In the late 18th century, Charles Messier (MESS-ee-ay) catalogued all the cloudy patches he could find in the sky so that he would not mistake them for comets. A cloudy patch in Lyra was the 57th nebula listed in his catalog. M57, now known as the Ring Nebula, appears like a little smoke ring peacefully wafting through the starry night. However, this doughnut of glowing hydrogen gas, speaks of the violent explosion of the outer layers of a once massive star. Near the center of the ring, only its hot bluish core remains intact.
NGC 650 and NGC 651
IAU Constellation Main Page
Intro and Visual description
Taurus the Bull is easily spotted. Its head is the Hyades, a V-shaped cluster of stars. His horns point outward from the V. Aldebaran is the red eye of the Bull as he charges down upon us.