Charles Messier

By Brady Hahn

About Charles Messier

Full Name: Charles Messier

Years Living: June 26, 1730, Bandonviller, France to April 12, 1817, Paris, France

Field Of Study: Astronomy

Where he did his work: Hôtel de Cluny

Born In: Badonviller, France

Famous For: I believe that Charles Messier became famous by discovering 12 comets

  • C/1760 B1 (Messier)
  • C/1763 S1 (Messier)
  • C/1764 A1 (Messier)
  • C/1766 E1 (Messier)
  • C/1769 P1 (Messier)
  • C/1771 G1 (Messier)
  • C/1773 T1 (Messier)
  • C/1780 U2 (Messier)
  • C/1788 W1 (Messier)
  • C/1793 S2 (Messier)
  • C/1798 G1 (Messier)
  • C/1785 A1 (Messier-Mechain)

Interesting Facts: (Source:

  • As a child Messier broke his leg at the thigh which prompted his older brother and guardian to homeschool him and train him for administrative work. This is where he developed his sense for observation and fine detail.
  • A fall down 25 feet of cellar stairs put him out of commission for a full year in 1781.


  • What caused me to undertake the catalog was the nebula I discovered above the southern horn of Taurus on September 12, 1758, while observing the comet of that year. This nebula had such a resemblance to a comet in its form and brightness that I endeavored to find others, so that astronomers would not confuse these same nebulae with comets just beginning to shine. I observed further with suitable refractors for the discovery of comets, and this is the purpose I had in mind in compiling the catalog. After me, the celebrated Herschel published a catalog of 2000 which he has observed. This unveiling the sky, made with instruments of great aperture, does not help in the perusal of the sky for faint comets. Thus my object is different from his, and I need only nebulae visible in a telescope of two feet [focal length]. -Charles Messier

How his accomplishments have benefitted the world: Charles Messier discovered the Andromeda Galaxy (Or M31 for Messier 31) in 1764 and if he didn't, we probably wouldn't of known about it for another 20-30 years. Which in some cases could have been a big deal.