Messier Catalogue: the complete list

The complete Messier Catalogue, including magnitudes and coordinates to find each one in the night sky.

Some of the most famous objects in the Messier Catalogue. Clockwise from top left: M13, M1, M45, M51, M16, M44. Credit: Hannes Bachleitner, Dieter Retzl, Manfred Wasshuber, Günter Kerschhuber / CCDGuide.com

The Messier Catalogue is perhaps the most famous astronomy catalogue there is, detailing deep-sky objects such as galaxies, globular clusters and nebulae. It’s a ‘what’s what’ of some of the best objects to see in the night sky with a telescope.

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But the Messier Catalogue didn’t start out as a list of desirable astronomical objects: rather, it was comet-hunter Charles Messier’s record of targets to avoid in the night sky.

The iconic Whirlpool Galaxy, well-known due to its distinctive shape, seen here in a classic Hubble Space Telescope image. Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
M51, The Whirlpool Galaxy, is one of the most famous objects in the Messier Catalogue. This image of the galaxy was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Who was Charles Messier?

Charles Messier was born in Badonviller, eastern France, on 26 June 1730. Based at an observatory in the Hôtel de Cluny in central Paris, he became one of the most famous comet hunters of his time with at least 13 comets to his credit, along with observations of many others.

However, he was distracted by other ‘fuzzy’ objects in the heavens and in May 1764 decided to start keeping a record of them to avoid subsequently mistaking them for real comets.

His initial catalogue consisted of 41 entries, so he added several other previously known objects to bring the total to 45.

In later years its creator was helped by friend and colleague Pierre Méchain, who was responsible for most of the latter Messier objects.

Messier’s final catalogue, published in 1781, went up to 103 entries. Although he never added any more objects to his list before his death in Paris on 12 April 1817, he did leave notes on several more he had found.

Charles Messier, creator of the original Messier Catalogue. Credit: Ansiaume (1729—1786) - Stoyan R. et al. Atlas of the Messier Objects: Highlights of the Deep Sky. — Cambridge: Cambridge Univercity Press, 2008. — P. 15.
Charles Messier, creator of the original Messier Catalogue. Credit: Ansiaume (1729—1786) – Stoyan R. et al. Atlas of the Messier Objects: Highlights of the Deep Sky. — Cambridge: Cambridge Univercity Press, 2008. — P. 15.

In modern times, these objects have become part of the Messier Catalogue. The work of other astronomers brought the total to 110, and has also uncovered one duplicate.

M102 is the second observation of M101 by Méchain, who confirmed this in a letter. Some observers like to include a faint galaxy in Draco as a substitute for the ‘missing’ M102.

Despite its age, the Messier Catalogue remains the first set of deep-sky objects that many aspiring astronomers view.

Though he was not in the least interested in these objects during his lifetime, it is for his catalogue of them that he will always be remembered.

Read more about Charles Messier in our guide The making of Charles Messier’s famous astronomy catalogue.

Below is the complete Messier Catalogue, including a description of what each object is, its limiting magnitude and coordinates to find it in the night sky.

If you don’t fancy trying to complete the entire list, try our 8 Messier objects to spot in the night sky.

The complete Messier Catalogue

M1, The Crab Nebula

M1, the Crab Nebula. Credit: Dieter Retzl / CCDGuide.com
Credit: Dieter Retzl / CCDGuide.com
  • Supernova remnant in Taurus
  • RA 05h 34.5m, dec. +22º 01’
  • Mag. +8.4

M2

M2, imaged by Ron Brecher. Credit: Ron Brecher
Credit: Ron Brecher
  • Globular cluster in Aquarius
  • RA 21h 33.5m, dec. –00º 49’
  • Mag. +6.5 

M3

M3 in Canes Venatici. Credit: Manfred Wasshuber / CCDGuide.com
Credit: Manfred Wasshuber / CCDGuide.com
  • Globular cluster in Canes Venatici
  • RA 13h 42.2m, dec. +28º 23’
  • Mag. +6.2

M4

M4. Credit: CEDIC Team, Herbert Walter / CCDGuide.com
Credit: CEDIC Team, Herbert Walter / CCDGuide.com
  • Globular cluster in Scorpius
  • RA 16h 23.6m, dec. –26º 32’
  • Mag. +5.6

M5

M5. Manfred Wasshuber / CCD Guide.com
Credit: Manfred Wasshuber / CCD Guide.com
  • Globular cluster in Serpens Caput
  • RA 15h 18.6m, dec. +02º 05’
  • Mag. +5.6   

