Creating the Messier Pages

These pages were created by SEDS members Guy McArthur ("Mr. Guy Smiley"), Mark Elowitz, Hartmut Frommert and Christine Kronberg.

The original image selection and processing was done by Mark Elowitz. Guy McArthur has worked out the logic and original design of the pages, created a C program to write out the Messier files, used Bitmap Tool and XV to create the icons, and made the first version of the pages work in late 1994. H.S. Teoh provided a list arranging the objects by type.

Hartmut Frommert has provided most of the textual information, parts of the data, many of the index files, many new additional images, and more common names for the objects, and has added a lot of features like the image quick-browser (inspired by Bill Arnett's DSSM browser), the photo index, the hot topic page, and various extra materials as the historic pages, the collection of similar catalogs and observing lists and the Messier Marathon stuff. He is currently maintaining this project (since late 1995), trying to extend it to comprehensive coverage of all Messier-related stuff suitable for the Web.

Christine Kronberg has entered the project silently in early 1996. In close cooperation with Hartmut Frommert, she has contributed significantly to make these pages what they are now. She has reviewed all Messier object pages, and contributed countless propositions, corrections and bugfixes. Her outstanding constellation charts, originally created for her Constellations and Stars pages (now also mirrored at SEDS), are going to replace our older star maps, and it was her idea to make these pages multi-lingual. The current layout of these pages is a product of the outstanding cooperation of Chris and Hartmut. Moreover, Chris has built up our first (partial) Mirror in Munich, at her Munich Astronomical Archive, and has created a German version of the Messier pages.

In order to keep the code clear, overhead-free, and exactly as we want it, all webpages and text files (html, map, txt, and the few cgi files) in this service have been created using simple ASCII text editors, notably EPM (the Enhanced Editor) under OS/2, vi and pico under Unix, and in some cases Solaris' textedit.

Many of these images were obtained from another Messier Catalog server at (which is now available in html at We also utilized our extensive archive of deepspace images for alternate images.

The original sky charts were created by the excellent public-domain astronomy/space/satellite-tracking program Home Planet created by John Walker. Some have been added later from his website "Your Sky." Much thanks to Dr. Walker for allowing us to freely use Home Planet to create these charts.

A Messier image for the homepage icon was generously provided by Sky Publishing Corporation; they also granted permission to use their catalog materials on Messier here, thanks !

Special thanks go to David Malin of the Anglo Australian Observatory for offering and encouraging the use of his outstanding astronomical color photographs in these pages, to Dr. Don Greeley for his contributions to the M102 discussion and for providing me with a copy of Messier's original historic catalog, to Leos Ondra for the permission to include his articles, help with many historical deep-sky catalogs, and numerous contributions, to Paul Scowen for providing his HST images of and info on the Crab Nebula, to Tony Cecce for contributing his Twelve Month Tour of the Messier Catalog, to Fredi De Maria for his generous help with the Hodierna catalog, to Glen Cozens for contributions to and help with the Dunlop Catalog and Lacaille Catalog stuff, to David Nash for his contribution on the history of the Messier Catalog, and to Jean-Paul Philbert for contributing much historical detail in particular on Charles Messier's personal and private life. In addition, the present maintainer wants to express thanks to all who contributed comments, propositions, error fixes and more: Besides very particular and cordial thanks to my co-author Chris Kronberg, these go especially to Guy McArthur, Bill Arnett, Tony Cecce, Jeff Bondono, Mark Wagner, Leos Ondra and Bernard Trézéguet, to name just some of the most helpful (in no particular order; forgive me that I cannot write down the whole list). Special thanks go to Konrad Stockinger for his local support and help in Munich. A very particular appreciation also goes to Chris Lewicki, the admin of the SEDS server, for providing the technological foundations for this service, and his always helpful cooperation and support.

We also thank all our contributors deeply and cordially !

Continuing updates and projects for the future include:

Although we have invested a certain amount of research effort, some important data and informations on the Messier objects are either difficult to obtain, or not very wellknown at all. We have compiled a list to request some of the most urgently needed information; it would be great if you could help to improve our database !

If you have any commments or suggestions, or have anything to add, please contact us.

Hartmut Frommert
Christine Kronberg

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Last Modification: March 12, 2001