Discovered by John Bevis in 1731.
Independently rediscovered by Charles Messier on August 28, 1758.
[A note in Messier's handwriting added in the margin of his copy of the
Connoissance des Temps for 1783 reads:]
This nebula reported on the great English atlas: Seen by Dr Bevis about 1731. according to his letter written to me on 10th June 1771.
[In the Mem. Acad. for 1959, the discovery announce for this nebula is described in the memoir by Delisle on the comet of 1758, Comet De la Nux: Report of M1's discovery by Messier, from: Joseph Nicholas Delisle, 1759. Mémoire sur la comète de 1758 (Memoir on the comet of 1758). Mém. Acad. 1759, p. 154-188]
[p. 165. Discovery of a new nebula.]
[On August 28, 1758,]
M. Messier discovered there a light almost resembling that of the Comet, but
which was even more vivid, whiter & a bit more elongated than the Comet
he observed at that time: That comet had appeared to him always almost round
in its coma, without an appearance of either a tail or a beard. When the
discovery of this new light or nebulous star didn't come to an end of the
observations of that morning session, before the sky covered, M. Messier
didn't have the time to determine its exact situation with respect to the
neighboring stars of the southern horn of Taurus: there will be reported the
details of observations, & there will be marked the precise position of
that new nebula, its magnitude & the degree of its light compared to that
of the Comet of 1758, [..]
[p. 169] [Messier] also has determined exactly on [September] 10 in the morning the position of the nebula, which he had commenced to perceive on August 28 in the morning near the southern horn of Taurus.
[p. 170. Difference of the appearances of the Comet & the new nebula.] [The night of September 11 to 12] .. having compared the appearance or the light of the Comet with that of the nebula of the southern horn of Taurus, one finds there well a difference, the light of the nebula was considerably stronger in this morning than that of the Comet; instead of, like the two preceding days, when the two lights were approaching equality to each other, that of the Comet was always fainter [..]
[A position is given at the end of this paper, on p. 188, as follows:]
Nebulous star discovered on August 28, 1758: Observed Right Ascension: 80d 0' 33" (5h 20m 02s), observed Northern Declination: 21d 45' 27"; observed [ecliptical] Longitude: Gemini 20d 43' 30" (80d 43' 30"), observed Latitude: South 1d 23' 28".
[Mem. Acad. for 1771, p. 435-436 (first Messier catalog)]
The Comet of 1758, on August 28, 1758, was between the horns of Taurus, I discovered above the southern horn, & little distant from the star Zeta of that constellation, a whitish light, elongated in the form of the light of a candle, which didn't contain any star. This light was of almost the same as that of the Comet which I observed at that time; yet it was a bit more vivid, more white & a bit more elongated than that of the Comet which to me had always appeared almost round in its coma, without the appearance of a tail or beard. On September 12 of the same year, I determined the position of this nebula, ist right ascentsion is 80d 0' 33", & its declination 21d 45' 27" north. This nebula is placed [printed] on the chart of the route of the Comet of 1758 (a: Mémoires de l'Académie, year 1759, page 188).
[p. 454] 1758.Sept.12. RA: 80. 0.33, Dec: 21.45.27.B. Nebula placed above the southern horn of Taurus.
[From: Sixième et dernier Recueil d'observations astronomiques,
de 1752 su 1.er janvier 1760
(Sixth and last collection of astronomical observations from 1752 to
January 1, 1760).
Connaissance des Tems for 1810 (published August 1808), p. 332-373.
Here p. 362]
It happened during the observations of this comet [1758 De la Nux], that I discovered a nebula little distant from the star Zeta in the southern horn of Taurus. That nebula is the first of all that I have discovered; of it there is given the position, which has been well to report, referring to the luminosity and extension, with the comet I observed, as one can see in the description which I have given in the Memoir cited by M. de l'Isle [see above].
[1814. PT 1814 (vol. 104), p. 248-284, here p. 260]
8. Of objects of ambiguous construction
".. But when an object is of such a construction, or at such a distance from us, that the highest power of penetration, which hitherto has been applied to it, leaves it undetermined whether it belongs to the class of nebulae or of stars, it may be called ambiguous. As there is, however, a considerable difference in the ambiguity of such objects, I have arranged 71 of them into the following four collections. [First collection contains M1]
The first contains seven objects that may be supposed to consist of stars, but where the observations hitherto made, of either their appearance or form, leave it undecided into which class they should be placed.
The objects in this collection must at present remain ambiguous."
[1818. PT 1818 (vol. 108), 429-470, here p. 345. Reprinted in:
Scientific papers, Vol. II, p. 595]
Observations of the 1st of the connoissance des temps.
"1783, 1794, 7 feet [FL] telescope. With 287 [magnification], light without stars."
"1805, 1809, 10 feet telescope. It is resolvable [mottled]. There does not seem any milky nebulosity miced with what I take to be small lucid points."
"1783, 1784, 1809, 20 feet telescope. Very bright, of an irregular figure; full 5 minutes in longest direction. I suspect it to consist of stars."
"1805, large 10 feet telescope. With 220 the diameter is 4'0"; with this power and light it is what must be called resolvable [mottled]."
As all the observations of the large telescopes agree to call this object resolvable, it is properly a cluster of stars at no very great distance beyond their gaging powers; its profundity may therefore be of about the 980th order. It is near the milky way.
Plate XVI, Fig. 81. [p. 503]
Fig. 81, .. are clusters of stars, beginning with a barely resolved one, (M. 1. fig. 81,) and ascending by successive degrees, ..
GC 1157, h. 357. Drawings in Secchi, Plate IV, Fig. 8, and in Lassell, Plate II, Fig. 6.
[The Planetary Nebulae. Publ. Lick Obs., No. 13, Part III, p. 55-74]
[with Lick b/w photo, Fig. 11]
NGC 1952; 5h 28.5m; +21d 57'
The ``Crab'' Nebula. Enlarged 5.2 times from a negative of 2h 30m exposure time. Two stars of magn. 16 are close together near the center, but it is not certain that either of them is a central star. This very complex and intricate object is nearly 6' long by 4' broad, in p.a. about 125 deg. It is not a typical planetary in form, and it is doubtful whether it is properly to be included as a member of the class. The nebular matter is intrinsically quite faint. Rel. Exp. 60.
Last Modification: September 10, 2007