Online Astronomy eText: Appendices
The Messier Catalog: Nebulae Link for sharing this page on Facebook
(also see Charles Messier's Catalog: Open Clusters / Globular Clusters / Galaxies)
Page last updated Jan 26, 2015 (needs updating, especially for link targets)
Working M8, M16

Messier Nebulae Quick Links: M1, M8, M16, M17, M20, M27, M42, M43, M57, M76, M78, and M97

M1 (=
NGC 1952 = PGC 2817554 = PGC 2819678), The Crab Nebula
Discovered (1731) by John Bevis
Rediscovered (Aug 28, 1758) by Charles Messier and listed as M1 on Sep 12, 1758
A magnitude 8.4 supernova remnant in Taurus (RA 05 34 31.9, Dec +22 00 52)
Click on the image (below) or the NGC link (above) for more information
(Image Credit NASA, ESA, J. Hester, A. Loll (ASU); Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin (Skyfactory))
HST image of supernova remnant NGC 1952, also known as M1 or the Crab Nebula

TO BE UPDATED AND REVISED

M8 (=
NGC 6533), The Lagoon Nebula
Discovered (1749) by Guillaume Le Gentil
Recorded (1764) by Charles Messier as M8
A magnitude 5.8 emission nebula and open cluster in Sagittarius (RA 18 03 42.0, Dec -24 22 48)
Click on the image (below) or the NGC link (above) for more information
What we see as the Lagoon Nebula in photographs is a far larger and more complex region than what visual observers could see when the Nebula was first observed in the 17th through 19th centuries. As a result, there are several NGC entries corresponding to different parts of the Nebula, and who should be credited with the discovery of which part of the Nebula is less than perfectly clear. The link to NGC 6533 is used simply because it is currently the most detailed of the NGC entries involved, and that identification should be considered tentative until further notice.
(Image credit N. A. Sharp, REU Program, AURA, NOAO, NSF)
NOAO image of emission nebula M8, the Lagoon Nebula

TO BE UPDATED AND REVISED

M16 (=
NGC 6611 + IC 4703), the Eagle Nebula and star cluster
Discovered (1745-46) by Philippe de Chéseaux
Recorded (1764) by Charles Messier as M16
An open cluster and nebula in Serpens (RA 18 18 48, Dec -13 48 26)
Click on the image (below) or the NGC link (above) for more information
(Image Credit T.A.Rector (NRAO/AUI/NSF and NOAO/AURA/NSF) and B.A.Wolpa (AURA/NSF), NOAO)
M16 consists of the star cluster (NGC 6611) which illuminates the Eagle Nebula (IC 4703), and (particularly in modern usage) the Nebula itself. Given the double listing in the NGC/IC and the difficulty of knowing exactly what historical observers saw or thought they saw, it is sometimes listed as only the cluster or only the nebula, and sometimes as the combination of the two. As a result, as in the case of M8, this entry and its associated NGC/IC entries need considerable work before they can be considered more or less definitive, and the entry is subject to revision until further notice.
NOAO image of open cluster NGC 6611 and emission and absorption nebula IC 4703, separately and collectively referred to as M16, or the Eagle Nebula

WORKING HERE

M17 (=
NGC 6618), The Swan, or Omega Nebula
Discovered (1745) by Phillipe de Cheseaux
Recorded (1764) by Charles Messier as M17
An emission nebula and open cluster in Sagittarius (RA 18 20 47, Dec -16 10 18)
Click on the image (below) or the NGC link (above) for more information
(Image Credit Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF/NOAO)
NOAO image of emission nebula and open cluster NGC 6618, also known as M17, or as the Swan Nebula, or the Omega Nebula

M20 (=
NGC 6514), The Trifid Nebula
Discovered (1764) by Charles Messier
A 9th-magnitude emission nebula and open cluster in Sagittarius (RA 18 02 42, Dec -22 58 18)
Click on the image (below) or the NGC link (above) for more information
(Credit & © Jim Misti, Misti Mountain Observatory; used by permission)
Misti Mountain Observatory image of NGC 6514, the Trifid Nebula, also known as M20

