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September 12 , 2010

Observing the Messier Objects with a Small Telescope

In the Footsteps of a Great Observer


Observing the Messier Objects with a Small Telescope contains descriptions and photographs of the 103 Messier objects, with instructions on how to find them without a computerized telescope or even setting circles. The photographs show how the objects appear through a 127mm Maksutov (and other instruments, where applicable). The visual appearance of a Messier object is often very different from what can be imaged with the same telescope, and a special feature of this book is that it shows what you can see with a small telescope.

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 It will also contain binocular descriptions of some objects.

Messier published the final version of his catalog in 1781 (it contains 103 different objects), a catalog so good that it is still in common use today, well over two centuries later. In making a catalog of all the 'fixed' deep-sky objects that observers might confuse with comets, Messier had succeeded in listing all the major interesting deep-sky objects that today are targets for amateur astronomers.

Messier's telescope (thought to be a 4-inch) was, by today's amateur standards, small. It also had rather poor optics by modern standards. Thus - and despite the fact that he was a master observer - all the things Messier saw can be found and observed by any observer using a commercial 127 mm (5-inch) telescope. Observing the Messier Objects with a Small Telescope lets the reader follow in Messier's footsteps by observing the Messier objects more or less as the great man saw them himself!

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