Among Galileo’s most momentous discoveries was his demonstration that Milky Way’s river of light consists of a host of small stars. It is a discovery that can be repeated by anyone with a dark sky site and an ordinary pair of field glasses.
KeywordsGlobular Cluster Star Cluster Astronomical Unit Crab Nebula Faint Star
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- 1.C. Robert O’Dell to William Sheehan, July 1, 2013, personal communication.Google Scholar
- 2.The most complete biography of Messier is Jean-Paul Philbert, Charles Messier: Le furet des comètes. Sarreguemines: Edition Pierron, 2000. Regarding Messier’s attempt to discover Halley’s Comet, see: Peter Broughton, “The First Predicted Return of Comet Halley,” Journal for the History of Astronomy, xvi (1985), 123-133. The third and definitive edition of Messier’s catalog published during his lifetime is: “Catalogue des Nebuleuses et des amas d’Etoiles,” in Connaissances des Temps, 1784 (Paris, 1781), 117-272. An English translation of the catalgo is found in Kenneth Glyn Jones, Messier’s Nebulae and Star Clusters (Cambridge: Cambridge Univeristy Press, 2nd rev. ed., 1991).Google Scholar
- 3.For details about Delisle’s career, see: William Sheehan and John Westfall, Transits of Venus (Amherst, New York: Prometheus, 2004), 136-138.Google Scholar
- 4.J.L.E. Dreyer, ed., The Scientific Papers of Sir William Herschel (London: the Royal Society and the Royal Astronomical Society, 1912), vol. 1, lxii.Google Scholar