Messier Marathon

As we peer up at the night sky, drinking in photons from celestial objects far, far, away, one easily takes on the relaxed position with no schedule. As the months goes by, we greet our favourite Messier object as they emerge from the dawn sky into the blackness of the night. This game is repeated throughout the year until we have recovered all 110 Messier objects. There is however a very tight window of opportunity where all Messiers can be found on a single night.

This year’s new moon is slated for March 20, 2015 will be your best opportunity to get yourself in gear and hunt down this long list. It just so happens that is a Friday night and beginning of the weekend so Saturday works as well. I know this is a personal race to nail down as many as you can in a single night but you must search for them manually – no automated telescopes. That is considered kind of cheating (wink-wink).

To accomplish this endurance, follow the Marathon Guide that starts off with the galaxy M74 in the constellation Pisces as the sky darkens in the west until you will be challenged to snap up the globular cluster M30 in Capricornus as the early morning sky lightens. Dawn is not your friend. My apologies to anyone named Dawn.  You will not have much time record lengthy observations in your log book. You could simply follow your progress against the clock. Remember even though this is a race, keep it fun and do not stress if you only total 70 or 80 for the night. It is the participation that counts. Good luck.  

Clear skies,

Gary Boyle

eNews date: 
Tuesday, March 17, 2015