M27 (=
NGC 6853), The Dumbbell Nebula
Discovered (1764) by Charles Messier
A 7th-magnitude planetary nebula in Vulpecula (RA 19 59 36, Dec +22 43 18)
Click on the image (below) or the NGC link (above) for more information
(Image Credit Joe & Gail Metcalf, Adam Block, NOAO, AURA, NSF)
NOAO image of planetary nebula NGC 6853, also known as M27, the Dumbbell Nebula

M42 (=
NGC 1976), The Orion Nebula
Discovered (Nov 24, 1610) by Nicolas Peiresc
Earliest known drawing (sometime before 1654) by Giovanni Hodierna (list I, #5)
Recorded (Mar 4, 1769) by Charles Messier as M42
A 4th-magnitude emission nebula (and star cluster) in Orion (RA 05 35 17, Dec -05 23 25)
Click on the image (below) or the NGC link (above) for more information
(Image credit NASA, ESA, M. Robberto (STScI/ESA) and The Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team)
HST image of NGC 1976, also known as M42 or the Orion Nebula

M43 (=
NGC 1982)
Discovered (1731) by Jean-Jacques Mairan
Recorded (1769) by Charles Messier as M43
A 7th-magnitude emission nebula in Orion (RA 05 35 31, Dec -05 16 03)
A portion of the Orion nebula (see M42, above) separated from the main portion by a dark lane.
Click on the image (below) or the NGC link (above) for more information
(Image credit NASA, ESA, M. Robberto (STScI/ESA) and The Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team)
HST image of the portion of the Orion Nebula known as NGC 1982, or as M43

M57 (=
NGC 6720), The Ring Nebula
Discovered (January 1779) by Antoine Darquier
Found by Charles Messier a few days later
A 9th-magnitude planetary nebula in Lyra (RA 18 53 35, Dec +33 01 47)
Click on the image (below) or the NGC link (above) for more information
(Image credit H. Bond et al., Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA), NASA)
HST image of planetary nebula NGC 6720, also known as M57, or the Ring Nebula

M76 (=
NGC 650 + NGC 651), The Little Dumbbell Nebula
Discovered (1780) by Pierre Méchain
Recorded (1780) by Charles Messier as M76
A 10th-magnitude planetary nebula in Perseus (RA 01 42 18, Dec +51 34 17)
Click on the image (below) or the NGC link (above) for more information
(Image credit Adam Block/AURA/NSF/NOAO)
NOAO image of planetary nebula NGC 650 and NGC 651, collectively known as M76 or the Little Dumbbell Nebula

M78 (=
NGC 2067 + NGC 2068)
Discovered (1780) by Pierre Méchain
Recorded (1780) by Charles Messier as M78
An 8th-magnitude reflection nebula in Orion (RA 05 46 45, Dec +00 04 48)
Click on the image (below) or the NGC link (above) for more information
M78 (= NGC 2067 and 2068) is the bright nebula crossed by a semi-circular arc of obscuring material near the center of the image below. For NGC catalog purposes, M78 is divided into two parts. The brighter region, framed by the dark dust lane surrounding the left portion, is NGC 2068. The fainter region to the right of the dust lane is NGC 2067. The reflection nebula at the top of the image is not considered part of M78, and is referred to as NGC 2071.
(Image credit T. A. Rector/University of Alaska Anchorage, H. Schweiker/WIYN and AURA/NSF/NOAO)
NOAO image of reflection nebulae NGC 2067 and NGC 2068, which comprise M78, and on reflection nebula NGC 2071

M97 (=
NGC 3587), The Owl Nebula
Discovered (1781) by Pierre Méchain
Recorded (1781) by Charles Messier as M97
A 10th-magnitude planetary nebula in Ursa Major (RA 11 14 48, Dec +55 01 10)
Click on the image (below) or the NGC link (above) for more information
(Image credit Gary White and Verlenne Monroe/Adam Block/AURA/NSF/NOAO)
NOAO image of planetary nebula NGC 3587, also known as M97, or the Owl Nebula
Online Astronomy eText: Appendices
The Messier Catalog: Nebulae
(also see Charles Messier's Catalog: Open Clusters / Globular Clusters / Galaxies)