Messier, Charles Joseph (1730–1817)
Little is known about him prior to his joining the Paris Observatory as a draftsman and astronomical recorder. His interest in comets stemmed from the return of Halley's Comet, which Edmond Halley predicted would take place around the beginning of 1759. Messier sighted its return on Jan. 12, 1759, an experience that inspired him to search for new comets for the rest of his life. (Although he is attributed with being the first person to re-sight Halley's Comet on French soil, the German amateur astronomer Palitzch is believed to have been the first of all to see it, on Christmas Day, 1758.) His final comet tally stood at 15 unique discoveries and six further co-discoveries. The compilation of his famous catalogue began in about 1760 and took more than two decades, during which time he used a variety of telescopes, including a 6-inch reflector and a 3½-inch refractor.
Related category• ASTRONOMERS AND ASTROPHYSICISTS
Home • About • Copyright © The Worlds of David Darling • Encyclopedia of Alternative Energy • Contact