In 1757, French astronomer Mssr. Charles Messier began watching for the reappearance of Halley's comet based on some calculations by another astronomer which turned out to be wrong, wrong, wrong. In the process, he discovered another, non-Halley's, comet. Further observations yielded still yet more
annoying, fuzzy comet-looking objects that were not what he was looking for. He began documenting these objects, eventually compiling an entire catalog of objects that might be mistaken for comets, including supernovae and nebulae. He eventually became a dedicated comet hunter, and discovered many hitherto unknown astronomical objects.
The Messier Skies
is a Gottlieb Planetarium showcase of his discoveries, which also include galaxies and star clusters. Tickets are $5.95. See Union Station's website
Sept. 2-Dec. 30, 2008