Presentation on theme: "The Fall Messier Marathon Guide"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Fall Messier Marathon Guide Please feel free to modify this presentation to your needs. -EdEd Ting, NHAS, CMP Oct 17th 2008
2 Messier MarathonAn informal competition to locate the most Messier objects by a single observer during a dusk-to-dawn Marathon.
3 How Many Can You Expect To See? March:June: 90-95October:From Harvard Pennington’s book
4 From Southern NH Daylight lasts approx 11 hours and 30 minutes Everything is “shifted” by 6 hours compared to a conventional March MMStats are for 42 degrees north (NH)
5 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 objectThe busiest times are the beginning and the end, with a lull in the middle
6 Your New Problem Objects Are… M4 and M80 are right on the western horizonM104, M68, and M83 are lost in the morning sun
7 M3 M3 is also a problem (18 deg above horizon at 6 PM) M3 is bright enough that it may overcome this problem from your location.
8 What Does Change M30, M72, and M73 are no longer difficult Scorpio is now the early problemMarch – The Sun is in CapricornOctober – The Sun is in Virgo
9 One Big ChangeThe Virgo Cluster must be tackled while the sun is risingThus, the VC is now a Bonus ObjectM64, M53, M61, etc become problems alsoI am not sure you can get the Virgo Cluster. It will depend largely on when you hold your fall MM. The later the better. The clearer your eastern horizons, the better.
10 For Experienced Observers You have to readjust your thinkingBeginners have the upper hand here!
11 Your New Goal 91 Objects 5 Objects are not visible The Virgo Cluster galaxies (14 objects) become “Bonus Objects.”
12 The Sky at 6:00 PMNote Scorpio setting in the west. The handle of the Big Dipper is going to start heading for the horizon too.
13 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
14 The Sky at 10 PMSagittarius is going to start disappearing on you soon, turn your efforts there and to Ursa Major.
21 The Virgo ClusterThe 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 ObjectsI am not sure you can get the VC objects from your location. The later you hold the MM, the better.
22 The Virgo ClusterAll of the objects discussed ahead will fit in the rectangular box, above. It is about the size of your outstretched hand held at arm’s length.
23 Work From Left To RightThis is a closeup of the rectangular box from the previous slide. Start from the left and work your way right. Thus, M60 is first, then M59, then M58, etc. End at M84/M86.
24 From SkymapHere’s an actual plot from Skymap with more background stars. Can you still find all of the Messier objects? If so, move on to the next slide!
25 This one is harder. Locate M60 and work your way right, as before.
26 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%)
27 Tips & Tricks (p. 1 of 2) Use a scope with a short focal length Consider using an alt-az scopeBring a pair of binocularsHave a method for dealing with dewEat light snacks throughout the eveningOnce in a particular area, stay there until you get all the objects thereI never wind up following all this advice, but I put it out there…
28 Tips and Tricks (p. 2 of 2) Work West to East, South to North Work from a listBring a chairDon’t forget to have fun!