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Unlock the secrets of the sky...

Messier45.com provides tools for the deep sky observer; the map, the lists of objects and observation projects.

Find objects suited for you

Observing and Hale-Bopp © Mikkel Steine

Arild Moland observing NGC 7762. Photo: © Mikkel Steine

Finding objects suited for your telescope and experience is easy. Just add the following to the end of your search string: FOR <experience> WITH <scope size>:

The results may may be inaccurate. Inaccurate or photographic magnitudes, low surface brightness or varying observing conditions and so on will affect the possibility to detect the object.

The Most Popular Catalogues

Messier 31 © Mikkel Steine

Messier 31, the popular and magnificent Andromeda Galaxy. Photo: © Mikkel Steine

Herschel 400

NGC 7023 Iris Nebula © Mikkel Steine

NGC 7023, the Iris nebula. Photo: © Mikkel Steine

This list was compiled from the original made by The Astronomical League in the US, consisting of the 400 best objects viewable from North America in William Herschel's 2514 entry long list of deep sky objects (originally compiled by Lucian Kemble, Canada).

Arild Moland adapted the H400 to Norwegian latitude (58°N-72°N) by replacing objects with Declination < -25° and most typical summer constellations objects, and replaced them with other, presumably bright Herschel objects at magnitude 12 or brighter.

The 88 Constellations

The constellation Lyra © Mikkel Steine

The constellation Lyra. Photo: © Mikkel Steine

You can search the constellations, list all constellations, list all objects in eg. Andromeda by adding IN Andromeda to the search string. More examples:

What is Messier 45?

Messier 45

Messier 45, better known as the Pleiades. Photo: Palomar Observatory Sky Survey

The deep sky object Messier 45, number 45 on famous astronomer Charles Messier's list of clusters and nebulous objects, is a beautiful naked eye open cluster of mostly blue stars shrouded in dust reflecting the blue starlight, some of which is visible even in binoculars.

The cluster is also called The Seven Sisters, where the sisters are seven of the brightest stars in the cluster. The two bright stars to the left in the cluster are the parents, Atlas and Pleione, hence also the more common name Pleiades (the children of Pleione). The seven sisters are Alcyone, Merope, Electra, Maia, Celaeno, Taygeta and Asterope.

Open Clusters

Open clusters are perfect for any telescope or binoculars. Many are bright, but even the faint ones are accessible with modest equipment. The clusters are located mostly along the Milky Way plane, but some of the nearest clusters appear outside the plane of our galaxy.

Star cluster types

There are many different types of clusterings of stars, both in appearance and true form. Some are true clustering of stars born of the same nebula, while others are mere chance alignments of similar looking stars. Some are patches of brighter areas in the Milky Way and some are remnants of swallowed dwarf galaxies.

Cluster-rich constellations

Some constellations are treasure throves of open cluster gems:

Popular open cluster catalogs

Many of the clusters on these catalogs are some of the finest in the sky.

Deep Sky Hunters catalog

A group of amateurs have over some years collected a sizeable list of possible and definite clusters. Many are asterisms, and some of the objects found are even new planetary nebulae too! However the primary goal of the groups founder Bruno Alessi was to discover true open clusters. The work has also resulted in a published paper with a subset of the most promising cluster candidates.

Globular Clusters

These rich balls of stars are always wonderful to seek out and observe. Many are easy targets, while others are borderline open clusters or small or faint. Some of the brightest deep sky objects are globulars, but it's also possible to observe truly faint and tiny globulars in Andromeda or other neighbouring galaxies.

Managable catalogs of globular clusters

Planetary nebulae

Perhaps the most beautiful objects of all are the planetary nebulae. These objects vary immensely in size, magnitude and colour, depending on their age, orientation, composition, etc. They are remnants of small to medium sized stars' final stance in it's battle against gravity.

Here are some suggestions to manageable (and possibly challenging) lists of PNe.

Popular catalogs

Bright Nebulae

Bright nebulae come in many shapes and sizes. They can be tiny specks or stretch over an entire constellation. It's generally difficult to put a definite border to these illusive clouds and many "objects" in this database are merely parts of large regions of nebulosity. Although some small and clearly defined nebulae have a specified magnitude, most don't. For these it is often better to rely on the Sharpless or Lynds classifications to get an idea on how bright they are.

Galaxy Groups & Clusters

Variable Stars

Doule Stars


Gamma Ray Bursts

There are a few GRB's in the database. More will be added soon...

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