Cover image for Deep-sky companions : the Messier objects
Deep-sky companions : the Messier objects
O'Meara, Stephen James, 1956-
Publication Information:
New York : Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xiv, 304 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB65 .O44 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The 110 galaxies, star clusters and nebulae catalogued by the comet hunter Charles Messier in the late 1700s are still the most widely observed celestial wonders in the heavens. They are the favourite targets of amateur astronomers, with such rich variety and detail that they never cease to fascinate. This book provides new and experienced observers with a fresh perspective on the Messier objects. Stephen James O'Meara has prepared a visual feast for the observer. Using the finest optical telescopes available for amateur work, superior eyepieces and the darkest site on Earth, he describes and sketches the view from the telescope as never before. There are new drawings, improved finder charts, and new astronomical data on each object, including findings from the Hubble Space Telescope. This is truly the Messier Guide for the modern age.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This delightful observing companion by veteran astronomical observer, photographer, and writer O'Meara summarizes the basics of observing (including definitions, concepts, and sky descriptions), and methods and equipment involved. David Levy summarizes the life of Charles Messier, a Frenchman well known for his list of interesting astronomical objects, who really was hunting for comets and found only 12--but his fame rests with his catalog of objects, many of which have a cometary appearance. The main feature of the book is descriptions of each of the 110 astronomical objects in the Messier catalog, all of which can be seen in a dark-sky environment with a four-inch telescope. Messier's catalog is heavily used by amateur observers to spot these interesting nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters; they will find this book to be exceptionally useful because it also gives one of the best approaches to observing. Coordinates, size and brightness, distance, excellent description, finding chart, photograph, and a drawing are listed for each object. O'Meara concludes with a description of 20 non-Messier objects, mostly in the southern sky, not in the catalog; short comments about objects not found by Messier; and further suggested readings. Highly recommended. All levels. W. E. Howard III Universities Space Research Association

Table of Contents

ForewordDavid H. Levy
1 Charles Messier and his catalogueDavid H. Levy
2 How to observe the Messier objects
3 The making of this book
4 The Messier objects by number
5 Some thoughts on Charles Messier
6 Twenty spectacular non-Messier objects
Appendix A Objects Messier could not find
Appendix B Messier marathons
Appendix C A quick guide to navigating the Coma-Virgo cluster
Appendix D Suggested reading