The Central Valley Astronomers (Fresno, CA) held a MM last Saturday night at our almost-dark-sky site at Hensley Lake. The last several years have been Futility Marathons due to clouds/rain. This year we did have some clouds on the western horizon during the early evening (no M74, M77, M31/M32/M110, or M33), but the sky was otherwise clear. The biggest problem was a persistent 10-15 mph breeze…wind chill down to perhaps 40°F :-) How do you guys in snow country do this???
We started the evening with 24 scopes ranging from 4" to 20", including the entire Orion line of dobs. A couple of people used only binoculars. Most of the group--myself included--did not plan to stay the whole night, but a few did. When we left at 1:00 am, there were about 8 people left.
I had my trusty C5+ and a plan to do a half marathon. On March 1st, after three years, I finished my Messier list (M74) so I could now concentrate on speed, not quality. Between 7:30 and midnight I was able to bag 57 Messiers, a personal record. I gave up halfway through the Virgo Cluster because of the wind, though I did grab M56 and M4 before packing up. I even found Omega Centauri with 10x50 binoculars.
Going through the Messier catalog and doing a half-marathon now has me wondering--I know it is possible to the do the entire Messier catalog in one night, but how long would it take to do the Messier catalog in numerical order? Kind of like running the table in pool. Has anyone figured this out?