Messier , Charles
(1730–1817) French astronomer
Messier, who was born in Badonviller in France, arrived in Paris in 1751 and was taken on as a clerical assistant by J. Delisle at the Naval Observatory sited in the Collège de Cluny. He quickly learned how to use the Observatory instruments and began a lifetime's obsessive search for comets. Dubbed the ‘comet ferret’ by Louis XV, Messier is credited with the discovery of 13 comets between 1759 and 1798. The computation of the cometary orbits, however, was left to his more mathematically sophisticated colleagues.
In 1758 he observed what appeared to be a faint comet in Taurus. Further examination revealed it to be a nebula, an immense cloud of gas. Messier thought it sensible to provide a list of such objects “so that astronomers would not confuse these same nebulae with comets just beginning to shine.” He published his first list of 45 nebulae in 1774 under the title Catalogue des nebeleuses et des amas étoiles (Catalog of Nebulae and Star Clusters). Two supplements published in 1783 and 1784 increased the number of nebulae to 103.
The nebulae listed in the catalogs were given the identifying letter M and a number; for example, the Andromeda nebula is commonly referred to as M31.

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Messier, Charles — ▪ French astronomer born June 26, 1730, Badonviller, France died April 12, 1817, Paris       French astronomer who was the first to compile a systematic catalog of nebulae (nebula) and star clusters. In Messier s (Messier catalog) time a nebula… …   Universalium

  • Messier, Charles — ► (1730 1817) Astrónomo francés. Fue el primero en confeccionar un catálogo sistemático de las nebulosas y los círculos estelares …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Charles Messier — Born 26 June 1730(1730 06 …   Wikipedia

  • Charles Messier — Charles Messier. El cazacometas Charles Messier, (16 de junio de 1730 12 de abril de 1817) fue un astrónomo francés conocido por ser el creador del catálogo de 110 objetos del espacio profundo (nebulosas, galaxias y cúmulos de estrellas) (los… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Messier catalog — [mes′ē ā΄] n. [after MESSIER Charles] Astron. a listing of 109 galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae: often called Messier s catalog …   English World dictionary

  • Messier object — The Messier objects are a set of astronomical objects first listed by French astronomer Charles Messier in 1771.[1] The original motivation of the catalogue was that Messier was a comet hunter, and was frustrated by objects which resembled but… …   Wikipedia

  • Charles Messier — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Messier. Charles Messier Naissance 26 juin 1730 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Messier 104 — Datenbanklinks zu Sombreronebel Galaxie Sombreronebel …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Messier 27 — Datenbanklinks zu Hantelnebel Planetarischer Nebel Daten des Hantelnebels …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Messier 40 — Datenbanklinks zu Winnecke 4 Doppelstern Winnecke 4 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”