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Messier Marathon 2005

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Posted by Zack on March 14, 2005 05:52:59 UTC

Date-3/12/04

Scopes-XT8 Orion, ETX-70mm

Eyepieces-18mmWA, MA25mm, WA9mm, 2xbarlow, Super Plossl 32mm(borrowed) Celestron 26mm(borrowed)

Filters-O-III

Observing time- 7:00- 12:00

Location-Mount Diablo State Park LM-6



The whole week of the Marathon it had been clear and I had some great observing in. The day of the marathon though the clouds rolled in. I was pretty dissapointed but decided to go up the mountain anyway just to talk with some fellow astronomers. About halfway up the mountain the clouds and the city dissapeared. Thats when I realized this would probably be the darkest night for me in awhile. When my Dad and I reached the top, there was a sea of fog extending for miles. And Mercury was lying just on top of them with the sunset illuminating the clouds a pink orange. If clouds had rolled in then, I still would've been happy I came up.
At around seven the rush for 77 and 74 started. It took me about fifteen minutes, and a little help from one of my friends, I found 77. It was a lot brighter than I thought it would be, but I was just amazed I could even find it. After that I spent 20 minutes on 74, but had to move on. It was reassuring that no one found that last night.
After 77 and 74, I moved on to the Andromeda Cassiopiea region. When I looked over there, I realized what I was seeing was the milky way, not a cloud. I knocked everything in that region out except for 33 because it was just to dim. It was barely detectable in the 12 inch there. After all that it was around 8:30 so I decided to look at the Orion region. I find M78 by using the hook off of Alnitak. When I centered on it, I detected a faint nebulosity and concluded I saw the flame. I had to call in and expert to check, but it was it. After M78 I saw M42 through a borrowed O-III and it was fantastic. It looked just like the pictures except it was green! I got M1 and then took a break to eat dinner.
After dinner it was around 9:30. I spent a lot of time in Sirius trying to find 50 and 48, and I had to borrow a ten inch with a telrad to find them. After I finished everything in that region, I realized I had forgot 76. It was a rush and it was just on the horizon, but a friend showed me what it looked like through my scope, then let me find it. It was tough but I got it.
I moved on to Ursa Major and Leo at around ten, and was intimidated because I had never seen any thing in those regions. But that soon left me after I found 109! It was incredibly bright and unmistakable. I got 108, 97, 101, 106, 81, and 82 after that.
When the time for Leo came, I was ready. I found 65 and 66 first, the 95, 96 and 105. After that I caught a quick glampse of 94 and Jupiter (incredible) and packed up.
Total count-42 (could've gotten 80 if my dad would've let me stay longer!!!)
Goal-40
Messiers seen-
77
31
32
110
52
103
76
34
45
79
42
43
78
1
35
37
36
38
41
50
47
46
93
48
44
67
81
82
108
97
109
106
40
95
96
105
65
66
101
51
94
3
-Zack

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