Once we began, the whole night appeared a smooth sail for all observers; Keerthi with his 8-inch and the other binocular observers. The evening Milky-Way objects, later galaxies of Virgo, UMa, Leo consumed time. When Sagittarius and Scorpius rose everyone's eyes were hooked upon the globulars, opens and nebulae in the vivid region.
Now there was a major anomaly which degraded my productivity. My tripod was holding on the 5-kilo binoc weight no doubt, but there was a limitation to where I could point; which was not possible more than some 60-degree altitude and I had to bend cumbersomely.
I saw Virgo rising at 45-degree altitude, and could not actually aim at the galactic cluster overhead. Virgo passed zenith slowly all through the night and I simply held on until it declined in the western sky lower. That means a telescope user had finished Virgo hours before me, and you found me funnily and impatiently just "sitting" for most time, until it was low again. I only did Virgo after I had half finished finished the dawn Sagittarius and Scorpius objects!
A couple striking observations with my 25x100's I would like to share is - I could intuitively sense the presence of a barred-spiral feature in M83 galaxy and also a central dust lane in the edge-on galaxy NGC 2683 in Cancer-Lynx border with these binoculars! The double star M40 was visible as a very cute compact barely resolved double star. We also saw 3 comets with the "Monster" scope in the course of night --- C/2007 Q3 Siding Spring, 81/P Wild-2 and C/2009 K5 McNaught - the last of which is my new 31st observed comet count! The latter 2 were medium-bright @ ~9th mag and beautiful in the 17", sporting a faint visual tail, each.
Everyone were observing with their respective equipment, the sky glow increasing considerably than before. We were battling to strain and pull out objects from the background glow. By dawn everyone were on their way. With me it was the case of not yet having entered the Virgo Cluster, before immediately moving onto the "morning rush" objects. It was by 5am that I barely managed to finish tracking all Virgo-Coma galaxies with a detailed finder chart, just realizing that I have half hour more and indeed many more objects remaining, fearing the worst! I gushed my 25x100's at all of them and managed M15 and M2 as the last, missing out M75 globular not having even observed it generally in years! Did not make it a point to attempt M72 and M73 knowing they are next to impossible. By now my hands were really sore managing the heavy binoculars all night-long with awkward observing contortions.
These last few minutes were a mad rush, with panic in the air for all observers. It could be over in sometime, and still we had to nail those elusive late objects. Akarsh was the luckiest to observe M72, M73, M75 among the concluding challenges. We all missed out M30 which was very low in the deep blue twilight.
By morning, the inpouring twilight pronounced an end to the mesmerizing act of Messier Marathon. We packed up our equipment and hit the sack in our observing site's room itself. We had a good sleep till 11am from 7am, after which with some astronomy discussion, we inched slowly back to Bangalore, reaching only by 4:00pm.
The final results are summarized as below:
(1) Akarsh Simha - Completely from memory, 105 Messiers and totally 210 objects including these! Without a finder chart for ANY object, going solo by memory and the 17-inch.
(2) Amar A. Sharma - 100 M's solely with a 25x100 Oberwerk-IF binocs. Additionally ~30 non-M objects.
(3) Keerthi Kiran - 95 Messiers with his 8" f/8 telescope.
(4) Achyut Jamadagni - 57 Messiers with my 20x80 Celestron binoc.
(5) Rakesh Nath - Around 55 Messiers with 10x50 Olympus binoculars.
(6) Madan Kumar - Around 25 objects with my 10x50 Olympus binocs.
I've realized one thing that now I've built such a good rapport with my binoculars, that I know these can be the ultimate equipment for the distant time to come. The countless Divine stars in Milky-Way fields, and attempt at comet-hunting is something my eyes have got tuned for, coupled with them.
Awaiting for the next Marathon, and something innovative to achieve, with inspiration from this good one! Lastly, humble thanks to Mother Nature for planning everything positively for us.