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M1, known as the Crab Nebula, is one of the most famous supernova remnants in the night sky. The supernova was first noted on July 4, 1054 by Chinese astronomers. At its height, the supernova was about 4 times brighter than Venus and could be seen during the day for a period of more than three weeks.

The remnant of the this supernova was discovered in 1731 by the British astronomer, John Bevis. Messier himself found it in 1758 while looking for Halley's comet. He soon realized it was no comet and the Crab Nebula became the first entry in Messier's famous catalog of celestial objects.