2016 KAS Messier Marathon

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.

Messier Object Chart

Messier Object Chart (click to view larger – credit tripod.com)

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:

NOTE: If you are interested in joining the KAS please email us kas’AT’kopernikastro.org

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Check out this great energetic cosmic perspective. This is why we do this. Changing our perspectives and what is… chasing this ravenously! Drunk on AWE!

Join Jason Silva as he freestyles complex systems of society, technology and human existence and discusses the truth and beauty of science in a form of existential jazz.

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2015 Harvest Moon Eclipse – KAS Photos

Here are some KAS Photos of the 2015 Harvest Moon Eclipse.  Many KAS Members were traveling and had a bit better sky conditions than some of the folks who stayed local…

Art Tilts:12038817_10200891827093855_9037912136451725299_o


Patrick Manley (from Seaford, DE):


George Normandin (from Indian Lake, NY)

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Art Cacciola (From Kopernik Observatory)

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Tonight’s Sky – October 2015

  • Saturn hangs low in the south after dark
  • Pegasus The Great Square, 51 Peg, Alpheratz
  • Andromeda has great galaxies, M31, M110 and M32
  • Jupiter, Venus and Mars early AM before Sunrise
  • Jupiterand Mars will appear close on the 17th
  • 10/21-22: Look to the east after midnight for the constellation Orion – The Orionid Meteor Shower

This video is brought to you by hubblesite.org – they’ve been putting the WOW into astronomy with stunning images and astronomy education for over a decade.

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Tonight’s Sky – July 2015

  • Venus and Jupiter and crescent moon just after sunset.
  • Saturn appears high in the south after dark
  • Scorpius, Antares, M4 Globular Cluster,
  • Sagitarius, Lagoon Nebula, Triffid Nebula, Omega Nebula, M22 Globular Cluster,
  • Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower

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2015 KAS Cherry Springs Star Party Report.


The KAS had a fantastic time at the 2015 Cherry Spring Star Party from June 10th – June 14th.  Seven KAS members toughed out some poor weather forecasts and reports, and were treated instead with two fairly decent nights of observing.

KAS Equipment on the field throughout the weekend:
  • Astro Gazer dome with his 10″ Mead SCT
  • 16″ New Moon Telescopes Dob.
  • 20″ Obsession Dob
  • 9.25″ Celestron Edge SCT
  • 8″ Meade Schmidt Newtonian
  • 5″ Explore Scientific refractor
  • 3″ Galileoscope Refractor
Some KAS members arrived Wednesday night, and those members had three nights of observing under decent conditions. Most KAS members began filing in Thursday morning, and were greeted with mostly clear skies on Thursday night.
Friday was an all around interesting day with respect to weather.  In the evening, high winds spun up havoc on the observing field including some KAS Canopy tents and one member’s camping tent.  Heavy rains drenched everything.  However, the KAS base camp was put back together in no time, and the group pitched in to help the member with the beaten up tent.  Most of the group was out to dinner when the storm hit, and no one was injured.  However everyone was treated to a bright, complete and beautiful double rainbow spanning from one end of the field to the other for about  15 – 20 minutes.


During the days on Friday and Saturday, KAS Members attended great lectures, visited with old friends, interacted with and purchased products from astronomy equipment vendors and relaxed.


20150612_162121Saturday night provided a fantastic night of observing, lasting until about 3 AM when a cloud blanket of fog rolled in.  It was some of the best observing conditions, and members were able to push a lot of power on objects like Saturn, Jupiter, star clusters, planetary nebulas, etc.  With the seeing stable like this, the group was treated to the best visual observations of Saturn.  Observations of seeing all of the markings on Saturn’s atmosphere, seeing the divided ring detail, and even striations in the rings caused by the gravity of passing moons.  The entire night was fantastic observing as many as 30-40 objects that night.

Saturday night was also the night that there were public observers from the surrounding area allowed on the field. As is tradition the KAS hosts public observer outreach as part of our mission.  We had about 35 or so public observers come through and look through our telescopes on Saturday night, and they were wowed with the things they saw.  It’s always great to get people looking through the telescope.

Now for the raffles, 5 of the 7 KAS members won prizes in the CSSP raffle. This was the largest raffle CSSP has had with nearly 105 prizes raffled off. All KAS members made their money back in the raffle and then some.
This was truly a great event, and all of the people who went were glad they attended..
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