M6, The Butterfly Cluster

M6. Credit: Bernhard Hubl / CCDGuide.com
Credit: Bernhard Hubl / CCDGuide.com
  • Open cluster in Scorpius
  • RA 17h 40.1m, dec. –32º 13’
  • Mag. +5.3 

M7, Ptolemy’s Cluster

M7, imaged by Luis Fernando Parmegiani.
Credit: Luis Fernando Parmegiani.
  • Open cluster in Scorpius
  • RA 17h 53.9m, dec. –34º 49’
  • Mag. +4.1

M8, The Lagoon Nebula

M8, imaged by Ronald Piacenti Junior.
Credit: Ronald Piacenti Junior.
  • Diffuse nebula in Sagittarius
  • RA 18h 03.8m, dec. –24º 23’
  • Mag. +6.0

M9

M9. Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Bernhard Hubl, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Bernhard Hubl, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
  • Globular cluster in Ophiuchus
  • RA 17h 19.2m, dec. –18º 31’
  • Mag. +7.7

M10

M10, by Günter Kerschhuber. Credit: Günter Kerschhuber / CCDGuide.com
Credit: Günter Kerschhuber / CCDGuide.com
  • Globular cluster in Ophiuchus
  • RA 16h 57.1m, dec. –04º 06’
  • Mag. +6.6

M11, The Wild Duck Cluster

M11. Credit: Ron Brecher
Credit: Ron Brecher
  • Open cluster in Scutum
  • RA 18h 51.1m, dec. –06º 16’
  • Mag. +6.3

M12

M12. Credit: Bernhard Hubl
Credit: Bernhard Hubl
  • Globular cluster in Ophiuchus
  • RA 16h 47.2m, dec. –01º 57’
  • Mag. +6.7

M13, The Hercules Globular Cluster

M13 by Alvaro Ibañz Perez.
Credit: Alvaro Ibañz Perez.
  • Globular cluster in Hercules
  • RA 16h 41.7m, dec. +36º 28’
  • Mag. +5.8

M14

M14. Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
  • Globular cluster in Ophiuchus
  • RA 17h 37.6m, dec. –03º 15’
  • Mag. +7.6

M15

M15 by Mark Griffith.
Credit: Mark Griffith.
  • Globular cluster in Pegasus
  • RA 21h 30.0m; dec. +12º 10’
  • Mag. +6.2

M16, The Eagle Nebula

M16 by Mark Griffith
Credit: Mark Griffith
  • Open cluster plus nebula in Serpens Cauda
  • RA 18h 18.8m, dec. –13º 47’
  • Mag. +6.4

M17, The Omega Nebula

The Omega Nebula Tom Bishton, Gold Coast Hinterland, Australia. Equipment: Canon EOS 600D DSLR camera, Black Diamond ED120 refractor, Sky-Watcher AZ EQ6 mount.
Credit: Tom Bishton
  • Diffuse nebula in Sagittarius
  • RA 18h 20.8m, dec. –16º 11’
  • Mag. +7.0

M18

M18. Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
  • Open cluster in Sagittarius
  • RA 18h 19.9m, dec. –17º 08’
  • Mag. +7.5

M19

M19. Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
  • Globular cluster in Ophiuchus
  • RA 17h 02.6m, dec. –26º 16’
  • Mag. +6.8

M20, The Trifid Nebula

The Triffid Nebula Chris Platkiw, iTelescope Siding Springs Observatory, Australia. Equipment: SBIG ST-2000XCM camera, Takahashi SKY-90 refractor.
Credit: Chris Platkiw
  • Diffuse nebula in Sagittarius
  • RA 18h 02.6m, dec. –23º 02’
  • Mag. +9.0

M21

M21. Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
  • Open cluster in Sagittarius
  • RA 18h 04.6m, dec. –22º 30’
  • Mag. +6.5

M22

M22 - Globular Cluster by Ronald Piacenti Jr
M22 – Globular Cluster by Ronald Piacenti Jr
  • Globular cluster in Sagittarius
  • RA 18h 36.4m, dec. –23º 54’
  • Mag. +5.1

M23

M23. Credit: Bachleitner Hannes
Credit: Bachleitner Hannes
  • Open cluster in Sagittarius
  • RA 17h 56.8m, dec. –19º 01’
  • Mag. +6.9

M24, The Sagittarius Star Cloud

M24 by Christian vd Berge
Credit: Christian vd Berge
  • Milky Way patch in Sagittarius
  • RA 18h 16.9m, dec. –18º 29’
  • Mag. +4.6

