“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!
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!
Come read -- and see in pictures -- the full glorious story of this object!
Thankyou Ethan, and Judy Schmidt for the excellent render.