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Charles Messier: Connaissance des Tems, an VII (1798-99), pp. 207-234 (1797)

Astronomical Observations

Made at the Observatory of the Navy, at Paris,
By the Citizen Messier.
During ten years, from the month January, 1785 to the
month April, 1796.

Month Day True Time Object  Details of Observation
           h  m  s

Eclipses of the Sun, 1787 (1). June 15 4.27.25 Sun Begin of the Eclipse. In 1791. April 3 0.33.46 Sun Begin of the Eclipse. 3.17.39 ... End of the Eclipse. Eclipses of the Moon in 1790 (2) April 28 10.19.46 Moon Begin of the Eclipse. 11.15.52 .... Total immersion of the moon into the umbra. [begin of totality] 12.53.25 .... Emersion of the moon leaving the umbra. [end of totality] 12.13.30 .... End of the Eclipse. Oct. 22 11. 5. 6 Moon Begin of the Eclipse, doubtful. 11. 6.36 .... Begin of the Eclipse, certain. 12.13.30 .... Total immersion of the moon into the umbra. 12.14.15 .... Immersion more certain. 13.55.19 .... Emersion of the moon leaving the umbra. 13.56. 9 .... Emersion more certain. 15. 2.29 .... End of the Eclipse, doubtful, clouds.

(1) The full observation printed in Mém. of the Academy of Sciences, year 1787, page 76.
(2) The observations printed in Mém. of the Academy of Sciences, year 1790.


[p. 231-233]
Discovered and observed in 1785.
Jan. 7
Comet discovered, in the neck of the Whale [Cetus]; the citizen Méchain has discovered it at the same hour as me, at the great observatory; observed to the 16th of the same month. The memoir of the observations, with the elements, is printed in the volume of the academy of sciences, year 1785, page 639.
March 13
In 1786
In 1787
In 1788
In 1789
In 1790
In 1793
[p. 234] Some of the preceding observations have been published in the volumes of the former academy of sciences, where I refer to, because one will find there more details; but the Connaissance des tems being more widespread than the Mémoires, it will be useful that the astronomers find here an indication. The observations which I have reported have been made with two achromatic refractors of three and a half feet focal length, forty lignes aperture, and the magnification adjusted for each of the observations; the first of these refrectors, previously cited several times in the volumes of the academy, as one of the better which have left the hands of Dollond, is the refractor having belonged to the former Borchart-de-Saron. The second, equally by Dollond, with the same focal length, joined the instruments of the observatory of the navy; it is equally good.

All the comets I have observed during these ten years, have well diverted me from other observations; I have been even more diverted in the last years, by the misery of circumstances; I had lack, for my observatory, of oil and candles, and couldn't purchase, by the suppression of the salary which I have enjoyed, as the fruits of forty years of work; but in the month of June 1796, one came to compensate me, by attaching me to the Bureau of Longitudes.

Hartmut Frommert
Christine Kronberg

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