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Messier Objects                                                                        Name: ____________________
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Messier Objects


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Messier Objects

  1. 1. Messier Objects Name: ____________________ Astronomy Class Period: ____________________ Date: ____________________ 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: • Galaxies • Open star clusters • Globular star clusters • Nebulae • Planetary Nebulae The list also contains a few miscellaneous objects that do not fit in the above categories. Charles Messier An example of a Messier object is M4. It is a globular star cluster located in the constellation Scorpius (right). 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. Procedure: The Messier data is available at Use this Internet site to determine the number of Messier Objects in each category: Globular Cluster M4 _____ Galaxies _____ Open clusters _____ Globular clusters _____ Nebulae _____ Planetary nebulae _____ Misc 110 Total 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, 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?