Saturday, March 21, 2009

First Messier Marathon 2009

Date 20-Mar-09
Observing Location Moose Creek Ontario
Lat/Long 45°14'48.75"N 75° 3'11.23"W
Number of Messier Objects 110
Number Observed 80
Start 20:39
End 2:23

The Site / Equipment

As planned I was able to go on my first Messier marathon. The outing was was with other members of the Ottawa Valley Astronomy and Observers Group (OAOG).

(src: Google earth)

Moose Creek is in the heart of eastern Ontario's farming country and only a hour drive from Ottawa, this site provides a reasonable trade off between driving time and dark skies. Sky glow from Ottawa, near by Casselman and Montreal are the limiting sources.

Observing equipment was a Celestron 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain and a Megrez 90 FD Doublet. decided to use only a single 40mm eyepiece focal length for both scopes. This gives me a 4 degree and a 1 degree field of view on the Megrez 90 and Celestron 11".

I tried to keep the amount of stuff I brought to a bare minimum. Light, eye glasses, GPS for coordinates, dew heater.

I know some folks are interested in what is used for power, I used 2 50AH deep cycle 12V batteries. This is plenty of power for the goto mount and the dew heater.

Company

There was a full complement of folks out for the evening, a nice combination of scopes and imaging systems. Some observers were visual observing while others were exploring challenges and rewards of imaging the marathon. Names I recall are Simon, Pierre, Joe, and Josef (I know I am bad with names and I know there were others, please accept my omissions)


The Charts

Don't forget your charts. I used a combination of Denis Legault's observing list available at link. I supplemented this list with the observing guide and charts prepared by Rob Hawley I found at the Victoria RASC. I found these indispensable

The results


This was my first attempt, I did use the goto mount and so I did not find these objects unaided.


Messier Observed
GX 40 38
GC 29 15
PN 4 4
OC 28 18
NB 8 4
ST 1 1




110 80

I started at a respectable time at about 8:30 and observed 80 of the 110 Messier objects until the cold and east horizon got the best of me at around 2:30. I tried to catch some zee-s in the truck as i was waiting for more objects to rise in the east. Finally I pulled the plug at about 3:30.

Items I missed

I tried very hard for M74 and M33 but could not get them.
The only other object I could not get was M71.

The impressive objects

M1: The Crab Nebula's characteristic shape was clearly present.

M3: Globular in Canes Ven, is always a sight to see

M27: Dumbbell Nebula, although faint it's shape was unmistakable

M42: The Great Orion Nebula was the most impressive I have ever seen. Nebulosity was 180degrees, with clear detailed features throughout. The best I have ever seen. All 4 stars of the Trapezium were nicely resolved.

M45: Nebulosity of the Pleiades was as expected.

M46: I had never observed M46 but I immediately detected the planetary nebula within this open cluster.

M51: Both galaxies involved in the Whirlpool Galaxy were presently detectable and the shape of this object is impossible to miss.

M76: This was the first time I observed the Little Dumbbell Nebula, its shape was reminiscent of its bigger cousin. Very nice indeed.

M81 and M82: This pair of galaxies was a treat to see, side by side within the view form the C11 scope.

M97: It was very nice to see the Owl Nebula with its odd face like shape.

M104: I think the highlight of the evening was the Sombrero Galaxy. The crispness of the dark lane was very impressive.

M105: Within the 1 degree field of view of the 11" scope I could see the three galaxies, M105, NGC 3384 and NGC 3389


Detailed Record

(Figure # refers to the figure # in Rob Hawley's files above)

