Evidently, M102 is the last possibly `missing',
or doubty, Messier object. This means that two opinions on the identity of
this object are common:
- M102 might be a duplication of the
M101 (NGC 5457)
in Ursa Major,
due to a possible error of either the catalog author Messier,
or its `discoverer' Méchain.
- Perhaps more probably (due to historical evidence),
M102 may be the
also sometimes called the Spindle Galaxy,
as Messier's catalog description indicates, together with the position
he added later by hand in his personal copy.
The authors of this page think that there is sufficient evidence that both
Méchain and Messier have probably observed NGC 5866 in context of this
catalog entry. Therefore, it should be considered to take this last
missing object back into the catalog.
Please note our discussion of
more details on this topic.
Last Modification: 9 Dec 1999, 22:59 MET