The EVAC Binocular Messier Observing Program

The French astronomer Charles Messier was born in 1730. He became interested in astronomy during his early teens, and went on to become a professional astronomer. Between 1758 and 1782 he compiled a list of diffuse objects that were difficult to distinguish from comets through the telescopes of the day. Discovering comets was the way to make a name for yourself in astronomy in the 18th century -- Messier's aim was to catalog the objects that were often mistaken for comets. Fortunately for us, the Messier Catalog became well known for a much better reason. It is a comprehensive list of some of the brightest and most beautiful objects in the night sky. The catalog, as it exists today, contains objects discovered by Charles Messier and Pierre Méchain.

The rules for this program are quite simple: log your observations of 50 or more of the Messier objects. You may use any pair of binoculars you choose. The Messier catalog is listed below for your convenience.

Click right here to download an observation log form for the Binocular Messier Observing Program (PDF format).

The Messier Catalog

OBJECT NGC# CON TYPE RA DEC MAG SIZE DIST
M001 1952 Tau 9 05:34:05 +22.01 8.4 6x4 6.3
M002 7089 Aqr 2 21:33:05 -00.49 6.5 12.9 36.2
M003 5272 CVn 2 13:42:02 +28.23 6.2 16.2 30.6
M004 6121 Sco 2 16:23:06 -26.32 5.6 26.3 6.8
M005 5904 Ser 2 15:18:06 +02.05 5.6 17.4 22.8
M006 6405 Sco 1 17:40:01 -32.13 5.3 25 2
M007 6475 Sco 1 17:53:09 -34.49 4.1 80 0.8
M008 6523 Sgr 4 18:03:08 -24.23 6 90x40 5.2
M009 6333 Oph 2 17:19:02 -18.31 7.7 9.3 26.4
M010 6254 Oph 2 16:57:01 -04.06 6.6 15.1 13.4
M011 6705 Sct 1 18:51:01 -06.16 6.3 14 6
M012 6218 Oph 2 16:47:02 -01.57 6.7 14.5 17.6
M013 6205 Her 2 16:41:07 +36.28 5.8 16.6 22.8
M014 6402 Oph 2 17:37:06 -03.15 7.6 11.7 27.4
M015 7078 Peg 2 21:30:00 +12.10 6.2 12.3 32.6
M016 6611 Ser 1 18:18:08 -13.47 6.4 7 7
M017 6618 Sgr 4 18:20:08 -16.11 7 11 5
M018 6613 Sgr 1 18:19:09 -17.08 7.5 9 4.9
M019 6273 Oph 2 17:02:06 -26.16 6.8 13.5 27.1
M020 6514 Sgr 4 18:02:06 -23.02 9 28 5.2
M021 6531 Sgr 1 18:04:06 -22.30 6.5 13 4.25
M022 6656 Sgr 2 18:36:04 -23.54 5.1 24 10.1
M023 6494 Sgr 1 17:56:08 -19.01 6.9 27 2.15
M024 6603 Sgr B 18:16:09 -18.29 4.6 90 10
M025 4725 Sgr 1 18:31:06 -19.15 6.5 40 2
M026 6694 Sct 1 18:45:02 -09.24 8 15 5
M027 6853 Vul 3 19:59:06 +22.43 7.4 8x5.7 1.25
M028 6626 Sgr 2 18:24:05 -24.52 6.8 11.2 17.9
M029 6913 Cyg 1 20:23:09 +38.32 7.1 7 4
M030 7099 Cap 2 21:40:04 -23.11 7.2 11 24.8
M031 224 And 5 00:42:07 +41.16 3.4 178x63 2900
M032 221 And 6 00:42:07 +40.52 8.1 8x6 2900
M033 598 Tri 5 01:33:09 +30.39 5.7 73x45 3000
M034 1039 Per 1 02:42:00 +42.47 5.5 35 1.4
M035 2168 Gem 1 06:08:09 +24.20 5.3 28 2.8
M036 1960 Aur 1 05:36:01 +34.08 6.3 12 4.1
M037 2099 Aur 1 05:52:04 +32.33 6.2 24 4.4
M038 1912 Aur 1 05:28:04 +35.50 7.4 21 4.2
M039 7092 Cyg 1 21:32:02 +48.26 5.2 32 0.825
M040 Win4 UMa C 12:22:04 +58.05 8.4 0.8 0.51
M041 2287 CMa 1 06:46:00 -20.44 4.6 38 2.3
M042 1976 Ori 4 05:35:04 -05.27 4 85x60 1.6
M043 1982 Ori 4 05:35:06 -05.16 9 20x15 1.6
M044 2632 Cnc 1 08:40:01 +19.59 3.7 95 0.577
M045 - Tau 1 03:47:00 +24.07 1.6 110 0.38
M046 2437 Pup 1 07:41:08 -14.49 6 27 5.4
M047 2422 Pup 1 07:36:06 -14.30 5.2 30 1.6
M048 2548 Hya 1 08:13:08 -05.48 5.5 54 1.5
