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Charles Messier's Grave Decoration Project - Yearly Update

Updated: Jun 7, 2023


We have a crazy project in mind... but it is only achievable with your help!

[The campaign for funds is now CLOSED. If you still want to participate, you can do so by clicking HERE. Just be sure to tell us it is for the project so we can credit you in the list of backers.]


Live Updates:

  • December 2022 - Wrapping up the year - Decorations are going strong!

  • June 2022 - Added a custom plaque.

  • June 2022 - The first cleaning and decoration took place this month! Scroll down to see the before and after pictures!

  • We have reached the amount required for INITIAL CLEANING! 🥳

  • We have reached the amount required for the grave to be decorated for ONE YEAR! 🥳

  • We have reached the amount required for the grave to be decorated for FIVE YEARS! 🥳

  • We have reached the amount required for the grave to be decorated for TEN YEARS! 🥳

  • We have reached the amount required for the grave to be decorated for TWENTY-FIVE YEARS! 🥳

Tips for imaging galaxies with a telescope

The campaign for funds is now closed! Thank you, everyone! The grave will be cleaned and decorated for at least 25 years! Check this page again soon to see pics and videos of the cleaned grave.


 

Updates

Decorations are complete for 2022!

December 2022


2022 is a wrap! Charles Messier's grave has been cleaned in June, and was decorated three times so far. A plaque was added, and fresh flowers were displayed. As you can see on the latest picture below (December 2022), one extra flower was placed by a passerby, which is awesome to see! We hope that the regular decorations have an impact on making other people also place their own flowers on the grave.


Charles Messier's Grave - August 2022 (left) and December 2022 (right)


Standing next to Charles Messier's Grave in Paris

Did you recently visit the site? If so, be sure to add a little something to it and send us a picture!


We only receive pics of the grave quarterly from the decoration company, so we love to receive more at random from some of you going to see it. Here is an example from "Mountaineer Theatre" on Facebook. Thank you for taking this picture, it's nice to see that the grave looks beautiful!


We expect to have to ask the cleaning company to deep clean the grave again at some point soon before all the vines start to grow back, but we'll see how that goes!



 

Custom Plaque Added

June 2022


Just a few days after the company did the first cleaning and decoration work, my brother went to visit the cemetery and added a custom plaque for the grave that we designed and purchased a couple of months prior.


We wanted to get a nice plaque to inscribe the name of Charles Messier on it, as it is difficult to read on the actual grave headstone. We also added a short description explaining who Charles was, and at the very bottom a link to this page for anyone who would like to help with further decorations!



We weren't sure which plaque to get at first and asked you all on Instagram and Facebook to see which design you preferred. We went with your votes :)


Most people who voted for the bottom plaque said they liked the portrait of Charles Messier in the top right corner. Because of that, we went ahead and added a portrait to the top plaque before ordering it!



The plaque reads:


Original in French:


Charles Messier


Auteur du catalogue Messier,

regroupant 110 objets du ciel profond

observés depuis Paris.


Participez aux décorations:

https://www.galactic-hunter.com/messierdecorations


English Translation:


Charles Messier


Author of the Messier catalog

containing 110 deep-sky objects

observed from Paris


Participate in the decorations:

https://www.galactic-hunter.com/messierdecorations


 

Cleaning & Decorations started

June 2022


The first cleaning and decoration took place this month! You can see two pictures below.


On the left below is how we found the grave when we visited the cemetery, and on the right is what the grave looks like today!




As you can see, no more pesky mold, no more weeds, and an overall much cleaner look!


The updated picture was taken on a rainy day, so the water dripping on each side and the wet grave makes it look a bit rough, but it likely looks much better on a sunny day. 🌞


We hope that having flowers on the grave at all times will motivate others to also leave flowers for Charles Messier.



 

Original Post


We won't lie, we weren't sure if this would be a project worth doing or not. Why raise hundreds or thousands of dollars for someone who has been... dead... for more than 200 years?


Well, we asked you guys directly in our video below, and you seem to think it is a very nice idea! So let's give it a try and see how it goes :)


 


Short Summary


We are Antoine and Dalia Grelin, a couple doing astrophotography together under the dark skies of the Nevada desert. We started a website and YouTube Channel, “Galactic Hunter”, where we help beginner astrophotographers learn and get better at capturing deep sky objects. Galactic Hunter started because we wanted to share our journey to capture all 110 Messier objects.


Portrait of Charles Messier

Our biggest inspiration, astronomer Charles Messier, was one of the pillars in the astronomy world in the 18th century all the way to the beginning of the 19th century. Messier spent countless nights observing the night sky from his Paris rooftop, using what is considered today as very old and basic telescopes.

Staying up all night whenever the sky was clear, Charles Messier worked with an indescribable passion, looking through his instrument in the hopes of spotting never-seen-before space objects. Although Messier’s main goal was to locate comets, which he discovered 13 of, he truly made an impact on astronomy by cataloging the location of star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies.


The Messier Catalog, which lists 110 of the largest, brightest, and most impressive deep sky objects in the sky, (like the Andromeda Galaxy or the Orion Nebula) is today the first list of any kind that a beginner astronomer or astrophotographer consults when unsure of what to look for in the sky.

