Messier Marathon-2007 (MM-2007)

By akarshsimha; Published 25 Jun 2008

Hello sky-observing buffs, Here is some good news for you...This is to discuss about our next big event of BAS..the international event where observers from all over the world participate. It's called Messier Marathon which is a Herculean task to observe all 110 Messier objects in one night!! Many have done it in the past and many Indian experienced observers were also very successful in nailing down 100+ objects in one night!!

We too are planning this time in mid-March for this event and we are quite sure of being successful here!!

1) MEMBERSHIP: This event is open to all people - yes I mean all of you too - provided you have two basic requirements as a must - one is some prior sky-observational experience, needless to say the Messier objects, and next is some equipment of any sort, telescope or binocular too irrespective of it's size. If you possess're most welcome to join us and represent BAS in this international race!

2) DATES AND TIME : This event is an overnight event running from sunset to sunrise. So you need to be prepared for the hard-realities..cold..fatigue and being awake how long ever you can, and moreover being active throughout all this is a race-against-time. The dates will be centered around mid-March in the week of 16th-24th March, when Moon wont be bright enough and is close to New Moon.

3) EQUIPMENT: Now for those of you new people who are joining us, you obviously need to get your equipment as we wont be having any excess to share with you. Now about the participants who are taking part from BAS, here is the general plan:

As of now we have the following equipment confirmed:

a) 12" f/4.5 Dobsonian telescope- owned by Hemanth Hariyani
b) 8" f/8 equatorial telescope - owned by Akarsh Simha
c) 8" f/8 equatorial telescope - owned by Hosahalli school, our observing site
d) 6" f/8 alt-azimuth telescope - owned by Hemanth Hariyani
e) 6" f/8 alt-azimuth telescope - owned by Mayank of now there are no users for this telescope, so this telescope can be utilized for the event with prior permission from the owner!
f) 6" tracking telescope - owned by Hemanth of now there are no users for this telescope, so it can be used with prior permission from the owner!
g)Our general range of binoculars too are included in this..

This is how people will be divided onto the scopes:

a) AMAR A. SHARMA : This is my first attempt at this, and I am confident of wanting to do a Double Messier Marathon this time with both the telescopes, the first two: 8" and 12". If I am present on 17th then I'll be primarily using the 12" telescope because Akarsh will be using his 8" scope if he is present. And I'll be going some other date too again and using the 8" scope when Akarsh is not around so I can use the smaller challenging scope too.

One reason for me to use the 12" scope on that date is because I want to race not only for the Messier objects but also want to race with the other jewels the night-sky has to offer, I want to cross a certain number of objects in one night..something hardly achieved by observers worldwide!!! crossing 150 objects in one night or 200. I'll keep a realistic aim between 150-200 objects!! And the 12" can/will help me in this mammothic task. Amar, an experienced observer will be attempting for 100+ Messier much maximimum possible visible to us!!!

b) AKARSH SIMHA : He'll be using his 8" f/8 scope on Saturday if he confirms his presence. He can also use the 12" on some other date when no one is there. Akarsh, an experienced observer will be attempting for 100+ Messier objects much maximimum possible visible to us!!!

c) PAVAN KESHAVAMURTHY : He will be using any other scopes on 17th and if it's on some other date he's free to choose from the 8" and 12" scope also. Pavan will be attempting for a minimum of 50-60 Messier objects without much practice!

d) CHETAN REDDY : This guy is our youngest Marathoner and the small guy who's capabilities and talents we are recognizing soon with each session we are conducting!! Just 13 yrs of age, I can bet that he'll be among the youngest, if not the youngest Marathoner in the world who's capable of going to atleast 50 objects without any practice whatsoever, my past sessions with him have taught me about him!!!! Chetan, our local resident astronomer, staying at our observing site itself will be using his own scope, the school's 8" f/8 and he'll attempting for 50-60 Messier objects without much practice, and moreover being so very young..he deserves a real applause for this!!

Note that if BAS conducts MM-2007 successfully, it'll have achieved 2 wonders which have not been done elsewhere, seemingly; one if having the youngest Marathoner at age 13 and another one is being the lowest Marathoners at latitude 13, closest to the Equator!!! Everyone elsewhere is much higher above at Northern Latitudes and no one else is seemingly so low-lying as us!! Hence we'll have lots of difficulties observing all 110 objects as some of them will be totally lost in twilight and we might at the most get 100 objects..a disheartning and unfortunate factor [:(]. I'll prepare the M-objects order soon for our latitude that we'll have to follow, and upload it for everyone here. Please wait till then. This was the overall general planning and I hope to see our names successfully printed would really be a matter of great pride, appearing among the successful International competitors:

More about Marathon can be found here: