Charles Messier, a World Famous Astronomer, was born to Nicolas Messier and Francoise in Badonviller, France on 26th June 1730. He was notable for publishing his remarkable astronomical catalog which consisted the star clusters and nebulae in the Northern Hemisphere. In addition to the star clusters and nebulae, Messier also studied about sunspots, eclipses and occultations
Messier?s interest in astronomy was stimulated by the appearance of the spectacular, great six tailed comet in 1744 and by an annular solar eclipse visible from his hometown on 25 July 1748. He was employed by the astronomer of the Navy, Joseph Nicolas Delisle, because of his fine hand-writing. Delisle trained Messier to use his astronomical laboratory and devices. This helped him to work independently in creating his own catalog.
Messier did his observations with the help of a 100mm refracting telescope. Messier?s discovered not only the comets, but also non-comet deep sky objects. The non-comet objects discovered by Messier were called ?Messier objects?.
The reason for Messier?s compilation of his catalog was to help him in discovering comets. In normal circumstances, it would take a very long time for astronomers to detect a comet. It requires constant updating of the positions and change in the sky.? The catalog was a great relief for astronomers to help them in distinguishing the permanent and transient diffused objects in the sky.
Messier catalog contains locations and detailed descriptions of 110 of the brightest deep sky objects in the universe. His catalog can be classified into four main divisions, namely:
Some of Messier?s discoveries are mentioned below.
For his outstanding discoveries to the world of astronomy, he was received the Cross of the Legion of Honour award in 1802.
Messier served as the chief astronomer of the Marine Observatory in 1759 and later became the Astronomer of the Navy in 1771.
He was also a member of the prestigious Royal Society of London in 1764.
King Louis XV gave Messier the nickname “Comet Ferret.”
Charles Messier’s life work has been honored by the International Astronomy Community by naming a Moon crater after the astronomer.
Messier died on April 12, 1817, due to a stroke. He was buried in Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, on April 14.