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Messier objects vs NGC's


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If it's similar in size to the Skywatcher 16" Flextube dobsonian I reckon it's definitely a 2 person job. Even the 14" Flextube looked a little marginal for 1 person to me  :undecided:

The other day I set out with a plan to try and view all lthe messier objects that are listed in my  books.  I went out prepared to do that and asked one of the other observers if he had viewed all the messier objects and if not ,  was that his goal.

He said no.  He had no interest in the messiers objects but rather only views the ngc objects. 

This left be lost,  as I was under the impression that messier objects were the ones to catch and afterwards you would pick up the odd ngc object as they presented themselves.  Seems I had this backyards or certainly not in line with what some of the local viewers think.

So my question is -   how do the messier objects compare to the ngc objects?  I mean is one considered greater than the other?  Or are they basically the same? 

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To me finding interesting objects myself (especially as I don't have a goto and gladly want to do it myself) is more important than either of the check lists. I suspect that on both sets there will be

For me the Messier catalogue is a great basis for hunting down objects in the night sky, especially if you have a small telescope - that was what Messier and Mechain were using after all. Later catalo

it's unlikely that anyone in their lifetime (unless extremely determined) will ever see all the NGCs so it's a bit daft to be snobbish about it. I am not obsessive about lists but am trying see as man

I'm not quite sure why you are quoting my post about the portability of the Skywatcher 16" Flextube dobsonian here Ted   :undecided:

There are many more objects in the New General Catalogue than in Messiers list but, as all the Messier objects have an NGC number too, that other persons comments are somewhat meaningless I feel. 

Perhaps he felt that tracking down the Messiers was a little beneath him ?  :rolleyes2:

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To me finding interesting objects myself (especially as I don't have a goto and gladly want to do it myself) is more important than either of the check lists.

I suspect that on both sets there will be some dependent on where you live that you will never see unless you travel. So why not go both ways and have two check lists and try and find them all?

A good site for both for a checklist can be found here http://astronomychecklist.com/

Below are the two quotes from Wiki on both types you have mentioned.

The Messier objects are a set of astronomical objects first listed by French astronomer Charles Messierin 1771.[1] Messier was a comet hunter, and was frustrated by objects which resembled but were not comets, so he compiled a list of them,[2] in collaboration with his assistant Pierre Méchain, to avoid wasting time on them.
The New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars (abbreviated as NGC) is a well-known catalogue of deep-sky objects in astronomy compiled by John Louis Emil Dreyer in 1888, as a new version of John Herschel's Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars. The NGC contains 7,840 objects, known as the NGC objects. It is one of the largest comprehensive catalogues, as it includes all types of deep space objects and is not confined to, for example, galaxies. Dreyer published two supplements to the NGC, known as the Index Catalogues (abbreviated as IC). The first was published in 1895 and contained 1,520 objects, while the second was published in 1908 and contained 3,866 objects, for a total of 5,386 IC objects.
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There are "snobs" in all walks of life. Seems to me you met a "Star/Equipment Snob". I wouldn't worry at all about his opinion. View whatever you like in whatever order you like.

The equipment available to you will often be a deciding factor. Many NGC are tiny so you wouldn't see  them with your scope. Also as pointed out by John, Messier objects also have NGC numbers.

Do whatever you find satisfying, what other people like to do, is irrelevant.

Until I got into astrophotography and bought a GOTO, I used to get great satisfaction from "Star Hopping" until I found (or quite often didn't) an object in the Messier list.

This was using a fairly basic Equatorial Mount.

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The Messier objects tend to be the brighter and more obvious deep sky objects and are well worth a look. The NGC catalogue contains very many more objects, most of which are very faint. I am not interested in 'completing check-lists' but Messier's catalogue is a good place to start if you want ideas for what to look at. Along with this I use the SAC '110 best of the NGC' booklet that picks out some of the best of the rest. At least I know that I will be able to see these ones with my kit. There is also the Caldwell catalogue, but a lot of those are duplicated in the SAC booklet.

