a catalog of nonstellar objects compiled by Charles Messier in 1784 and later slightly extended, now known to contain nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters.
A group of fixed nonstellar celestial objects originally cataloged by the French astronomer Charles Messier (1730-1817) and since expanded from 103 to 110, although several are now considered questionable. Items in the Messier catalog are numbered from M1 (the Crab Nebula) through M110 and include what are now known to be galaxies, nebulae, and globular and open clusters. Messier’s purpose was to further the search for comets by listing the indistinct celestial objects that might be mistaken for them; he had no understanding of what the items in his catalog actually were.
- Messier catalogue
/ˈmɛsɪeɪ/ noun 1. (astronomy) a catalogue of 103 nonstellar objects, such as nebulae and galaxies, prepared in 1781–86. An object is referred to by its number in this catalogue, for example the Andromeda Galaxy is referred to as M31
noun, Astronomy. 1. a number (preceded by M) designating the 109 double stars, clusters, nebulae, and galaxies in the Messier catalog.
[meys-yurz, mes-erz; French me-syœ] /meɪsˈyɜrz, ˈmɛs ərz; French mɛˈsyœ/ noun 1. plural of . [muh s-yur; French muh-syœ] /məsˈyɜr; French məˈsyœ/ noun, plural messieurs [meys-yurz, mes-erz; French me-syœ] /meɪsˈyɜrz, ˈmɛs ərz; French mɛˈsyœ/ (Show IPA) 1. the conventional French title of respect and term of address for a man, corresponding to Mr. or sir. /ˈmɛsəz; […]
[mes-uh-lee] /ˈmɛs ə li/ adverb 1. in a manner.