By Scot Spencer
This app is only available on the App Store for iOS devices.
Messier List is an app containing the famous list of celestial objects compiled by French astronomer Charles Messier in the late eighteenth century. This list was put together by Messier to aid comet hunters while searching for comets by accurately cataloging the positions of objects that might be mistaken for comets. As such, his catalog contains all of the brightest and most prominent objects visible from the northern hemisphere and is extremely popular among amateur astronomers.
The Messier List app features descriptions of all the Messier objects, Fun Facts, their positions in the sky, photos where available and also indicates if the object is currently visible. It also provides a handy checklist for amateur astronomers who wish to check off the Messier objects as they view them during their stargazing sessions.
Really good app; could be great with few additions
This is a really good app overall. I like the simplicity and clean look of it. It's very easy to use while stargazing with the fast facts and an HST or other 'professional' image to compare to. My suggestion is in the object list. Create a way so that the Messier list can be reorganized. The numerical list is a great default, but perhaps a "season" list grouping or time of night grouping - that way someone can have a quick "glance" which are visible in the sky now - think a possible subset list here - there are many possibilities. I would really like a magnitude or brightness grouping as well - easiest and brightest to see at top and going down to harder and dimmer. An object type (open cluster, globular cluster, spiral galaxy, ...) arrangement might be nice to see also.
As a person who has "done" the Messier Marathon several times, this app is a good start, but needs work.
First: the list. Putting the check list in numerical order is useless. There are enough books out there that can give you a better staring point (like Don Machholz's book.) Start with M77, then M74, M33, etc. I have done the marathon from different locations, and the check list should be adjustable (bag M107, M12, M10 & others before you try M71.)
Second: the pictures. I checked my notes before I wrote this review. Yea, the NASA pix are nice, but when you are looking for a "fuzz ball" a nice color glossy photo is not helpful.
I have several other ideas, but after reading other reviews, and seeing when the last time this app was updated, I might as well write my own app.
A good app that needs more features
A nice app with a good amount of content about each Messier object. It would be nice if the program had a red filter option so I could use it under the stars without hurting my night vision. More sorting options would be a plus as the other reviewers have mentioned. Overall, a very good start.