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Messier Difficulty Ratings

Following is a table of the Messier catalog.  I have rated each object with a difficulty rating:

Easy easily visible with any aperture even in most city skies
Medium easily visible with small apertures (60-80mm) under dark skies, just visible in moderate aperture (4-5 inches) in suburban skies, visible in larger aperture (8 inch or more) in most city skies
Hard just visible with small apertures under dark skies, easily visible with moderate aperture under dark skies, just visible in large apertures in suburban skies

Note that this rating system expects great conditions and indicates you can see the object, not necessarily any detail.  Great conditions include a night of good transparency with no moon and the object is high in altitude - not possible for all objects from some northern latitudes.  In particular northern observers will have difficulty with the objects in Sagittarius, Scorpius and other low-lying constellations.

Email your opinion on Messier difficulty ratings to swanson.michael@usa.net

 

Object Number Name Type Difficulty
      1 NGC 1952 Crab Nebula Supernova Remnant Medium
      2 NGC 7089  Globular Cluster Easy
      3 NGC 5272  Globular Cluster Easy
      4 NGC 6121  Globular Cluster Medium
      5 NGC 5904  Globular Cluster Easy
      6 NGC 6405 Butterfly Cluster Open Cluster Easy
      7 NGC 6475 Ptolemyıs Cluster Open Cluster Easy
      8 NGC 6523 Lagoon Nebula Diffuse Nebula Medium
      9 NGC 6333  Globular Cluster Medium
     10 NGC 6254  Globular Cluster Medium
     11 NGC 6705 Wild Duck Cluster Open Cluster Easy
     12 NGC 6218  Globular Cluster Medium
     13 NGC 6205 Hercules Globular Cluster Globular Cluster Easy
     14 NGC 6402  Globular Cluster Medium
     15 NGC 7078  Globular Cluster Easy
     16 NGC 6611 Eagle Nebula Cluster Open Cluster Easy
     17 NGC 6618 Omega, Swan, Horseshoe Nebula Diffuse Nebula Medium
     18 NGC 6613  Open Cluster Easy
     19 NGC 6273  Globular Cluster Easy
     20 NGC 6514 Trifid Nebula Diffuse Nebula Medium
     21 NGC 6531  Open Cluster Easy
     22 NGC 6656  Globular Cluster Easy
     23 NGC 6494  Open Cluster Easy
     24 NGC 6603 Milky Way Patch Star Cloud Easy
     25 IC 4725 Open Cluster Easy
     26 NGC 6694  Open Cluster Easy
     27 NGC 6853 Dumbbell Nebula Planetary Nebula Medium
     28 NGC 6626  Globular Cluster Medium
     29 NGC 6913  Open Cluster Easy
     30 NGC 7099  Globular Cluster Medium
     31 NGC 224 Andromeda Galaxy Spiral Galaxy Easy
     32 NGC 221 Satellite of M31 Elliptical Galaxy Medium
     33 NGC 598 Triangulum/Pinwheel Galaxy Spiral Galaxy Hard
     34 NGC 1039  Open Cluster Easy
     35 NGC 2168  Open Cluster Easy
     36 NGC 1960  Open Cluster Easy
     37 NGC 2099  Open Cluster Easy
     38 NGC 1912  Open Cluster Easy
     39 NGC 7092  Open Cluster Easy
     40 Winecke 4 Double Star Easy
     41 NGC 2287  Open Cluster Easy
     42 NGC 1976 Great Orion Nebula Diffuse Nebula Easy
