Messier Objects

The Messier objects are a set of 110 astronomical objects cataloged by the French astronomer Charles Messier. They include galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters. Charles Messier, a prominent figure in the field of astronomy, compiled this catalog in the 18th century as a way to distinguish between permanent and transient celestial objects such as comets. His careful documentation and classification of these fascinating astronomical phenomena have become invaluable to astronomers and stargazers alike, serving as a foundation for further exploration and understanding of the universe.

Below is a table with some basic details for each Messier object:

Messier NumberObject TypeCommon NameConstellationMagSize (arcmin)Notes
M1Supernova RemnantCrab NebulaTaurus8.46Remnant of a supernova explosion
M2Globular ClusterMessier 2Aquarius6.316Rich globular cluster
M3Globular ClusterMessier 3Canes Venatici6.216Bright, dense globular cluster
M4Globular ClusterMessier 4Scorpius5.926.3Contains a strong X-ray source
M5Globular ClusterMessier 5Serpens5.723.1One of the oldest known globular clusters
M6Open ClusterButterfly ClusterScorpius4.220Easily visible to the naked eye
M7Open ClusterPtolemy’s ClusterScorpius3.380Contains about 80 stars
M8NebulaLagoon NebulaSagittarius690Active star-forming region
M9Globular ClusterMessier 9Ophiuchus8.412Close to the center of the Milky Way
M10Globular ClusterMessier 10Ophiuchus6.420Bright globular cluster
M11Open ClusterWild Duck ClusterScutum6.314Rich star cluster with dark lanes
M12Globular ClusterMessier 12Ophiuchus6.714Contains many variable stars
M13Globular ClusterGreat Hercules ClusterHercules5.820Brightest globular cluster in the N. Hem.
M14Globular ClusterMessier 14Ophiuchus7.611Contains a planetary nebula
M15Globular ClusterMessier 15Pegasus6.218Contains a large number of variable stars
M16NebulaEagle NebulaSerpens6.47Star-forming region with Pillars of Creation
M17NebulaOmega NebulaSagittarius611Active star-forming region
M18Open ClusterMessier 18Sagittarius7.59Part of a complex of star clusters
M19Globular ClusterMessier 19Ophiuchus7.217Elliptical shape with central bar
M20NebulaTrifid NebulaSagittarius6.328Combination of emission and reflection nebulae
M21Open ClusterMessier 21Sagittarius6.513Contains about 57 stars
M22Globular ClusterMessier 22Sagittarius5.132One of the brightest globular clusters
M23Open ClusterMessier 23Sagittarius6.927Open cluster with roughly 150 stars
M24Star CloudSmall Sagittarius Star CloudSagittariusPart of the Milky Way obscured by dust
M25Open ClusterMessier 25Sagittarius4.632Bright open cluster with nebulosity
M26Open ClusterMessier 26Scutum89Open cluster with a dense core
M27Planetary NebulaDumbbell NebulaVulpecula7.48Shaped like a prolate spheroid
M28Globular ClusterMessier 28Sagittarius6.811Contains RR Lyrae variable stars
M29Open ClusterMessier 29Cygnus7.17Loose open cluster with 50 stars
M30Globular ClusterMessier 30Capricornus7.212Rich in variable stars
M31GalaxyAndromeda GalaxyAndromeda3.4190Largest galaxy in the Local Group
M32GalaxyMessier 32Andromeda8.18Satellite galaxy of M31
M33GalaxyTriangulum GalaxyTriangulum5.770Member of the Local Group
M34Open ClusterMessier 34Perseus5.535Contains about 100 stars
M35Open ClusterMessier 35Gemini5.328Rich open cluster with over 200 stars
M36Open ClusterMessier 36Auriga614Young open cluster
M37Open ClusterMessier 37Auriga5.624Rich open cluster with 500 stars
M38Open ClusterMessier 38Auriga6.421Contains an associated reflection nebula
M39Open ClusterMessier 39Cygnus4.632Part of the Cygnus OB1 association
M40Double StarWinnecke 4Ursa Major9.1Not originally included by Messier
M41Open ClusterMessier 41Canis Major4.538Bright open cluster with 100 stars
M42NebulaOrion NebulaOrion465Emission nebula in the Orion Molecular Cloud
M43NebulaDe Mairan’s NebulaOrion920Part of the Orion Nebula complex
M44Open ClusterBeehive ClusterCancer3.195Bright open cluster with over 1,000 stars
M45Open ClusterPleiadesTaurus1.6110Bright and well-known open cluster
M46Open ClusterMessier 46Puppis6.127Contains a planetary nebula
M47Open ClusterMessier 47Puppis4.230Rich open cluster with 50 stars
M48Open ClusterMessier 48Hydra5.554Contains over 80 stars
M49Elliptical GalaxyMessier 49Virgo8.49Member of the Virgo Cluster
M50Open ClusterMessier 50Monoceros5.916Contains about 200 stars
M51GalaxyWhirlpool GalaxyCanes Venatici8.412Interacting galaxy pair
M52Open ClusterMessier 52Cassiopeia6.913Rich open cluster with about 200 stars
