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[M 32]

Messier 32

Observations and Descriptions

Discovered on October 29, 1749 by Le Gentil.

Messier: M32.
August 3, 1764. 32. 0h 29m 50s (7d 27' 32") +38d 45' 34"
Small nebula without stars, below & at some minutes [separation] from that of the belt of Andromeda [M31]; this small nebula is round, its light fainter than that of the belt. M. le Gentil has discovered it on October 29, 1749. M. Messier saw it, for the first time, in 1757, & he has not found any change. (diam. 2')

[Mem. Acad. for 1771, p. 447-448 (first Messier catalog)]
I have examined in the same night [August 3 to 4, 1764], & with the same instruments, the small nebula which is below & at some [arc] minutes from that in the girdle of Andromeda. M. le Gentil discovered it on October 29, 1749. I saw it for the first time in 1757. When I examined the former, I did not know previously of the discovery which had been made by M. Le Gentil, although he had published it in the second volume of the Memoires de Savans érangers, page 137. Here is what I found written in my journal of 1764. That small nebula is round & may have a diameter of 2 minutes of arc: between that small nebula & that in the girdle of Andromeda one sees two small telescopic stars. In 1757, I made a drawing of that nebula, together with the old one, & I have not found and change at each time I have reviewed it: One sees with difficulty that nebula with an ordinary [non-achromatic] refractor of three feet & a half; its light is fainter than that of the old one, & it doesn't contain any star. At the passage of that new nebula through the Meridian, comparing it with the star Gamma Andromedae, I have determined its position in right ascension as 7d 27' 32", & its declination as 38d 45' 34" north.
[p. 457] 1764.Aug. 3. RA: 7.27.32, Dec: 38.45.34.B, Diam: 0. 2. Small nebula without stars, which is below & little distant from the one in the girdle of Andromeda.

Le Gentil
[October 29, 1749]
While observing the Andromeda Nebula with a fine 18-foot telescope ... I saw another small nebula, about one minute in diameter which appeared to throw out two small rays; one to the right and the other to the left.

Bode: Bode 2.
A small nebula.

Bode (1782):
[From: Vorstellung der Gestirne auf XXXIV Kupfertafeln (Introduction to the Stars on 34 Copper Plates), 1782. Here Plate XXX, p. 39. From the description of M31]
Fig. 8.
.. [Le Gentil] also has found, south of the previous [nebula, M31], a small faint nebula of 2 minutes diameter, which was also seen by Mr. Messier.

William Herschel
[1785. PT LXXV=75 (1785), p. 213-266, here p. 262]
".. the 32d of the Connoissance des Temps; which is a pretty large round nebula, much condensed in the middle, and south following the great one [M31]; .."

[Unpublished Observations of Messier's Nebulae and Clusters. Scientific Papers, Vol. 2, p. 653]
1813, Dec. 26. A vB. R. nebula, vgbM. up to a nucleus [A very bright, round nebula, very gradually brighter to the middle up to a nucleus].

John Herschel (1833): h 51.
h 51 = M.32.
Sweep 188 (September 18, 1828) RA 0h 33m 27.8s, NPD 50d 4' 7" [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
The companion of the great nebula. eB; pL; abM to a * 10m; 40"; a small star follows it 11.5 sec.
The companion of the great nebula. Extremely bright; pretty large; there is a brighter middle to a star of 10 mag; 40" diameter; a small star follows it 11.5 sec [in RA].

Sweep 180 (October, 1828)
Viewed. vB R; psbM; 30"; a * 13m follows 11.0 s.
Viewed. Very bright, round, pretty suddenly brighter toward the middle; 30" diameter; a star of 13 mag follows 11.0 sec [in RA].