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For me the Messier catalogue is a great basis for hunting down objects in the night sky, especially if you have a small telescope - that was what Messier and Mechain were using after all. Later catalogues were devised using much larger instruments, so many NGCs are very faint to find. The Messier catalogue does have some notable downsides though: firstly it was conceived as a catalogue of sky objects that look like comets to avoid confusion for comet hunters. Some of those listed are spurious to say the least. Secondly, Messier neglects many very bright and obvious objects - for example the Perseus Double Cluster. And finally it only lists objects in the Northern Hemisphere, so spectacular objects like the Magellanic Clouds, the Eta Carina Nebula, Omega Centauri etc don't feature.

Sir Patrick Moore set out to rectify the short-comings of the list by devising his own Caldwell catalogue of deep sky objects to go alongside the Messier list. It contains many spectacular objects missed off by Messier, either because he didn't see the or because they didn't look like comets. Importantly it covers the Southern Hemisphere too. If you complete both catalogues then you will certainly have seen 218 of the finest deep sky objects. Ultimately though, whether an object is Messier, NGC, Caldwell or whatever is rather less important than whether it's a spectacular, interesting object and whether your scope and your skies are capable of detecting it!

DD

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it's unlikely that anyone in their lifetime (unless extremely determined) will ever see all the NGCs so it's a bit daft to be snobbish about it. I am not obsessive about lists but am trying see as many objects of all types that I can. I use maps more than lists, looking at NGCs close to Messiers or constellations I happen to be looking at. Many of them are faint but can be seen with my 12" dob even in my light polluted site.

using them like this means that almost every time I am out, I can do a sketch of a new object for me.

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It can seem a bit odd. In "classic" terms Messier listed things to "not bother with" as they were not comets. So the list is a bit of a mix. The NGC was actually also a bit of a mess when first created and was redone at least once.

As has been said I think that the NGC includes the Messier objects anyway.

The Messier catalogue is a reasonable size and gives, as much by chance, a selection of different things to be seen. So it is something that you can do in a reasonable length of time. They are also all Northern Hemisphere objects - useful to us in the UK.

The NGC is a fair bit bigger, that would I think take a few years to do and that assumes you are free most clear nights and can get to the southern hemisphere also. Add in that many are also a lot fainter, so likely needing a big scope of a good proportion of them. The task of doing the NGC is going to be beyond many.

One often overlooked list is the Caldwell Catalogue, created by SPM and chosen as objects of interest that match in number the Messier Catalogue. The subtle difference they were selected for a reason.

Edited by ronin
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?? Strange way of looking at things for me. I have a goto to help me out. I like to find bright stars and planets by eye and use the controls to point the scope. If I  can't find it I use the goto and read the info on the hand set. I don't  tick anything off, and really couldn't careless what anyone else things about it.

I just enjoy what I get to see.

To say I only do blah blah, oh come on.

I got into this because I had a 76mm reflector from aldi. I saw enough to spend a little more and I would say just enjoy and marvel at the sky.

Clear Skys

Mike

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?? Strange way of looking at things for me. I have a goto to help me out. I like to find bright stars and planets by eye and use the controls to point the scope. If I  can't find it I use the goto and read the info on the hand set. I don't  tick anything off, and really couldn't careless what anyone else things about it.

I just enjoy what I get to see.

To say I only do blah blah, oh come on.

I got into this because I had a 76mm reflector from aldi. I saw enough to spend a little more and I would say just enjoy and marvel at the sky.

Clear Skys

Mike

what year is your les paul mike? :)

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Messiers are amongst the best and enjoyable to view objects, I revisit them all the time pretty much every session because they are easy to find and almost all of the Messier objects impress in most scopes most of the time.  Only the other night M13 stared to make an appearance above my roof, why would I want to miss that :smiley: . Anyone that misses out on revisiting the Messier catalogue and think it is too easy to find and not view them as the reason for the hobby confuses me,   :confused: It is not a competition. These days, Orion nebula is pretty much something I look at every time I go out, why wouldn't I is more what I would say to myself. :smiley:

Each to their own I guess.

Edited by AlexB67
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Thanks Guys..   Your comments and preferences about Messier objects vs NGC's are appreciated.  I will think about what has been said as time moves on and will be staying with Messier objects as being the way I plan to go.