Without all of Charles Messier’s sleepless nights, we would likely never have such a perfect catalog to refer to this day.


We recently visited the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, France. This cemetery is the last resting place of some of the most famous artists, scientists, and political figures in the world. Many of the graves in the Père Lachaise cemetery are constantly showered with notes and flowers from all the fans visiting their idols.

Sadly, the grave of Charles Messier never receives that much love. When we found the tomb, we were shocked to discover how dirty and rusty it was. There were no flowers, no notes, just fungi and vines growing on the headstone. You also can barely read the name on the stone, and there is no way to decipher the message written near the base anymore. We have been impacted by Charles Messier so much in our lives, and feel like the old man deserves some love, 200+ years after his death.

In this campaign, we would like to raise some funds to restore Charles Messier’s grave close to its original state and hire a professional grave cleaning company to maintain and decorate the grave over the next century.


 

What We Need


Our goal is to have Charles Messier’s grave looking beautiful for the next 100 years.

Before being able to have the grave regularly maintained and embellished, we first need to have it professionally restored and deep cleaned.

The total cost to deep clean the grave is 680 dollars.

The deep cleaning consists of:

  • Mechanical cleaning of all surfaces [Not used as we do not want to change the antique aspect of the grave].

  • Removal of all plant matter

  • Degreasing

  • Anti-fungal treatment of the stone in order to remove fungi and lichens

  • Treatment of the cement borders to restore an aspect close to the original one. [Not used as we do not want to change the antique aspect of the grave].


Once this is done, the funds left will be used to maintain and decorate the grave on a regular basis (four times per year). The stone will be cleaned and fresh flowers will be placed each time. Our ultimate wish is to be able to maintain Messier’s grave for 100 years.


CLICK HERE to open the crowdfunding page.

An example of flowers offered by the grave cleaning company
An example of flowers offered by the grave cleaning company

 

The Impact


With your donations, Charles Messier’s grave will be clean, have flowers, and finally stand up to the graves of other famous people in the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Most importantly, it will be the ultimate "thank you" we can all make as the astronomy community to Charles Messier.


Here is how long we can keep the grave clean and decorated depending on the amount of support this campaign gets:


  • ✅ $680 - One-Time Deep Cleaning. No regular maintaining.

  • ✅ $1,105 - Charles Messier’s grave will be cleaned and decorated for ONE year.

  • ✅ $2,805 - Charles Messier’s grave will be cleaned and decorated for FIVE years.

  • ✅ $4,930 - Charles Messier’s grave will be cleaned and decorated for TEN years.

  • ✅ $11,305 - Charles Messier’s grave will be cleaned and decorated for TWENTY-FIVE years.

  • $21,930 - Charles Messier’s grave will be cleaned and decorated for FIFTY years.

  • $43,180 - Charles Messier’s grave will be cleaned and decorated for ONE HUNDRED years.

  • 🔭 Extra: $48,110 - Charles Messier's grave will be cleaned and decorated for 110 years. One year for each object Messier cataloged!

[The Project is now CLOSED. If you still want to participate in the hopes to reach more years, you can do so by clicking HERE. Just be sure to tell us it is for the project so we can credit you in the list of backers.]


A "before" and "after" example of a grave from the cleaning company
A "before" and "after" example of a grave from the cleaning company

 

Perks

As an additional thank you to people who want to donate, we'd like to feature your name on this project page for life!


BRONZE BACKER STAR

$100 or more


  • Steven Barnes

  • Nicolas Large

  • Mark Bahu

  • John A Day

  • Valentin Moingeon

  • Jakub Gajdos

  • Geoffrey S. Waldo

  • Nesher G. Asner

  • Aaron Keck

  • Tom Dinneen

  • David Collins

  • David McClintock

  • Dburman

  • Luther Laymon

  • Dustin Gibson

  • Ian Lauer

  • Kyle LeNeau

  • Jesse O'Neill-Oine

  • Trevor Jones

  • Chris Bynum

  • Samson Chiu

  • Astro Vino

  • Albert Carr

  • David Jenkins

  • Erik Dunnett

 

SILVER BACKER STAR

$500 or more


  • Georg Woeber

  • Steve Furminger

  • Marla Pinaire

  • Kelly Ottone

  • Paul Pilcher

  • Josh Kim

 

GOLD BACKER STAR

$1,000 or more


  • VAONIS

  • Ginny St. Lawrence

  • TagBack TV

  • OurSky - OurSky matched each donation for the last few days of the campaign to ensure we reached at least 25 years. Thank you so much! Learn all about OurSky soon on our website!


 

Conclusion


If you have ever used the Messier catalog at any point in your life, please help us thank Charles and donate whatever amount you believe is right. If you cannot financially support this project, please contribute by getting the word out to your friends and other astronomy hobbyists!


[The Project is now CLOSED. If you still want to participate, you can do so by clicking HERE. Just be sure to tell us it is for the project so we can credit you in the list of backers.]

Note: We are doing this FOR Charles Messier. We do not earn any profit from this.


Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to stay up to date with our work!


Clear Skies,

Antoine & Dalia Grelin

Galactic Hunter




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1 Comment


rjhanby
rjhanby
Feb 10, 2022

I went in for $50. Thank you for spearheading this project.

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