     43 NGC 1982 de Mairanıs Nebula Diffuse Nebula Medium
     44 NGC 2632 Beehive Cluster (Praesepe) Open Cluster Easy
     45 Pleiades, Subaru, Seven Sisters Open Cluster Easy
     46 NGC 2437  Open Cluster Medium
     47 NGC 2422  Open Cluster Easy
     48 NGC 2548  Open Cluster Medium
     49 NGC 4472  Elliptical Galaxy Hard
     50 NGC 2323  Open Cluster Easy
     51 NGC 5194 Whirlpool Galaxy Spiral Galaxy Medium
     52 NGC 7654  Open Cluster Medium
     53 NGC 5024  Globular Cluster Medium
     54 NGC 6715  Globular Cluster Medium
     55 NGC 6809  Globular Cluster Medium
     56 NGC 6779  Globular Cluster Medium
     57 NGC 6720 Ring Nebula Planetary Nebula Easy
     58 NGC 4579  Spiral Galaxy Hard
     59 NGC 4621  Elliptical Galaxy Hard
     60 NGC 4649  Elliptical Galaxy Medium
     61 NGC 4303  Spiral Galaxy Hard
     62 NGC 6266  Globular Cluster Medium
     63 NGC 5055 Sunflower Galaxy Spiral Galaxy Hard
     64 NGC 4826 Blackeye Galaxy Spiral Galaxy Medium
     65 NGC 3623  Spiral Galaxy Medium
     66 NGC 3627  Spiral Galaxy Medium
     67 NGC 2682  Open Cluster Medium
     68 NGC 4590  Globular Cluster Hard
     69 NGC 6637  Globular Cluster Medium
     70 NGC 6681  Globular Cluster Medium
     71 NGC 6838  Globular Cluster Hard
     72 NGC 6981 Globular Cluster Hard
     73 NGC 6994  Group of 4 stars Group/Asterism Easy
     74 NGC 628 Spiral Galaxy Hard
     75 NGC 6864  Globular Cluster Medium
     76 NGC 650 Little Dumbbell, Cork, Butterfly Nebula Planetary Nebula Medium
     77 NGC 1068 Cetus A Spiral Galaxy Hard
     78 NGC 2068  Diffuse Nebula Medium
     79 NGC 1904  Globular Cluster Medium
     80 NGC 6093  Globular Cluster Medium
     81 NGC 3031 Bodeıs Galaxy Spiral Galaxy Medium
     82 NGC 3034 Cigar Galaxy Irregular Galaxy Medium
     83 NGC 5236 Southern Pinwheel Galaxy Spiral Galaxy Medium
     84 NGC 4374  Lenticular (S0) Galaxy Hard
     85 NGC 4382  Lenticular (S0) Galaxy Hard
     86 NGC 4406  Lenticular (S0) Galaxy Hard
     87 NGC 4486 Virgo A Elliptical Galaxy Hard
     88 NGC 4501  Spiral Galaxy Hard
     89 NGC 4552  Elliptical Galaxy Hard
     90 NGC 4569  Spiral Galaxy Hard
     91 NGC 4548  Spiral Galaxy Hard
     92 NGC 6341  Globular Cluster Easy
     93 NGC 2447  Open Cluster Medium
     94 NGC 4736  Spiral Galaxy Medium
     95 NGC 3351  Spiral Galaxy Hard
     96 NGC 3368  Spiral Galaxy Hard
     97 NGC 3587 Owl Nebula Planetary Nebula Medium
     98 NGC 4192  Spiral Galaxy Hard
     99 NGC 4254  Spiral Galaxy Hard
    100 NGC 4321  Spiral Galaxy Hard
    101 NGC 5457 Pinwheel Galaxy Spiral Galaxy Hard
    102 NGC 5866 Spindle Galaxy Lenticular (S0) Galaxy Medium
    103 NGC 581 Open Cluster Easy
    104 NGC 4594 Sombrero Galaxy Spiral Galaxy Medium
    105 NGC 3379 Elliptical Galaxy Hard
    106 NGC 4258 Spiral Galaxy Hard
    107 NGC 6171 Globular Cluster Medium
    108 NGC 3556 Spiral Galaxy Hard
    109 NGC 3992 Spiral Galaxy Hard
    110 NGC 205 Satellite of M31 Elliptical Galaxy Hard


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