Galaxies are huge masses of interstellar gas, dust, and billions of stars. These huge structures can be hundreds of thousands of light years in diameter, held together by gravity and dark matter. Our galaxy is a mid sized barred spiral, but many different types of galaxies can be seen in the universe, from small to gigantic. Galaxies also attract each other, forming huge clusters like the Virgo cluster (our own local group is a loose cluster). Galaxies host star forming nebulae within them, using the galaxy’s gas and dust as fuel for new stars.
This page is divided into two catalogs: Messier’s catalog and the NGC/IC catalogs. Charles Messier, a French comet hunter in the sixteenth century, created a list of objects that weren’t comets. This ended up being a list of the brightest deep space objects in the sky. The NGC and IC catalogs are newer catalogs, charting thousands of objects that were too faint or too small for Messier to catch.
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