“From a little spark may burst a flame.” -Dante Alighieri

It’s hard to believe that less than two years ago, we hadn’t even begun Messier Monday, and now there are fewer than 20 objects left! Today represents a great milestone, as we finally take on the last of fifteen galaxies that Messier catalogued as part of the Virgo Cluster!

Image credit: Mike Hankey, via http://www.mikesastrophotos.com/galaxies/m100/; annotation & magnification by me.

Image credit: Mike Hankey, via http://www.mikesastrophotos.com/galaxies/m100/; annotation & magnification by me.

Even though Messier couldn’t see the details that modest amateurs can see today, his (and Méchain’s) discovery-and-cataloguing of this object was the beginning of a remarkable journey, something that saw — along its way — five supernovae and perhaps the photo that heralded the greatest era of space telescopes: when the error with the Hubble Space Telescope’s original primary mirror was fixed!

Images credit: NASA / JPL / Goddard Space Flight Center.

Images credit: NASA / JPL / Goddard Space Flight Center.

Come read — and see in pictures — the full glorious story of this object!

Comments

  1. #1 PJ
    July 28, 2014

    Thankyou Ethan, and Judy Schmidt for the excellent render.

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