M25

M25. Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
  • Open cluster in Sagittarius
  • RA 18h 31.6m, dec. –19º 15’
  • Mag. +6.5

M26

M26. Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
  • Open cluster in Scutum
  • RA 18h 45.2m, dec. –09º 24’
  • Mag. +8.0

M27, The Dumbbell Nebula

M27 by Jaroslav Vlcek
Credit: Jaroslav Vlcek
  • Planetary nebula in Vulpecula
  • RA 19h 59.6m, dec. +22º 43’
  • Mag. +7.4

M28

M28. Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
  • Globular cluster in Sagittarius
  • RA 18h 24.5m, dec. –24º 52’
  • Mag. +6.8

M29

M29 by Bill McSorley
Credit: Bill McSorley
  • Open cluster in Cygnus
  • RA 20h 23.9m, dec. +38º 32’
  • Mag. +7.1

M30

M30. Credit: Daniel Verschatse.
Credit: Daniel Verschatse.
  • Globular cluster in Capricornus
  • RA 21h 40.4m, dec. –23º 11’
  • Mag. +7.2

M31, The Andromeda Galaxy

The Andromeda Galaxy by Mariusz Szymaszek.
Credit: Mariusz Szymaszek.
  • Spiral galaxy in Andromeda
  • RA 00h 42.7m, dec. +41º 16’
  • Mag. +3.4

M32

M32. Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
Credit: Michael Breite, Stefan Heutz, Wolfgang Ries / CCDGuide.com
  • Elliptical galaxy in Andromeda
  • RA 00h 42.7m, dec. +40º 52’
  • Mag. +8.1

M33, The Triangulum Galaxy

M33 - Triangulum Galaxy by David Slack.
Credit: David Slack.
  • Spiral galaxy in Triangulum
  • RA 01h 33.9m, dec. +30º 39’
  • Mag. +5.7

M34

M34 by Jaspal Chadha
M34 by Jaspal Chadha
  • Open cluster in Perseus
  • RA 02h 42.0m, dec. +42º 47’
  • Mag. +5.5

M35

M35. Credit: Manfred Wasshuber.
Credit: Manfred Wasshuber.
  • Open cluster in Gemini
  • RA 06h 08.9m, dec. +24º 20’
  • Mag. +5.3

M36

Open Cluster M36 in the constellation Auriga by Ron Larter
Credit: Ron Larter
  • Open cluster in Auriga
  • RA 05h 36.1m, dec. +34º 08’
  • Mag. +6.3

M37

M37 by Houssem Ksontini
Credit: Houssem Ksontini
  • Open cluster in Auriga
  • RA 05h 52.4m, dec. +32º 33’
  • Mag. +6.2

M38

M38 by Bradley Swift
Credit: Bradley Swift
  • Open cluster in Auriga
  • RA 05h 28.4m, dec. +35º 50’
  • Mag. +7.4

M39

M39 by Tom Howard
Credit: Tom Howard
  • Open cluster in Cygnus
  • RA 21h 32.2m, dec. +48º 26’
  • Mag. +4.6

M40

M40. Credit: Harald Strauß / CCDGuide.com
Credit: Harald Strauß / CCDGuide.com
  • Binary star in Ursa Major
  • RA 12h 22.4m, dec. +58º 05’
  • Mag. +8.4

M41

M41. Credit: Harald Strauß / CCDGuide.com
Credit: Harald Strauß / CCDGuide.com

Open cluster in Canis Major

RA 06h 46.0m, dec. –20º 44’

Mag. +4.6

M42, The Orion Nebula

The Orion Nebula Tom Harbin, Essex, UK. Equipment: Canon Rebel T5i DSLR camera, Celestron NexStar 127mm Maksutov, Alt-Az GoTo mount.
Credit: Tom Harbin

Diffuse nebula in Orion | RA 05h 35.4m, dec. –05º 27’ | Mag. +4.0

M43, De Mairan’s Nebula

M43 De Mairan's nebula, by Mark Griffith.
Credit: Mark Griffith

Emission nebula in Orion

RA 05h 35.6m, dec. –05º 16’ | Mag. +9.0

M44, The Beehive Cluster

M44 - The Beehive Cluster by Bill McSorely
Credit: Bill McSorely

Open cluster in Cancer

RA 08h 40.1m, dec. +19º 59’ | Mag. +3.7

M45, The Pleiades