Messier Objects

M1 "Crab Nebula": Supernova Remnant (Taurus) RA: 05h 34.5m / DEC: +22° 01'.0
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder

M1 is a supernova remnant in Taurus. Charles Messier encountered this delicate emission nebula in the pre-dawn hours of September 12, 1758. His description reads, "Nebula above the southern horn of Taurus, it doesn't contain any star; it is a whitish light, elongated in the shape of a flame of a candle, discovered while observing the comet of 1758." This would become the first of more than 100 "comet-like" objects the Messier would observe and catalog over the next 30 years. M1 is about a degree northwest of magnitude 3.0 Zeta Tauri. A 6.9 magnitude star sits half a degree due east. I've found M1 a challenging object under Midwest suburban skies with a 4.5-inch Newt. In the 10-inch, M1 presents as an elongated S-shape at 129X. Its 8.4 magnitude glow is aligned roughly northwest to southeast and covers a 6'x4' area. Some 40 stars, 9th to 13th magnitude are presented in the sketch at left. The brightest is 9.7 magnitude HD 244988, positioned 10' northeast of M1.

Instrument: 18-inch Obsession

In the 18-inch Obsession at 272X (8.8-mm UWA w/ Paracorr), the Crab nebula presents a ragged interior section that is almost comma-shaped in appearance. The brighter middle is surrounded by a delicate and wispy outer shell that extends to the east and west. Among the 16 field stars, most are listed in the low- to mid-13th magnitude range in the GSC.

The Messier Objects M2


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Revised: February 5, 2005 [WDF]