|Observing Location||Moose Creek Ontario|
|Lat/Long||45°14'48.75"N 75° 3'11.23"W|
|Number of Messier Objects||110|
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.
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)
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
This was my first attempt, I did use the goto mount and so I did not find these objects unaided.
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
(Figure # refers to the figure # in Rob Hawley's files above)