# Messier Const. Figure Time Observed Notes Type Name
1 74 PSC 2 8:45

GX
2 77 CET 3 8:50 8:39
GX
3 79 LEP 11 8:55 8:42
GC
4 33 TRI 4,5 9:00

GX Pinwheel Galaxy
5 31 AND 7,6 9:05 8:53
GX Andromeda Galaxy
6 32 AND 7,6 9:05 8:59
GX
7 110 AND 7,6 9:10 9:09
GX
8 52 CAS 8 9:15 9:14
OC
9 103 CAS 8 9:20 9:15
OC
10 76 PER 9 9:25 9:18
PN Little Dumbbell Nebula
11 34 PER 13 9:30 9:23
OC
12 45 TAU 13 9:35 9:32
OC Pleiades Cluster
13 42 ORI 13 9:40 9:35
NB Orion Nebula
14 43 ORI 14 9:40 9:38
NB
15 78 ORI 16 9:45 9:41
NB
16 41 CMA 16 9:50 9:45
OC
17 93 PUP 17 9:55 9:47
OC
18 46 PUP 17 10:00 9:53
OC
19 47 PUP 17 10:05 9:55
OC
20 50 MON 18 10:10 9:57
OC
21 48 HYA 15 10:15 9:58
OC
22 1 TAU 15 10:20 10:03
NB Crab Nebula
23 38 AUR 15 10:25 10:05
OC
24 36 AUR 15 10:30 10:07
OC
25 37 AUR 15 10:35 10:13
OC
26 35 GEM 15 10:40 10:16
OC
27 44 CNC 19 10:45 10:21
OC Praesepe (Beehive) Cluster
28 67 CNC 19 10:50 10:22
OC
29 81 UMA 24 10:55 10:25
GX Bode's Nebula
30 82 UMA 24 11:00 10:26
GX
31 108 UMA 25 11:05 10:28
GX
32 97 UMA 25 11:10 10:30
PN Owl Nebula
33 109 UMA 25 11:15 10:32
GX
34 40 UMA 26 11:20 10:35
ST
35 106 CVN 25 11:25 10:37
GX
36 94 CVN 27 11:30 10:39
GX
37 63 CVN 27 11:35 10:40
GX Sunflower Galaxy
38 51 CVN 27 11:40 10:43
GX Whirlpool Galaxy
39 101 UMA 28 11:45 10:55
GX
40 102 DRA 29 11:50 10:59
GX NGC 5866
41 3 CVN 30a 11:55 11:01
GC
42 95 LEO 21 12:00 11:04
GX
43 96 LEO 21 12:05 11:07
GX
44 105 LEO 21 12:10 11:09
GX
45 65 LEO 22 12:15 11:12
GX Leo Triplet Galaxy
46 66 LEO 22 12:15 11:12
GX Leo Triplet Galaxy
47 98 COM 33 12:20 11:14
GX
48 99 COM 33 12:25 11:17
GX
49 100 COM 33 12:30 11:19
GX
50 85 COM 33 12:35 11:21
GX
51 64 COM 30 12:40 11:25
GX Black-eye Galaxy
52 53 COM 30 12:45 11:28
GC
53 91 COM 34 12:50 11:30
GX
54 88 COM 34 12:55 11:32
GX
55 84 VIR 34 1:00 11:34
GX
56 86 VIR 34 1:05 11:34
GX
57 87 VIR 34 1:10 11:37
GX Virgo A
58 89 VIR 34 1:15 11:53
GX
59 90 VIR 34 1:20 11:55
GX
60 58 VIR 34 1:25 12:04
GX
61 59 VIR 34 1:30 12:05
GX
62 60 VIR 34 1:35 12:07
GX
63 49 VIR 32 1:40 12:10
GX
64 61 VIR 32 1:45 12:12
GX
65 104 VIR 36 1:50 12:14
GX Sombrero Galaxy
66 68 HYA 37 1:55 12:21
GC
67 83 HYA 38 2:00 2:14
GX
68 13 HER 41 2:05 1:23
GC Hercules Cluster
69 92 HER 41 2:10 1:25
GC
70 5 SER 40 2:15 1:26
GC
71 57 LYR 43 2:20 1:28
PN Ring Nebula
72 56 LYR 43 2:25 1:31
GC
73 12 OPH 42 2:30 1:32
GC
74 10 OPH 42 2:35 1:33
GC
75 107 OPH 42 2:40 1:35
GC
76 14 OPH 42 2:45 1:38
GC
77 80 SCO 44 2:50 1:43
GC
78 27 VUL 46 2:55 2:17
PN Dumbbell Nebula
79 71 SGE 46 3:00

GC
80 29 CYG 45 3:05 2:07
OC
81 39 CYG 45 3:10 2:11
OC
82 9 OPH 44 3:15 2:21
GC
83 4 SCO 44 3:30 2:23
GC
84 11 SCT 50 3:25

OC Wild Duck Cluster
85 26 SCT 50 3:30

OC
86 16 SER 50 3:35

NB Eagle Nebula
87 23 SGR 51 3:40

OC
88 17 SGR 50 3:45

NB Swan or Omega Nebula
89 18 SGR 50 3:50

OC
90 24 SGR 50 3:55

OC
91 19 OPH 47 4:00

GC
92 62 OPH 47 4:05

GC
93 25 SGR 51 4:10

OC
94 21 SGR 51 4:15

OC
95 20 SGR 51 4:20

NB Trifid Nebula
96 8 SGR 51 4:25

NB Lagoon Nebula
97 28 SGR 51 4:30

GC
98 22 SGR 51 4:35

GC
99 6 SCO 48 4:40

OC Butterfly Cluster
100 15 PEG 55 4:45

GC
101 7 SCO 48 4:50

OC
102 69 SGR 52 4:55

GC
103 70 SGR 52 5:00

GC
104 54 SGR 52 5:05

GC
105 2 AQR 55 5:10

GC
106 72 AQR 56 5:15

GC
107 73 AQR 56 5:20

OC
108 75 SGR 54 5:25

GC
109 55 SGR 54 5:30

GC
110 30 CAP 57 6:40

GC

Thanks for reading.

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