Flintstone Stargazing

March 15, 2009

Charles Messier and the Messier Objects

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Messier Objects, Podcast — Ed @ 7:10 pm

Today is another of my podcasts found at 365 days of Astronomy, here. My topic is one of my favorite things about the night sky, the Messier Objects. While my podcast pretty much gives an overview of who Charles Messier was and what his objects are, I thought I’d have a post showing some of my favorite objects. Last year, I actually imaged all 110 of the Messier Objects. Those images can be seen here. All of those images were taken using the same setup, so they are roughly comparable one to another (although each of them was stretched a bit differently). The following images all have different exposure times, but show off some of my favorites:

The Dumbbell Nebula, M27, is probably my favorite planetary nebula in the Messier Catalog. It’s big, easy to see and wonderful to image.

M45-The Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters, is my favorite open cluster. It also has quite a wonderful reflection nebula surrounding it.

M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy, is a wonderful target particularly for imaging.

M20, the Trifid Nebula is a beautiful emission and reflection nebula found in Sagittarius.

M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, is a wonderful galaxy that is visible, under dark skies, to the naked eye.

M42, the Great Orion Nebula, is also a naked eye visible Messier Object. It’s one of the most wondeful targets to view or image with a telescope.

M13, the Great Hercules Cluster, is my favorite among the globular clusters. It’s easy to find and just is wonderful through the scope.

These are just a sample of the 110 wonderful objects found in Charles Messier’s catalog. I hope folks go out and try to see them all. It’s worth the effort.



  1. I am an avid planetarium lecture attendee………….Years ago, a man by the name of (He taught Freshman astronomy) Dr. Ray T. Dufford … I knew his name would come back to me. He had such wonderful lectures at the Kock Planetarium in Evansville, IN. They were on Sunday afternoons at 2:30 pm I think. It has been so long. His wife would be there with him. She taught piano. He would always play Holst’s music of THE PLANETS, I think. So much time has passed since his departure. One thing about Dufford; his lectures were scot-free…………how about that. melthebirdman@hotmail.com peace and hope mel

    Comment by mel birdman — May 28, 2009 @ 5:36 pm

  2. correction. Koch Planetarium sorry about the mispell

    Comment by mel birdman — May 28, 2009 @ 5:37 pm

  3. Also we have an observatory (out of town) near Lynnville, Indiana. It is located a mile or so West of Lynnville on a hill. The man who is responsible for its existence is Walter Wahnseidler. He sure did a lot for the community. melthebirdman@hotmail.com clear

    Comment by mel birdman — May 28, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

  4. There is also an astronomy club here I think. It has been decades since I attended it, however. mel

    Comment by mel birdman — May 28, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

  5. I joined the Evansville Astronomical Society in 1960, still a member today. Proud to say Dr Dufford became a very good friend of mine. In his last years I would give him a ride home from our club meetings when he was no longer able to drive. Spent many evenings with Dr Dufford and his wife. They were wonderful people.

    Comment by James C Baize — April 29, 2010 @ 11:29 pm

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