M53Globular ClusterMessier 53Coma Berenices7.713Elliptical globular cluster
M54Globular ClusterMessier 54Sagittarius7.611In the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy
M55Globular ClusterMessier 55Sagittarius719Rich, dense globular cluster
M56Globular ClusterMessier 56Lyra8.38Contains RR Lyrae variable stars
M57Planetary NebulaRing NebulaLyra8.81.4×1.0Formed by expanding shell of ionized gas
M58Spiral GalaxyMessier 58Virgo9.75.5×4.5Part of the Virgo Cluster
M59Elliptical GalaxyMessier 59Virgo9.65.5×4.5Part of the Virgo Cluster
M60Elliptical GalaxyMessier 60Virgo8.87.6×6.2Part of the Virgo Cluster
M61Spiral GalaxyMessier 61Virgo9.76.5×5.9Part of the Virgo Cluster
M62Globular ClusterMessier 62Ophiuchus6.515Elliptical globular cluster
M63Spiral GalaxySunflower GalaxyCanes Venatici8.612.6×7.2Also known as the Black Eye Galaxy
M64Spiral GalaxyBlack Eye GalaxyComa Berenices8.59.3×5.4Distinct dark band of absorbing dust
M65Spiral GalaxyMessier 65Leo9.38.0×1.6Part of the Leo Triplet
M66Spiral GalaxyMessier 66Leo8.99.1×4.2Part of the Leo Triplet
M67Open ClusterMessier 67Cancer6.125Older than most open clusters
M68Globular ClusterMessier 68Hydra7.811Elliptical globular cluster
M69Globular ClusterMessier 69Sagittarius7.67Part of the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy
M70Globular ClusterMessier 70Sagittarius7.97Part of the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy
M71Globular ClusterMessier 71Sagitta7.97Unusual for a globular cluster
M72Globular ClusterMessier 72Aquarius9.36Elliptical globular cluster
M73AsterismMessier 73Aquarius9Asterism of four stars
M74Spiral GalaxyMessier 74Pisces1010.0×9.4Low surface brightness spiral galaxy
M75Globular ClusterMessier 75Sagittarius8.56Elliptical globular cluster
M76Planetary NebulaLittle Dumbbell NebulaPerseus11.12.7×1.8Bipolar planetary nebula
M77Spiral GalaxyMessier 77Cetus8.97.0×6.0Active galactic nucleus
M78Reflection NebulaMessier 78Orion8.38Reflection nebula in Orion Molecular Cloud
M79Globular ClusterMessier 79Lepus7.79Elliptical globular cluster
M80Globular ClusterMessier 80Scorpius7.38.9Rich globular cluster with a central bar
M81Spiral GalaxyBode’s GalaxyUrsa Major6.921.0×11.0Interacting galaxy pair with M82
M82Irregular GalaxyCigar GalaxyUrsa Major8.411.0×4.4Starburst galaxy with intense star formation
M83Spiral GalaxySouthern Pinwheel GalaxyHydra7.613.1×12.9Barred spiral galaxy
M84Lenticular GalaxyMessier 84Virgo9.15.3×5.1Elliptical galaxy with a dust lane
M85Lenticular GalaxyMessier 85Coma Berenices9.17.1×5.8Elliptical galaxy in the Virgo Cluster
M86Lenticular GalaxyMessier 86Virgo8.98.9×5.8Elliptical galaxy in the Virgo Cluster
M87Elliptical GalaxyVirgo AVirgo8.67.2×6.8Giant elliptical galaxy with a jet
M88Spiral GalaxyMessier 88Coma Berenices9.66.0×4.8Spiral galaxy in the Virgo Cluster
M89Elliptical GalaxyMessier 89Virgo9.85.2×4.9Elliptical galaxy in the Virgo Cluster
M90Spiral GalaxyMessier 90Virgo9.59.0×5.6Spiral galaxy in the Virgo Cluster
M91Spiral GalaxyMessier 91Coma Berenices10.25.5×4.8Spiral galaxy in the Virgo Cluster
M92Globular ClusterMessier 92Hercules6.414Bright, compact globular cluster
M93Open ClusterMessier 93Puppis622Open cluster with about 80 stars
M94Spiral GalaxyMessier 94Canes Venatici8.211.0×9.0Spiral galaxy with a central ring
M95Barred Spiral GalaxyMessier 95Leo9.77.0×5.0Barred spiral galaxy
M96Spiral GalaxyMessier 96Leo9.26.0×5.0Spiral galaxy with a faint outer ring
M97Planetary NebulaOwl NebulaUrsa Major9.93.4×3.3Planetary nebula with a dark “eye”
M98Spiral GalaxyMessier 98Coma Berenices10.19.8×2.8Spiral galaxy with faint arms
M99Spiral GalaxyMessier 99Coma Berenices9.94.8×4.2Spiral galaxy with a bright core
M100Spiral GalaxyMessier 100Coma Berenices9.47.0×6.1Grand design spiral galaxy
M101Spiral GalaxyPinwheel GalaxyUrsa Major7.927.0×26.0Spiral galaxy with prominent arms
M102GalaxySpindle GalaxyDraco9.76.9×2.0Later identified as NGC 5866
M103Open ClusterMessier 103Cassiopeia7.46Open cluster with about 40 stars
M104Spiral GalaxySombrero GalaxyVirgo89.4×4.6Spiral galaxy with a bright nucleus
M105Elliptical GalaxyMessier 105Leo9.34.8×4.4Elliptical galaxy in the Leo I Group
M106Spiral GalaxyMessier 106Canes Venatici8.418.0×8.4Seyfert II galaxy with an active nucleus
M107Globular ClusterMessier 107Ophiuchus7.913Elliptical globular cluster
M108Spiral GalaxyMessier 108Ursa Major108.6×2.2Edge-on spiral galaxy
M109Barred Spiral GalaxyMessier 109Ursa Major9.87.0×4.6Barred spiral galaxy