Discovered on March 23, 1779 by Edward Pigott.
Independently rediscovered on April 4, 1779 by Johann Elert Bode.
Independently rediscovered on March 1, 1780 by Charles Messier.
Sweep 409 (March 29, 1832)
RA 12h 48m 22.4s, NPD 67d 23' 10" (1830.0)
v L; oval neb, with a v S, s B, vivid nucleus. The neb is far feebler; 6'l, 4 or 5'br. I see no ``dark recess'' in it.
Very large; oval nebula, with a very small, suddenly bright, vivid nucleus. The nebula is far feebler; 6' long, 4 or 5' broad. I see no ``dark recess'' in it.
Sweep 246 (March 26, 1830)
RA 12h 48m 26.1s, NPD 67d 23' 17" (1830.0)
B; L; E; 5'l, 3'br; v s v m b M, almost to a *, but magnifying destroys this effect. Resolvable but not resolved.
Bright; large; extended; 5' long, 3' broad; very suddenly very much brighter toward the middle, almost to a star, but magnifying destroys this effect. Resolvable [mottled] but not resolved.
Viewed, and the appearance of a vacuity below the nucleus verified. April 21, 1833, a careful drawing taken. (See fig. 27.)
[Figure on Plate X, Figure 27, No. 1486, M. 64, RA 12h 48m 23s, NPD 67d 23']
Fig. 27. Mess. 64. - The dark semi-elliptic vacancy (indicated by an unshaded or bright portion in the figure,) which partially surrounds the condensed and bright nucleus of this nebula, is of course unnoticed by Messier. It was however seen by my Father, and shown by him to the late Sir Charles Blagden, who likened it to the appearance of a black eye, an odd, but not inapt comparison. The nucleus is somewhat elongated, and I have a strong suspicion that it may be a close double star, or extremely condensed double nebula.
[also see JH's remark for the figure (No. 50) of M104]
Last Modification: February 20, 2005