Messier Objects Name: ____________________
Astronomy Class Period: ____________________
French astronomer Charles Messier (1713-1830) was a famed comet discoverer and night sky
observer. He created a famous list of the night sky’s most interesting telescope objects.
The Messier List consists of 110 deep sky objects in the following categories:
• Open star clusters
• Globular star clusters
• Planetary Nebulae
The list also contains a few miscellaneous objects that do not fit in the above categories.
An example of a Messier object is M4. It is a globular star cluster located in the constellation
In this exercise, you will examine the Messier catalog to determine the relative amounts of
each object. You will also describe how these objects are related to our Milky Way Galaxy
and the surrounding universe.
The Messier data is available at www.ngc891.com. Use this Internet site to determine the
number of Messier Objects in each category: Globular Cluster M4
_____ Open clusters
_____ Globular clusters
_____ Planetary nebulae
Bar Chart: Create a bar chart displaying the numbers of each type of Messier object listed above. Use Excel or graph
paper for your bar chart. Staple your chart to this lab sheet.
Analysis & Conclusions:
1. Which type of object is most numerous? Least numerous?
2. Which constellation contains the most Messier objects?
3. Using a star map (available at www.ngc891.com), compare the positions of Messier galaxies, open clusters,
and globular clusters. Which objects correspond to the Milky Way’s plane? Which objects surround the
center of the Milky Way in a halo?
4. Which objects in the Messier list are located outside of the Milky Way?