By O'Meara S.J.
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Extra info for Deep-Sky Companions: The Messier Objects
When Messier looked for this nebula on several occasions without success, he presumed that it may have been a comet that either was just beginning to shine or in the process of fading. Nevertheless, in 1772, Messier did in fact discover a cluster of stars (M50) in this 13 1 region. ” Uncharacteristically, Messier failed to mention Cassini’s father’s possible discovery in the Connaissance des Temps for 1783. 10. In later editions of John Flamsteed’s Historia Coelestis Britannica, he gives the position of a nebula in the lower leg of Andromeda.
Look about a fist width above the southern horizon. Two finger widths to the east (left) of the Scorpion’s stinger (two stars very close together at the end of the tail) is a large hazy patch, M7, a fine open cluster. Binoculars resolve it into dozens of stars. Another open cluster, M6, lies about one binocular field to the upper right of M7. The teapot asterism in Sagittarius stands just to the east (left) of the Scorpion’s tail. Under dark skies, the Milky Way band seems to steam out of the teapot’s spout and waft across the night sky.
Of the 1,000 or so known planetary nebulae, the Messier catalogue contains four. Finally, there are the galaxies. To see them, we must peer through the Milky Way’s dust, gas, and stars into the vastness of space, where other island universes are traveling on mysterious courses. In the grand scope of the known universe, it appears our young Milky Way spiral is in the minority. Most galaxies are older ellipticals – armless galactic nuclei. These ellipticals range in shape from round to very elongated.
Deep-Sky Companions: The Messier Objects by O'Meara S.J.