618 Sgr 4 18 20.8 -16 11  7.5   11.0        5      !! Swan or Omega Nebula !; use nebula filter
M18  6613 Sgr 1 18 19.9 -17 08  7.5    9.0        6      sparse cluster; 1 deg S of M17
M20  6514 Sgr 4 18 02.6 -23 02  9.0   28.0        2.2    !! Trifid Nebula; emission & reflection nebula
M21  6531 Sgr 1 18 04.6 -22 30  6.5   13.0        4.25   0.7 deg NE of M20; sparse cluster
M22  6656 Sgr 2 18 36.4 -23 54  5.9   24.0       10.1    spectacular from southern latitude
M23  6494 Sgr 1 17 56.8 -19 01  6.9   27.0        4.5    bright loose cluster
M24 >6603 Sgr B 18 16.9 -18 29  4.6    5.0       10      rich star cloud; contains open cl. NGC 6603
M25 I4725 Sgr 1 18 31.6 -19 15  6.5   40.0        2      bright but sparse cluster
M28  6626 Sgr 2 18 24.5 -24 52  7.3   11.2       17.9    compact globular near M22
M54  6715 Sgr 2 18 55.1 -30 29  8.0    9.1       82.8    not easily resolved
M55  6809 Sgr 2 19 40.0 -30 58  5.0   19.0       16.6    bright, loose globular
M69  6637 Sgr 2 18 31.4 -32 21  8.9    7.1       25.4    small, poor globular
M70  6681 Sgr 2 18 43.2 -32 18  9.6    7.8       28.0    small globular 2 deg E of M69
M75  6864 Sgr 2 20 06.1 -21 55  8.0    6.0       57.7    small and distant globular; 59,000 ly away

M11  6705 Sct 1 18 51.1 -06 16  6.3   14.0        6      !! Wild Duck Cluster; perhaps the best open cluster
M26  6694 Sct 1 18 45.2 -09 24  9.3   15.0        5      bright, coarse cluster

M56  6779 Lyr 2 19 16.6 +30 11  8.2    7.1       31.6    within a rich star field
M57  6720 Lyr 3 18 53.6 +33 02  8.8  1.4x1.0      4.1    !! Ring Nebula !; 15 mag central star VERY tough

M71  6838 Sge 2 19 53.8 +18 47  9.0    7.2       11.7    loose globular; looks like an open cluster

M27  6853 Vul 3 19 59.6 +22 43  7.4  8.0x5.7      1.25   !! Dumbbell Nebula !; superb object

M29  6913 Cyg 1 20 23.9 +38 32  7.1    7.0        7.2    small, poor open cluster 2 deg S of gamma Cygni
M39  7092 Cyg 1 21 32.2 +48 26  5.2   32.0        0.825  very sparse cluster; use low power

Autumn
======

M#    NGC# Con Type  ra    dec   B      D          d      Remarks

M2  7089 Aqr 2 21 33.5 -00 49  6.3   12.9       36.2    20-cm telescope needed to resolve
M72  6981 Aqr 2 20 53.5 -12 32  9.8    5.9       52.8    near NGC 7009, the Saturn Nebula
M73  6994 Aqr A 20 58.9 -12 38  9.0    2.8        ?      group of 4 stars only; an `asterism'

M15  7078 Peg 2 21 30.0 +12 10  6.0   12.3       32.6    rich, compact cluster

M30  7099 Cap 2 21 40.4 -23 11  8.4   11.0       24.8    toughest object in one-night Messier marathon

M52  7654 Cas 1 23 24.2 +61 35  7.3   13.0        7      young rich cluster; faint Bubble Neb. nearby
M103   581 Cas 1 01 33.2 +60 42  7.4    6.0        8      3 NGC clusters nearby

M31   224 And 5 00 42.7 +41 16  4.8  178       2200      !! Andromeda Gal.; 4 deg wide; look for dust lanes
M32   221 And 6 00 42.7 +40 52  8.7    8x6     2200      closest companion to M31
M110   205 And 6 00 40.4 +41 41  9.4   17x10    2200      more distant companion to M31

M33   598 Tri 5 01 33.9 +30 39  6.7   73x45    2300      large diffuse spiral; requires dark sky

M74   628 Psc 5 01 36.7 +15 47 10.2 10.2x9.5  35000      faint, illusive spiral; difficult in small telescopes

M77  1068 Cet 5 02 42.7 -00 01  8.9    7x6    60000      a Seyfert galaxy; starlike nucleus

M34  1039 Per 1 02 42.0 +42 47  5.5   35.0        1.4    best at very low power
M76   650 Per 3 01 42.4 +51 34 10.1  2.7x1.8      3.4    Little Dumbbell; faintest Messier object
dataRASC.txt

A html version of this list is available at  http://messier.seds.org/xtra/similar/dataRASC.html
Messier Astronomical Catalog (A historical note)

What’s the M in M1, M2, … M110?

This is a sketch of what the observer saw through the eyepiece when he pointed his telescope at M1, or Messier Object 1, the Crab Nebula in the winter constellation Taurus. This is a Supernova Remnant!

messier1Eyepiece                                                   M1 – You can see why it would be confused with a comet!

The great contemporary Canadian comet hunter, David Levy writes…

“Fuzzy objects that are not comets lurk all over the sky. They are beautiful to watch, but for people who search for comets they can be viewed as an inconvenience; comet discoverer Leslie Peltier called them “comet masqueraders.” At the end of 1758, Charles Messier found a fuzzy patch around Zeta Tauri. As he studied it from hour to hour and from night to night, he found that the faint fuzzy object stayed plastered to the sky; even though it looked like a comet, it never moved like a comet Deep Sky Objects, David Levy, p. 24

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