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Messier Marathon Musings

Started by flusk, 04/03/2003 10:25PM
Posted 04/03/2003 10:25PM Opening Post
Hi all…

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?

Posted 04/04/2003 04:57AM #1
How do us guys in snow county do this?....

Because were tough, macho men who fear nothing and laugh in the face of an arctic gale... we're a little crazy too ;-)

Actually have don't know how you southern guys can stand the heat. Anything above 75 gets uncomfortable for me unless I'm in the water.

Posted 04/04/2003 06:55AM #2
Hi all,

I got 74 of them last Saturday night. Straight starhopping. That was pretty good since I also took about two and a half hours starting at about 8:00 p.m. (and spread throughout the evening) to set up astrophotography with another scope. The biggest mistake I made was to set the dob up next to my trailer--which then blocked some of the early objects (including M31 and its buddies). I got M77--which I did not expect, and missed M74 in the early evening--and then set up the astrophotography. By the time I turned back to the marathon, I was staring at the trailer. Dumb Move.One of my buddies picked up 108 of the 110 Saturday. Starhopping with an equatorial mount. That was quite impressive. He missed 74, and then had a van parked in the wrong spot as the sun rose for the last object over in Capricorn.

Posted 04/04/2003 09:40AM #3
"How do you guys in snow country do this???" Back in my motorcycling days I used to have a snowmobile suit. I could ride all winter long (in Toronto), but it would get cool after an hour or so. Now you can get electrically heated vests, gloves, etc. Do a search on Gerbing's Electra Products. Never tried one, but I did have a chemically operated hand warmer a few years ago. Where I live now (Slovenia) it seldom gets that cold.