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Have you participated in the Messier Celestial Marathon?

Have you participated in the Messier Celestial Marathon?

Have you participated in the Messier Celestial Marathon?

We believe the Messier celestial marathon is no stranger for astronomy observation enthusiasts, , it is as full of challenges and surprises as a real marathon! You have to be patient and determined enough to get it done. We made some previews of the event earlier this month. Wonder if any friends have participated in the local event?  Your feedback is very welcome.But if you don't know it yet, let's discuss it together!Or should plan on trying to join it in next season.

1. What is a Messier Object?

The Messier objects are a collection of deep-sky objects cataloged by French astronomer Charles Messier in his catalog, List of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars, originally published in 1771.

Messier's first edition of the catalog only had 45 objects (ie M1-M45). In 1781, the number of objects included in the catalog was increased to 103. Although the last Messier object, M110, was confirmed and added to the catalog in 1967, the official publication date of the entire catalog is still given as 1781.

Messier objects are numbered by when they were discovered and confirmed to exist—not by their type. So if you look carefully at the official list of Messier objects, you will find that as the number increases, the types of corresponding objects vary greatly. Typically, similarly numbered Messier objects appear in the same or adjacent constellations—although as Messier discovers more and more objects across the sky, their corresponding constellations will be different,too.

2.What is the Messier Marathon?

The Messier Marathon was conceived by several astronomers in the 1970s. The rules is that, in a Messier marathon, you need to try to see all 110 Messier objects overnight. It requires careful planning and a steady pace. And there are several key factors that can affect your "success" in the Messier Marathon.

According to records,the first finisher champion is the astronomer Gerry Rattley, who completed it on the night of March 23 to the early morning of March 24, 1985.

It usually takes a whole night to run the Messier Marathon, so it is not suitable for the faint of heart to "run" it. In order to finish ,you need to make an observation plan first, and then complete the plan overnight.

3.How to "run" the Messier Marathon?

First of all, you need to have a good weather! For astronomers, clear sky is always needed! but it often doesn't,lol.

Then you need the astronomy equipments——telescope,camera or binoculars.Of course, you have to consider the local light pollution level. If you are in an area with severe light pollution, the observation effect may not be very good all night. 

Choosing the right day is also very important. There are only a few nights of the year to find the opportunity to spot all 110 Messier objects in the night sky.
In general, the best dates to run the Messier Marathon are between February 27 and April 1 each year, depending on the latitude of the observing location. In addition, we'd better choose a night when the moon phase is close to the new moon, so as to reduce the impact of light pollution caused by moonlight.
Use the starchart application to find the azimuth of the celestial object to be observed, and then find the corresponding celestial body in the sky according to the given azimuth.
You can also use other similar apps like Night Sky, SkySafari, and Stellarium.
Our recommended order of observation is:
M45, M42, M43, M41, M35, M31, M32, M110, M77, M33, M79, M74, M76, M52, M103, M34, M38, M36, M37, M1, M78
M50, M47, M46, M93, M48, M44, M67, M81, M82, M108, M97, M109, M40, M106, M94, M63, M51, M101, M95, M96,M105,
M65, M66, M98, M99, M100, M85, M84, M86, M87, M89, M90, M88, M91, M58, M59, M60, M49, M61, M53, M64
M3, M104, M68, M83, M5, M102, M13, M92, M12, M10, M14, M107, M4, M80, M62, M19, M9, M6, M7, M8, M20, M21
M23, M24, M18, M25, M17, M16, M22, M28, M11, M26, M57, M56, M39, M29, M27, M71, M69, M70, M54, M55, M75, M15, M2, M72, M73, M30
Enjoy and Experience it!

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