The Fall Messier Marathon Guide

The Fall Messier Marathon
Ed Ting, NHAS, CMP Oct 17th 2008
Messier Marathon
An informal competition to locate the most
Messier objects by a single observer during
a dusk-to-dawn Marathon.
How Many Can You Expect To
March: 108-110
 June: 90-95
 October: 100-102
From Southern NH
Daylight lasts approx 11 hours and 30
 Everything is “shifted” by 6 hours
compared to a conventional March MM
What Doesn’t Change
You still have to stay up all night long
 The average time to find each object goes
up – about 7 minutes, 25 seconds per object
 The busiest times are the beginning and the
end, with a lull in the middle
Your New Problem Objects
M4 and M80 are right on the western
 M104, M68, and M83 are lost in the
morning sun
M3 is also a problem (18 deg above
horizon at 6 PM)
What Does Change
M30, M72, and M73 are no longer difficult
 Scorpio is now the early problem
 March – The Sun is in Capricorn
 October – The Sun is in Virgo
One Big Change
The Virgo Cluster must be tackled while the sun
is rising
 Thus, the VC is now a Bonus Object
 M64, M53, M61, etc become problems also
For Experienced Observers
You have to readjust your thinking
 Beginners have the upper hand here!
Your New Goal
91 Objects
 5 Objects are not visible
 The Virgo Cluster galaxies (14 objects)
become “Bonus Objects.”
The Sky at 6:00 PM
The First 2 Hours
Goal – Get 20 Objects (22% of total)
 M62, M19, M6, M7, M5, M97, M108,
M109, M81, M82, M101, M102 (NGC
5866), M51, M3, M53, M63, M94, M107,
M12, M10
The Sky at 10 PM
9 –11 PM Sagittarius
Sagittarius, Scutum, Ophiucus
 M10, M23, M24, M25, M69, M70, M54,
M9, M14, M8, M20, M21, M28, M22,
M55, M16, M17, M11, M26
 Goal: Get 19 Objects (20%, 42% of total)
 Lots of showpiece objects
Sagittarius/ Scorpius Area
The Sky at Midnight
Midnight to 2 AM
Goal: Get 22 objects (25%, 67% total)
 M40, M106, M75, M13, M92, M57, M56,
M27, M71, M2, M72, M73, M30, M29,
M39, M15, M74, M77, M31, M32, M110,
The Sky at 4 AM
4 AM – Winter Objects
Goal: Get 31 objects (33%, 100%)
 M103, M52, M34, M76, M79, M1, M45,
M37, M36, M38, M50, M47, M46, M93,
M41, M35, M41, M42, M43, M78, M48,
M44, M67, M105, M96, M95, M65, M66,
M61, M64, M85
The Virgo Cluster
The bad news – You have to find 14 dim
objects (15% of the total MM)
 The VC is rising in the east, along with the
 These are all Bonus Objects
The Virgo Cluster
Work From Left To Right
From Skymap
You’re Done!
How did you do?
 Don’t forget to report your results to the club for
the newsletter.
 If you followed the “Goals” you should have 91
objects (82%)
Tips & Tricks (p. 1 of 2)
Use a scope with a short focal length
 Consider using an alt-az scope
 Bring a pair of binoculars
 Have a method for dealing with dew
 Eat light snacks throughout the evening
 Once in a particular area, stay there until
you get all the objects there
Tips and Tricks (p. 2 of 2)
Work West to East, South to North
 Work from a list
 Bring a chair
 Don’t forget to have fun!
Books For Further Reading
Good Luck!

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