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Messier objects. These 110 astronomical objects were catalogued by the French astronomer Charles Messier (1730-1817), a comet hunter who wanted to list the permanent objects in the sky that might be mistaken for comets. They range from the Crab nebula (M1) at top left to the dwarf elliptical galaxy M110 at bottom right. Other notable Messier objects include the Orion nebula (M42, upper left), the Ring nebula (M57, centre right) and the Whirlpool galaxy (M51, centre left edge). Trying to observe all 110 objects in one night is known as the Messier Marathon. This is easiest to accomplish in the spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
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