In the late 18th century, French astronomer
created a list of all the bright, nebulous objects he could see in the night sky. These objects are known today as the
Totaling 110 galaxies, star clusters and nebulae, these objects represent the most visually striking things available to be seen by the amateur astronomer (once you exclude planets and the moon). Many of these objects have been extensively studied by professional astronomers as well. They are numbered by their order of discovery.
Although Charles did the world a great service by cataloging these objects for the first time, his work falls one step short of completion. He did not rank the objects. That is where we come in.
We are Nicholas Mehrle (left), Kaley Brauer (center), and David Berardo (right), all graduate students at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Sciences. We all study astrophysics and spend our days attempting to unveil the secrets of the cosmos, and properly order the Messier Objects.