January 2018 MAG Meeting

Saturday, January 13, 7 p.m.
Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

Speaker: Sherman Williams

Topic: Charles Messier


Charles Messier (1730-1817) was a French astronomer and comet-hunter, whose famous Messier list of objects is a bucket list for amateur astronomers, especially for those in the Northern Hemisphere. Many of his famous observations were made in Paris and he was buried in a Paris cemetery.

In October, 2017, my wife, Beverley, and I went to France and Holland; our travels included some time in Paris. Charles Messier was among our topics and places of interest to explore. Research gave the name of the Paris cemetery in which his grave exists; some comments suggested that it had been lost and the name was unlisted. Fortunately, recent efforts of some astronomy enthusiasts have relocated his grave. Even though his name is still not on the cemetery list, location references from their visits have been shared. We chose to see if we too, could find it.

On further research I discovered that Messier’s observing place which resulted in his famous list, was within easy reach of our location. Also, I came across a copy of an English translation of Messier’s first publication of his now famous list; it includes his personal comments. On MAG night I hope to present highlights from this delightful experience.

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