The Story of "A Messier Gallery"

Hi. My name is Jay Wrathall. I'm a retired college professor who taught astronomy for over 30 years. As part of my classes, I would show students pictures of the "wonders of the heavens" - mostly Messier objects. I put together a pretty extensive collection of the best pictures I could find on the internet and tried to get examples of every Messier object. Here's the collection - I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

There were three requirements for an image to get into the collection. First, I had to find the image - not as easy as it sounds. Even after untold hours of browsing and searching I know there are still great images out there that I haven't found. I know because I keep finding new ones. Second, I had to like the image better than the other images I found of the same object. This is, of course, a matter of judgement. I'm sure that there are images I've passed over that others would think better than the ones I've chosen. However, since this is my site - I get to be the one to choose. Third, the photographers had to give permission to use their work. I either have permission from the photographers (or organizations) for all of the images I've used - or it is specifically stated on the website that the images are free to use for non-profit purposes.

All of the credit, of course, belongs to the great astrophotographers who produced the images. I'm amazed at the support the photographers have given to this project. I asked permission of 39 different photographers, organizations and observatories if I could use their work. Of these 33 gave permission, 2 declined to give permission, and 4 did not reply. Incidently, there are many more photographers than 33 represented in the collection. Images from Hubble, NOAO, and other organizations were taken by many different people.

Any suggestions or recommendations of new images are welcome. I would be especially happy to hear from the photographers - if you have any complaints about how I've presented your work or given credit I would be glad to make corrections. You can contact me at (This is not a link - you will have to type out the address,)

One final word. Some of the images are too large to fit on the screen. I've left them at the original size because the larger images allow viewing of finer detail. Use the scoll bars at the bottom and side of the image to look at different parts of the image. If you want to see the entire image, simply click on it.

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