Friday, October 23, 2015
Most Definitely Not a Comet
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is another item from the Messier catalog, Messier 94 in the constellation of Canes Venatici. The Messier catalog was a list compiled by Charles Messier (and Pierre Mechain, who reported this one to Messier). Comet hunting was all the rage in Messier's day, and he kept coming across these faint fuzzy objects that (sometimes if you *really* stretch the imagination in some cases!) looked like comets. He compiled the list of "false positives" and, ironically, while his comets are largely forgotten, his list lives on, especially among amateur astronomers!