Messier Marahon, Messier Observing List, Best of the NGC Websites/Links

Charles Messier

Well, soon many will depart into the zone of a Messier Marathon. For those who may not know what this event is, it is where you spend a whole night chasing down the 110 objects found in Charles Messier's list. Charles was a comet hunter and he listed this objects because it was easy to confuse them as being possible comets when they were not. I have seen online that some clubs are doing this come the first of April, and weather and conditions might make it a challenge to do it before, but the dreaded Daylight Savings Time returns to most of the United States on March 13th of this year, thus reducing the amount of time an observing can go outside after work during the week. So if you have a good night before the 13th, you may want to consider giving it a go as you'll have more hours of darkness to do it.

In lieu of the Messier Marathon, and because I haven't post this for awhile, I am going to list some links to some good Messier sites and charts, and provide a link to the R.A.S.C. Finest Observing List which is published each year in their Observer's Handbook.

Messier List by Season

Messier Telrad Charts 1

Star Hopping List of Messier Objects by Time of Night (Scroll Down when you get to the page)

Messier Telrad Charts by Constellation

Messier Online Telrad Charts Utah Skies

If your going to do the Messier Marathon, you MUST know when the constellations are going to rise that night and plan out your night according. Trying to view M1 where I live at 5:00a.m. isn't going to work for example. So plan out the night before you try it! The one site above can be a reference of what you may want to do. A few links that may help you and continue your reading and this year because of time I am not going to post a full review since others online have done that already. Also, it is still very cold in most parts of the U.S. and the northern hemisphere, so dress warmly. Not dressing right can kill this all night event. Hope these sites help:

Stargazer Online Guide to the Messier Marathon

The Messier Marathon (good info here)

Larry McNish's Free Messier Marathon Planner Online

If you live in the Salt Lake County area and want to try this, the Salt Lake County Library has this book available from the Sandy Library for checkout. If you don't live here, then check your local library. It's an ok book to go for this time of the year. Good luck in getting these. I'm personally passing this year (did one two years ago) and if I have a good night, I am just going to go work my observing list and try to make up some ground on the objects I needed in Jan. and Feb.

If you are looking for some other observing lists of brighter objects here are a couple also:

R.A.S.C. Finest NGC Objects
. This comes complete with finder charts for download but be careful, a few objects may be to far north if you live to far south! Great list though.

Best of the NGC with image, description and an online finderchart.

Saguaro Astronomy Club Best of the NGC (you can view their book online and/or download it per their instructions).

Best Objects in the NGC by SAG members A.J. Crayon & Steve Coe. Lists the items but no findercharts.

So all that hopefully will help to keep some of you busy. Let's hope for some clear skies soon!