The First Messier Marathon from Hosahalli on 15th March 2007

By amar_universe; Published 22 Mar 2007

I had been planning about one early Messier Marathon on 15th March before the main one on 17th March, for which I went and came back with some very good results!! It was me alone during my first ever Messier Marathon and I used my friend Akarsh's 8" f/8 equatorial telescope what I have used since the beginning, and a 10x50 Olympus binoculars. The whole event went on just wonderfully, I hadnt even expected to see so many Messiers as many of them were after a long time. Everything until 5 am was going just perfectly and "very suddenly" an unexpected tragic thing happened which I hadnt know about..Our Moon, a very thin but even though bright crescent shining at only 20% phase rose up! I was going on very well and happily until then and had just a few Messiers remaining, the morning ones and was quite sure of getting those too. It's light was strong and disrupted everything in the vicinity. I had missed only 4 objects in the evening; Andromeda's 2 companions M32 & M110, M74 (these 3 because we are at a lower latitude hence they're lowly situated in the western sky for us, and being faint they are easily lost in the glow of lights at the horizon) and also the difficult and mistaken entry by Charles Messier, a double star M40 in Ursa Major! I aimed at the totally wrong star and was searching for this.

So finally my first attempt of MM-2007 has landed me gifting me with 101 (One hundred and one) Messiers (I had anyway wished to go just beyond 100..and it really happened) and missing only 9 totally!! It might be good results for others but I personally am quite dejected and really not that satisfied/happy at missing the morning 5 of them for no reason when I could have "easily" got them, the bright M2, as well as M30, M72, M73 and M30 if not for the darned Moon!! I assume I could have made it to 103-105 easily atleast!! I wouldnt have minded missing out on the Northern object M52 in Cassiopeia, difficult for our latitude. I judge that except 2 companions of Andromeda galaxy and M74 with M52, for our low latitude of 13degrees above equator around 106-107 objects should be visible with some efforts, if not all 110!! I also used the 10x50 binocs and was realizing it's power slowly seeing lots of unexpected galaxies like M87, M49 in Virgo, M63, M94 in Canes Venatici and globulars M56 in Lyra and M71 in Sagitta. In all on both the days I could see around 70-75 messiers with a 10x50 Olympus binocs just handheld..I'm astonished as to how!!

The order of Messiers to be followed for our latitude that I had prepared worked just fine and I am sure that can be used from now on in the future! But still leaving out whatever dissatisfaction I have, 101 Messiers is a pretty good number even to me for a first time! And again on 17th March I went for the "Double Marathon" as I had planned since long to test my real stamina, patience and skill for observing and also to rectify for the previous errors! There I scored exactly a century - 100, one less than the first marathon!