[from the description of M31, his No. XXIV, 24, with a drawing of M31 and M32]
[M31 is] An overpowering nebula, with a companion about 25' in the south vertical [M32] ...
The companion [of M31] was discovered in November, 1749, by Le Gentil, and was described by him as being about an eighth of the size of the principal one; he adds, "elle m'a paru exactement de la même densité que l'ancienne." The light is certainly more feeble than here assigned. Messier - whose No. 32 it is - observed it closely in 1764, and remarked, that no change had taken place since the time of its being first recorded. In form it is nearly circular. The powerful telescope of Lord Rosse (*) has been applied to this, after finding that no actual re-solution in the large nebulae could be seen, though its edge had stellar symptoms; and it proved to be clearly resolvable into stars - the which directly interferes with Le Gentil's remark. [Actually, Lord Rosse couldn't resolve M32, nor M31 - hf]

(*) This telescope is a reflector of three feet in diameter, of performance hitherto unequalled. It was executed by the Earl of Rosse, under a rare union of skill, assiduity, perseverance, and muniference. The years of application required to accomplish this, have not worn his Lordship's zeal and spirit; like a giant refreshed, he has returned to his task, and is now occupied upon a metallic disc of no less than six feet in diameter. Should the figure of this prove as perfect as the present one, we may soon over-lap what many absurdly look upon as the boundaries of the creation.

John Herschel, General Catalogue: GC 117.
GC 117 = h 51 = M 32.
RA 0h 35m 5s, NPD 49d 54' 12" (1860.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
! vvB; L; R; psmbMN. 8 observations by William and John Herschel.
Remarkable, very very bright; large; round; pretty suddenly much brighter toward the middle where there is a nucleus.
Remark: Figure in Bond's Memoirs in vol. viii N.S. of the Transactions of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, opp. p. 86.

[from Phil. Trans. Vol. 154 (1864), p. 437-444, here p. 441]
[No. [GC] 117. 51 h. 32 M. R.A. 0h 35m 5s.3. NPD 49d 54' 12".7. Very very bright; large; round; pretty suddenly much brighter in the middle.]
This small but very bright companion of the great nebula in Andromeda presents a spectrum apparently exactly similar to that of 31 M.
The spectrum appears to end abruptly in the orange; and throughout its length is not uniform, but is evidently crossed either by lines of absorption or by bright lines.

Dreyer: NGC 221.
NGC 221 = GC 117 = h 51; Legentil, M 32.
RA 0h 35m 5s, NPD 49d 54.2' (1860.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
! vvB, L, R, psmbMN; = M32
Remarkable, very very bright, large, round, pretty suddenly much brighter toward the middle where there is a nucleus.
Remark: Figure (together with NGC 205 = M110, NGC 206 and NGC 224 = M31) in Bond [W.C. and G.P. Bond, Transactions of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, N.S. vol. iii], opp. p. 86; Bondoni [Mem. d. Oss. Col. Rom. 1840-1]; H.C. [Winlock and Trouvelot, Annals of Harvard College Observatory, vol. viii], plate XXXIII.

[Photographs of Nebulae and Clusters, Made with the Crossley Reflector, by James Edward Keeler, Director of the Lick Observatory, 1898-1900. Publications of the Lick Observatory, Vol. VIII, 1908]
[p. 30] NGC 221, RA=0:37:15, Dec=+40:19.0 (1900.0), M32

[Descriptions of 762 Nebulae ans Clusters photographed with the Crossley Reflector. Publ. Lick Obs., No. 13, Part I, p. 9-42]
NGC 221, RA= 0:37.2, Dec=+40:19. The well-known companion south of the nebula in Andromeda [M31]. Exceedingly bright. In the long exposures it appears as "burnt-out" oval 2.6'x1.8', with no trace of spiral character in the outer portions. It lies in p.a. 150deg +/-. The shortest exposures show a nucleus which is nebulous, surrounded by bright nebular matter far brighter than the brightest parts of the nebula in Andromeda. The nucleus and inner nebular matter show strongly in 1m on S23.
  • Observing Reports for M32 (IAAC Netastrocatalog)

    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg

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    Last Modification: May 22, 2005