The Messier objects are very well known by amateur astronomers and popular visual and imaging targets.

A natural progression for the amateur astronomer wishing to observe deep sky objects would be to view the Messier catalogue, followed by the Caldwell catalogue, and then the Herschel 400 Catalogue. At the end of this exercise the observer would have viewed nearly 600 objects. Although there are 618 objects listed in these three catalogues the Herschel 400 Catalogue does contain some objects from the Messier and Caldwell catalogues.

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Their are 110 Messier objects, French astronomer Charles Messier published 103 of them in 1771 and 1781.

In addition to the 103 items published by Messier, seven more are thought to have been observed by Messier and have been added to the list by other astronomers over the years. These objects are popular because most are very bright and thus easy to see and find making them popular objects for amateur astronomers to observe.

Dedicated page for Messier Objects

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The Caldwell list was conceived by Sir Patrick Moore, Caldwell being his Mothers Maiden Name, they are objects that are easy to find and observe suitable for amateur astronomers with modest equipment.

Unlike objects in the Messier catalogue, which are listed in the order they were discovered, the Caldwell catalogue is ordered by declination, with C1 being the most northerly and C109 being the most southerly, although two objects (NGC 4244 and the Hyades) are listed out of sequence.

Dedicated page for Caldwell objects

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Everything else


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