M049 4472 Vir 6 12:29:08 +08.00 8.4 9x7.5 60000
M050 2323 Mon 1 07:03:02 -08.20 6.3 16 3
M051 5194 CVn 5 13:29:09 +47.12 8.4 11x7 37000
M052 7654 Cas 1 23:24:02 +61.35 7.3 13 5
M053 5024 Com 2 13:12:09 +18.10 7.6 12.6 56.4
M054 6715 Sgr 2 18:55:01 -30.29 7.6 9.1 82.8
M055 6809 Sgr 2 19:40:00 -30.58 6.3 19 16.6
M056 6779 Lyr 2 19:16:06 +30.11 8.3 7.1 31.6
M057 6720 Lyr 3 18:53:06 +33.02 8.8 1.4x1.0 4.1
M058 4579 Vir 5 12:37:07 +11.49 9.7 5.5x4.5 60000
M059 4621 Vir 6 12:42:00 +11.39 9.6 5x3.5 60000
M060 4649 Vir 6 12:43:07 +11.33 8.8 7x6 60000
M061 4303 Vir 5 12:21:09 +04.28 9.7 6x5.5 60000
M062 6266 Oph 2 17:01:02 -30.07 6.5 14.1 21.5
M063 5055 CVn 5 13:15:08 +42.02 8.6 10x6 37000
M064 4826 Com 5 12:56:07 +21.41 8.5 9.3x5.4 19000
M065 3623 Leo 5 11:18:09 +13.05 9.3 8x1.5 35000
M066 3627 Leo 5 11:20:02 +12.59 8.9 8x2.5 35000
M067 2682 Cnc 1 08:50:04 +11.49 6.1 30 2.7
M068 4590 Hya 2 12:39:05 -26.45 7.8 12 32.3
M069 6637 Sgr 2 18:31:04 -32.21 7.6 7.1 26.7
M070 6681 Sgr 2 18:43:02 -32.18 7.9 7.8 28
M071 6838 Sge 2 19:53:08 +18.47 8.2 7.2 11.7
M072 6981 Aqr 2 20:53:05 -12.32 9.3 5.9 52.8
M073 6994 Aqr A 20:58:09 -12.38 9 2.8 0
M074 628 Psc 5 01:36:07 +15.47 9.4 0.2x9.5 35000
M075 6864 Sgr 2 20:06:01 -21.55 8.5 6 57.7
M076 650 Per 3 01:42:04 +51.34 10.1 2.7x1.8 3.4
M077 1068 Cet 5 02:42:07 -00.01 8.9 7x6 60000
M078 2068 Ori 4 05:46:07 +00.03 8.3 8x6 1.6
M079 1904 Lep 2 05:24:05 -24.33 7.7 8.7 41.1
M080 6093 Sco 2 16:17:00 -22.59 7.3 8.9 27.4
M081 3031 UMa 5 09:55:06 +69.04 6.9 21x10 12000
M082 3034 UMa 7 09:55:08 +69.41 8.4 9x4 12000
M083 5236 Hya 5 13:37:00 -29.52 7.6 11x10 15000
M084 4374 Vir 8 12:25:01 +12.53 9.1 5 60000
M085 4382 Com 8 12:25:04 +18.11 9.1 7.1x5.2 60000
M086 4406 Vir 8 12:26:02 +12.57 8.9 7.5x5.5 60000
M087 4486 Vir 6 12:30:08 +12.24 8.6 7 60000
M088 4501 Com 5 12:32:00 +14.25 9.6 7x4 60000
M089 4552 Vir 6 12:35:07 +12.33 9.8 4 60000
M090 4569 Vir 5 12:36:08 +13.10 9.5 9.5x4.5 60000
M091 4548 Com 5 12:35:04 +14.30 10.2 5.4x4.4 60000
M092 6341 Her 2 17:17:01 +43.08 6.4 11.2 26.4
M093 2447 Pup 1 07:44:06 -23.52 6 22 3.6
M094 4736 CVn 5 12:50:09 +41.07 8.2 7x3 14500
M095 3351 Leo 5 10:44:00 +11.42 9.7 4.4x3.3 38000
M096 3368 Leo 5 10:46:08 +11.49 9.2 6x4 38000
M097 3587 UMa 3 11:14:08 +55.01 9.9 3.4x3.3 2.6
M098 4192 Com 5 12:13:08 +14.54 10.1 9.5x3.2 60000
M099 4254 Com 5 12:18:08 +14.25 9.9 5.4x4.8 60000
M100 4321 Com 5 12:22:09 +15.49 9.3 7x6 60000
M101 5457 UMa 5 14:03:02 +54.21 7.9 22 27000
M102 5866 Dra 8 15:06:05 +55.46 9.9 5.2x2.3 40000
M103 581 Cas 1 01:33:02 +60.42 7.4 6 8
M104 4594 Vir 5 12:40:00 -11.37 8 9x4 50000
M105 3379 Leo 6 10:47:08 +12.35 9.3 2 38000
M106 4258 CVn 5 12:19:00 +47.18 8.4 19x8 25000
M107 6171 Oph 2 16:32:05 -13.03 7.9 10 19.6
M108 3556 UMa 5 11:11:05 +55.40 10 8x1 45000
M109 3992 UMa 5 11:57:06 +53.23 9.8 7x4 25000
M110 205 And 6 00:40:04 +41.41 8.5 17x10 2900

Legend

Type 1 = Globular Cluster Type 6 = Elliptical Galaxy Type B = Milky Way Patch
Type 2 = Open Cluster Type 7 = Irregular Galaxy Type C = Binary Star
Type 3 = Planetary Nebula Type 8 = Lenticular Galaxy Mag = Apparent Visual magnitude
Type 4 = Diffuse Nebula Type 9 = Supernova Remnant Size is in arc-minutes
Type 5 = Spiral Galaxy Type A = Asterism Dist = kilo-light-years

 

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