Astronomical Journal, Vol. 53, p. 117 (01/1948)
Sawyer, Helen B. Méchain's additions to Messier's catalogue
During the writer's bibliographical compilation on
globular clusters, a long-overlooked letter by
Pierre Méchain was found in Bode's Jahrbuch
for 1786. This letter consists of comments by
Méchain on his observations of nebulae which
had already gone to press as part of Messier's
catalogue in the Connaissance des Temps for
1787. Méchain says that the nebula Messier 102
does not exist; it was an error. (A number of
astronomers have spent time trying to identify
this as the spiral NGC 5866.) He also lists four
other nebulae which he has discovered, and these
should logically be given Messier numbers as
follows: NGC 4594 as M104; NGC 3379 as M105;
NGC 4258 as M106; and NGC 6171 as M107.
Flammarion, from pencilled notes in Messier's
records, has already suggested the inclusion of
NGC 4594 as M104, though this letter published
by Méchain was apparently unknown to him.
David Dunlop Observatory,
Richmond Hill, Ont.