Charles Messier (1730 - 1817) was a French astronomer whose passion was searching for new comets. While attempting this he became frustrated when he came across several "permanent" fuzzy objects in the night sky. In 1759, he started to list and describe the objects he, and other observers, found. His work came to be known as the Messier Catalogue.
He published his first catalogue in 1781 and it consisted of 103 objects. Messier found an additional seven fuzzy objects prior to his death and the revised (modern) catalogue now contains 110 objects.
At this northern latitude we can observe 88 of them throughout the observing "season". Highlands Astronomical Society has broken them down into four categories based on ease of locating and viewing them with the naked eye through to small telescopes and binoculars.
Take up the HAS Messier Challenge and earn your certificates. Click on the links below to obtain your viewing checklists and guides and start completing them today. There are many links on the internet which will assist you hunt down your fuzzy "prey". Good luck and clear skies.
Bronze Challenge - 12 objects
Silver Challenge - 13 objects
Gold Challenge - 30 objects
Platinum Challenge - 33 objects
See pictures of proud Society members receiving their Messier Challenge Certificates