M102


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By
Catalog
Obj Type
Location
Date Taken:
Smoot
NGC 5866
Galaxy
Mayhill, NM
07-20-2008
Description

Messier 102 (M102) is the last possibly "missing" Messier object. This means that, based on the observation record of his friend, Pierre Méchain, Charles Messier included this object in his catalog without verifying before publication, and it happens that Méchain's published position is erroneous. Two opinions on the identity of this object are common:

  1. M102 might be a duplication of the Spiral Galaxy M101 (NGC 5457) in Ursa Major, due to a possible error of either the catalog author Messier, or its `discoverer' Méchain, a view brought up by Méchain in a letter of May 1783.
     
  2. Perhaps more probably (due to historical evidence), M102 may be the Lenticular Galaxy NGC 5866 in Draco, also sometimes called the Spindle Galaxy, as Messier's catalog description indicates, together with the position he added later by hand in his personal copy.
Technical Details
Exposure Time:
LRGB (2 hours of L and 1 hour for each color channel)
Camera:
SBIG STL-11000M
Telescope:
RCOS 16 inch f/8.7 Ritchey-Chretien
Mount:
Software Bisque Paramount ME
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Used with permission, No reproduction of these images are permitted without written approval from Smoot.