So all the best guys... and good viewing.

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I see the 'tick lists' as a way of introducing you to the night sky. Im trying to find all the Messier objects, a challenge which is taking its sweet time, then once Im done I shall move onto a 'best of' NGC' list. For me, its a way of making sure Iv seen a good collection of things up there. Snobs will appear in every aspect of any part of life, while I didn't expect there to be a Messier snob, Im not massively surprised.

As with most things, whatever you want to do; do that and be happy with it :) Thats all I look for in everything.

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It all seems a bit ... arbitrary, and strange. I mean, with the Messier, Caldwell, NGC, Herschel, IC, Abell, Sharpless, Struve(s), Melotte, Trumpler and Washington Double Star catalogues (to name a small few) - well, they're all about the same sky, right? What does it matter what list(s) something appears in?

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i have a small printed list that goes in the back of my atlas with the messier list, the caldwell list and the 110 best NGCs. That gives me a sizable chunk of bright and [relatively] easy objects to find. When i go out and concentrate on a single constellation, then I will first browse all the 'big ones' thats on the list and then start pouring over the map and look for the other NGCs that are shown if I have time / havent frozen to death / dewed up etc.

But I revisit the big names time and time and time again. Why not? Beehive cluster is awesome, orion is just absolutely fabulous, M13 is a joy to view!

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It all seems a bit ... arbitrary, and strange. I mean, with the Messier, Caldwell, NGC, Herschel, IC, Abell, Sharpless, Struve(s), Melotte, Trumpler and Washington Double Star catalogues (to name a small few) - well, they're all about the same sky, right? What does it matter what list(s) something appears in?

It doesnt matter at all :) Its just an easy way to give you a good tour around the sky. I see it as yes there are lots of lists, however Im never going to see all of them, so may aswell work my way through one then the next, ticking off anything from a seperate list that I happen to catch while searching for something else (something you dont always get with goto, starhoping means you can get things on the way to your destination).

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Thanks Guys..   Your comments and preferences about Messier objects vs NGC's are appreciated.  I will think about what has been said as time moves on and will be staying with Messier objects as being the way I plan to go.

So all the best guys... and good viewing.

Don't discount objects on the NGC list. I am also using the Messier list as a great way to learn the sky and observing. There a so many NGC objects that I wouldn't know where to start. Fortunately, a lot of the observing reports on this forum highlight some of the more noteworthy NGC objects. I note them down and hunt them out along with my usual exploration of the Messier list.

Had a bit of a Galaxy fest last night. Managed 15 new (to me) Messier's and 6 new NGCs. No prizes for guessing which part of the sky I was exploring! To be fair, only 2 of the NGCs (the Eyes) were on the list, the others were happy accidents whilst star hopping between Messier's

Paul

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Messier objects are an obvious place to start for DSO observing. The list has its pros and cons but it's historically significant and contains a lot of the most conspicuous northern hemisphere objects. NGC is also historically significant, containing just about every DSO that visual obsevers had managed to find up to about 1880, but is obviously a much bigger list (containing nearly all, but not quite all, the Messiers as a subset).

Some people are happy looking at favourite objects again and again, others want to keep seeing new things and make their way through a very big list. Just a matter of taste. I managed about 30 NGCs last night, all new to me, and a couple happened to be near a Messier (M40, the double star) so I had a quick look at that again while touring the area.

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Messier objects are an obvious place to start for DSO observing. The list has its pros and cons but it's historically significant and contains a lot of the most conspicuous northern hemisphere objects. NGC is also historically significant, containing just about every DSO that visual obsevers had managed to find up to about 1880, but is obviously a much bigger list (containing nearly all, but not quite all, the Messiers as a subset).

Some people are happy looking at favourite objects again and again, others want to keep seeing new things and make their way through a very big list. Just a matter of taste. I managed about 30 NGCs last night, all new to me, and a couple happened to be near a Messier (M40, the double star) so I had a quick look at that again while touring the area.

Bang on.

I'm setup and ready. Just having a look at stuff to find, well try.

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