The Fall Messier Marathon Guide 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 See? March: 108-110 June: 90-95 October: 100-102 From Southern NH Daylight lasts approx 11 hours and 30 minutes 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 Are… M4 and M80 are right on the western horizon M104, M68, and M83 are lost in the morning sun M3 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, M33 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 sun! 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!