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Charles Messier

Charles MessierAKA Charles Joseph Messier

Born: 26-Jun-1730
Birthplace: Badonviller, France
Died: 12-Apr-1817
Location of death: Paris, France
Cause of death: Natural Causes
Remains: Buried, Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France

Gender: Male
Religion: Christian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Astronomer

Nationality: France
Executive summary: Cataloguer of M objects

Military service: French Navy (Astronomer, Depot Clerk)

French Astronomer Charles Messier observed his first comet when he was about 14 years old, was mentored by Joseph-Nicolas Delisle, and became his era's most renowned expert on comets. He discovered 13 comets, and observed and described eclipses, sunspots, and transits. After coming across several comets that turned out to be other objects in the night sky, he compiled an extensive list of other celestial objects, to effectively know what he could disregard in his observations. His Catalogue des Nébuleuses et des Amas d'Étoiles (Catalogue of Nebulae and Star Clusters), published in 1771, was the first systematic listing of these objects, with 45 astronomical items in its first edition and 103 in Messier's final update. The objects catalogued by Messier are still referred to by their Messier numbers, or more commonly by the letter M followed by the number assigned by him. Toward the end of his life he proposed that a comet of unusual red luster which had been seen over France and Italy in 1769 was in fact a celestial announcement of Napoleon Bonaparte's birth, which occurred days after the comet's last appearance.

Father: Nicolas Messier (court official, b. 4-Sep-1682, d. 20-Sep-1741)
Mother: Francoise Grandblaise (d. 1765)
Brother: Nicolas (twin, b. 1716, d. infancy)
Sister: Anne Marie (twin, b. 1716, d. infancy)
Brother: Hyacinthe (government official, b. 1717, d. 1791)
Sister: Anne (b. 1719)
Sister: Barbe (b. 1723, d. 1724)
Brother: Nicolas (b. 1725)
Brother: Claude (b. 1725)
Brother: Nicolas-François (b. 1726)
Brother: Joseph (b. 1728, d. 1729)
Brother: Joseph (b. 1732, d. 1804)
Sister: Barbe (b. 1734, d. 1787)
Wife: Marie-Francoise de Vermauchampt (m. 26-Nov-1770, d. 23-Mar-1772 childbirth)
Son: Antoine-Charles (b. 15-Mar-1772, d. 26-Mar-1772)

    Cross of the Legion of Honor 1806
    French Academy of Sciences 1770
    Royal Society 1764:Foreign Member
    Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Foreign Member
    Lunar Crater Messier (1.9° S, 47.6° E, 11 km. diameter)
    Asteroid Namesake 7359 Messier
    Stroke 1815
    French Ancestry


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