Messier Deep Sky Objects

Charles Messier created his list as an aid to avoiding confusing deep space objects with comets. Since Messier was called the "comet ferret" and in his day was the champion comet finder, such a list was very important to him. However, in spite of our snide remarks, he must have known that his list wasn't just space junk because he included objects like the Pleiades which couldn't possibly be confused with a comet. We suspect he liked looking at these beautiful objects whenever he was looking for comets.

Messier was a careful observer, but occasionally made reporting errors and misplaced four objects. These errors were of the forms of math errors (inverted signs) or star hops from the wrong object. Three of these "lost" Messier objects have been recovered by subsequent scholarship. Only M102 remains doubtful.