2016 KAS Messier Marathon
Planning is underway for the 2016 KAS Messier Marathon. This is a great opportunity to view all the objects catalogued by Charles Messier that took him 24 years to observe. Messier catalogued objects that he originally thought were comets, but could not confirm them as such. Basically these objects appeared to him as “faint fuzzies” but unlike comets, they never moved. His list of 110 objects were almost considered a hinderance by him.
Today, this list of objects are the most accessible and easiest to view objects in and around our galaxy. About 10 of them can be spotted with the naked eye, and the rest are all findable with even a fairly modest telescope. Every year during the new moon dark window in March, all but a few of these great objects is observable in just one night. This year, 2016 there will be two windows to attempt “mostly” Messier marathons. In March the best chance will be the period surrounding March 12/13, 2016 but M30 will be extremely difficult to impossible . A second window will be April 2/3, 2016 where M74 and M77 will be impossible from our location. Despite the likelihood on an incomplete Marathon, seeing so many Messiers in one night would be a lofty accomplishment!
The objective here would be that the KAS gather on the first clear night during that window at Kopernik Observatory & Science Center. So far there is interest with a a few KAS members. This will be a Kopernik Astronomical Society ONLY event.
Here is a list of references for preparing, planning and executing a Messier Marathon:
- The SEDS 2016 Messier Marathon Reference Page
- Introduction to Messier Marathons (Richard Bell)
- Messier Checklist (SEDS)
- Star Hopping Guide to the Messier Marathong Text (Rob Hawley)
- Star Hopping Guide to the Messier Marathon Charts (Rob Hawley)
NOTE: If you are interested in joining the KAS please email us kas’AT’kopernikastro.org