GARY BROWN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GARY BROWN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Caricature of the French astronomer Charles Messier (1730-1817) standing in front of a chart of astronomical objects. Messier is best known for publishing an astronomical catalogue consisting of nebulae and star clusters that came to be known as the 110 'Messier objects'. This catalogue helped astronomical observers, in particular comet hunters such as himself, distinguish between permanent and transient visually diffuse objects in the sky. The crater Messier on the Moon and the asteroid 7359 Messier were named in his honour.
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