Explore the Night Sky

Hubble is famous for its detailed images of distant wonders, but with the benefit of a dark, clear sky, anyone with a telescope, binoculars, or sometimes even the unaided eye can see some of the same objects Hubble has observed. These catalogs of backyard-friendly cosmic targets give information about each object and help you locate it in the night sky. Break out your telescope or binoculars and compare your observations with those of Hubble.

Quick Facts

To explore the Skymap, scroll, double click, or pinch/swipe to zoom. Roll over an icon to see the object, click to zero in, and click again for a detailed view. Drag the map to navigate.
Background Image: ESA/Gaia/DPAC; CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO. Acknowledgement: A. Moitinho

Hubble's Messier Catalog

The objects in Charles Messier’s catalog are nice targets for backyard astronomers with a pair of binoculars or a small telescope and a relatively dark sky.

The Messier catalog, begun by astronomer Charles Messier in the 18th Century and revised over the years, includes some of the most fascinating astronomical objects that can be observed from Earth’s Northern Hemisphere.

Explore the Messier Catalog
A white band of stars that cuts across a black background, from the lower left to the upper right, is the galaxy M82. Reddish brown gas and dust overlays the galaxy concentrated in the center of the image and fanning out above and below the white band of the galaxy. Black background is dotted with stars.
M82, or the Cigar galaxy, shines brightly at infrared wavelengths and is remarkable for its star formation activity.
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgment: J. Gallagher (University of Wisconsin), M. Mountain (STScI), and P. Puxley (National Science Foundation)

Hubble's Caldwell Catalog

The Caldwell Catalog goes beyond the work of Charles Messier, offering backyard astronomers more cosmic wonders to explore.

In the 1980s, an Englishman named Sir Patrick Moore produced an additional list to highlight more cosmic wonders visible to amateur astronomers. Unlike the Messier catalog, which only features objects that were visible from Charles Messier’s viewing location in Europe, Moore’s Caldwell catalog includes celestial bodies that are found in both the northern and southern skies.

Explore the Caldwell Catalog
Caldwell 11
The Bubble Nebula (Caldwell 11, NGC 7635) is the result of an extremely bright, massive, and short-lived star that shed most of its outer hydrogen and is now fusing helium into heavier elements. The star is about 4 million years old, and in 10 million to 20 million years, it will likely detonate as a supernova.
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Observing the Night Sky

What's Up

Your monthly video guide to the night sky from NASA

Each month, NASA's skywatching video series shares highlights to help you prepare for your stargazing adventures and feel more connected to the real places NASA explores.

Learn More
A stylized logo graphic showing silhouettes of an adult pointing toward the sky, while a child holding a telescope looks on.
NASA's Night Sky Network