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Wikipedia defines Deep Sky Objects as:
"astronomical objects other than individual stars and solar system objects (such as Sun, Moon, planets, comets, etc.). The classification is used for the most part by amateur astronomers to denote visually observed faint naked eye and telescopic objects such as star clusters, nebulae and galaxies."

The Messier Objects

When looking for Deep Sky Objects, we have a number of handy catalogues to use, to look up where they can be located in the sky. The brightest Deep Sky Objects are listed in the Messier Catalogue/Album or List of Messier objects, and therefore is one of the most useful lists for the amateur observer.

In the middle of the 18th century, the return of Halley's comet helped to prove the Newton's theory was correct, and sparked new interest in astronomy. During this time, a French astronomer named Charles Messier began his life-long search for comets, eventually successfully discovering 15 of them in total. On 28 August 1758, while searching for comets, Messier found a small cloudy object in the constellation Taurus. He began keeping a journal of these nebulous (cloudy) objects so that they would not be confused with comets.

So for Messier, it was a list of objects to avoid, but for us Observers, it is an ideal catalogue of objects to observe.

» Sea and Sky - Messier Catalog of Deep Sky Objects
» Excellent Resource of Messier Object Finder Charts
» Wikipedia List of Messier Objects

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