I just wanted to share some fascinating images and information which I received too late to include in a video.
The video was this one about Messier 102 on Deep Sky Videos.
Professor Mike Merrifield mentions that M102 was a late inclusion on Charles Messier’s famous list of objects - contributed by his colleague Pierre Méchain.
Its exact co-ordinates on the sky were not included, just a description of where it could be found.
As our video mentions, Messier later mentioned some co-ordinates, but it seems this has only added to the confusion for astronomers and historians.
I read more on the excellent SEDS database (an amazing Messier resource) and learned of Messier hand-wrote co-ordinates in a personal copy of the list.
This “personal copy” was tantalizing, so I contacted the people at SEDS and asked to see it.
Alas I did not receive a response in time - but eventually I did receive a response.
I was kindly supplied with multiple copies of the document in question - and it turns out Messier’s annotation was not very clear.
First here’s a standard photocopy, and I’ve highlighted Messier’s co-ordinates, which are on a facing page from the actual M102 entry.
Second, a deeper scan to show up more detail of the writing.
And finally a copy annotated by Dan Greely (who supplied the copy to SEDS in 1995) and Audouin Dolfuss. It’s fascinating to see these “astro detectives” at work.