This nebula was discovered by the French astronomer Charles Messier while searching for comets in late January 1779. Messier’s report of his independent discovery of Comet Bode reached fellow French astronomer Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix two weeks later, who then independently rediscovered the nebula while following the comet. Darquier later reported that it was “. . . as large as Jupiter and resembles a planet which is fading” (which may have contributed to the use of the “planetary nebula” terminology). It would be entered into Messier’s catalogue as the 57th object. Messier and German-born astronomer William Herschel speculated that the nebula was formed by multiple faint stars that were unresolvable with his telescope.
In September 2015, a new study provided an important missing piece to the intriguing puzzle of how our Moon came to be the lovely object that we see today.
The new findings are an independent line of evidence that hydrothermal activity is taking place in the subsurface ocean of Enceladus. Earlier results, published in March 2015, indicated hot water is interacting with rock beneath the sea of this distant moon. The new discoveries support that conclusion and add that the rock appears to be reacting chemically to produce the hydrogen.
So mark your calendar for the 16th June 2015 This is an awesome event itself but on this night you will have an amazing chance to view our celestial neighbors