Deep Space ObjectsHome

This covers objects outside the Solar System; Nebulae, Galaxies, and Star Clusters.

There are a large number of these, so I have divided this page into three.  Click on the image to go to the relevent page.


Messier Objects.
Charles Messier (1730-1817) was a keen searcher for commets and he made a list of 103 fuzzy objects which looked like commets but did not move like commets.  For him, objects to avoid.  In 1786 Pierre Mechain added 6 more and there are now 110 entries in the catalogue.  However, one of them (no. 40) seems to be a double star.  All the others have entries in the NGC catalogue (see below) but are more usually known by their M numbers.  They also represent the brighter objects so are popular subjects for amateur imagers.  The list includes all kinds of objects, nebulae, galaxies, clusters, and even a super-nova remanent.

The New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars,
or the NGC catalogue as it is more usually known, is not so new. It was compiled in 1888 by Johan Ludvig Emil Dreyer and originally contained about 8000 objects.  He extended it in 1895 and 1908 with his first and second Index Catalogues.

There are several other catalogues of objects other than stars.  I have menioned the Index Catalogues (IC) above.  There is also Barnard's Catalogue of dark nebulae (B), and a number of other, specialised catalogues.

There is also the Caldwell catalogue, which includes the brighter objects not included in Messier's catalogue