Activity

Play Bingo with Charles Messier

Play a game of bingo and learn about the many wonders of the cosmos!

Play Bingo with objects in the Messier catalogue. Find out about different types of object in the night sky and have fun!

You just need to download the Bingo Cards and have an internet connection.

If you or the people you'll play the game with are not familiar with all the types of astronomical object, have a look through our presentation slides in PDF and in Powerpoint format.

Charles Messier lived in Paris in the 18th century. He wanted to become famous by discovering comets. When he looked through his telescope he often re-discovered objects which were already known and were not comets. So he didn't waste time, each time he found an object that did not move in the sky he catalogued it.

There are 110 objects in the catalogue. Messier Bingo is game that showcases these objects, and maybe even helps you to learn the difference between the different types. All of the images you see in this game have been taken with the LCO network, most of them by schools.

How to play

  1. [Optional] Download astronomical object presentation in either PDF or Powerpoint format.
  2. [Optional] Talk your audience through the different types of object with the presentation you downloaded in step 1.
  3. Download this ZIP file of 30 bingo cards. Unzip it, and hand a card to each person who is going to play.
  4. Launch the Messier Bingo random image tombola. This little application will simulate the Bingo tombola and give you random Messier objects.
  5. To start the game click the "Next Image" arrow.
  6. Mark your card each time one of your objects appears.
  7. When you have marked all the objects on your card shout 'Bingo', 'House' or even 'Messier' to win.

Alternative Ending

  1. Play the game as above, up to point 6.
  2. If you only have a fixed time to play the game, say 10 minutes, you can warn the players when you are approaching the time limit.
  3. At the time limit, ask the players to count the number of objects they found
  4. The winner is the person (or people) who have the most hits.

Play Messier Bingo >

Advanced game

If you want to play a more advanced game, you have to (correctly) identify the type of each of your objects before winning.

Random image tombola

This tool generates random images for you to play the game with, simulating a traditional bingo tombola. Because the images are show in a random order and are not taken out of circulation once they have been played, more people can join the game once it has started.

When to play?

If you are playing this game in a classroom or astronomy club, it would be perfect after learning about different types of astronomical objects.

If you are playing with a group of friends and do not know what each type of object is, have a look at our SpaceBook particularly the pages about the lifecycle of stars.

Acknowledgments

Graphic design by Charlotte Provot, web tinkering by Stuart Lowe. Thanks to Jake Hughes for helping with the typesetting of the bingo cards.