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Albireo380

Gorged on Messiers

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Went out to my dark sky site about 25 miles north of Glasgow again tonight (that makes 3 times this week - almost unheard of). Set up the LX90 at 9.00pm. By 9.30pm I was observing, M57, then M29 & M39 (11 x 80 Bino's), then back to the LX90 for M27, M13 and M3.

At that point two friends turned up with an ETX90 and an 80mm semi apo. The pleiades (M45) were superb through the wee refractor, as was the double cluster. Then back to the LX90 for M94, M13 (again - can't get enough of this one), M51, M101 (only just discernable), M82, M81, M34, M2 and M30.

Whew - 15 Messiers in 3 hours.

Also split Albireo, Gamma Andromedae, Epsilon Lyrae (Double double - at x222) and Alcor.

Saw 3 BIG shooting stars and numerous satellites.

You know - the Meade 8" LX90 really is a good "all round" 'scope.

Got home about 12.45am with a big smile on my face.

Tom

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Hi Tom

Sounds like you had another good night at the dark site. Wish I'd been there rather than getting really drunk and staying out late with work colleagues. Feel awful now ;) 'green around the gills'.

Cheers, Martin

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Great report sounds like a nice spot, great sky last night, not as dark as it has been but very good seeing, I struggled with m101 but most of my other targets were relatively easy. M13 is still my fav but having seen it thru some monster celestron my view now looks less impressive :wink:, however still love the dob for its ease and speed! Splitting close doubles was relatively easy testament to the good sky was a happy bunny going to bed, hope this is a sign of a good winter to come. ;)

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Great report. Sounds like a productive night. If I may make a suggestion, I'd say, download this Messier Marathon observing list, and whenever you get a stretch of clear skies, see how many you can find.

http://seds.org/messier/xtra/marathon/marath.html

This is the official list we use for our marathons, and is a reasonable sequence arranged mostly by RA, so there's not too much bouncing around the sky. On a typical marathon here in AZ, we'll start at dusk, roughly 7:00pm, and by 10:00pm, we're well into the Virgo Cluster. You could call it 65 objects in 3 hours! I understand your mileage may vary, depending on scattered clouds, but it may be something to shoot for.

Cheers!

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Is the Messier Marathon doable from Glasgow? I think I'd struggle from Chester, there's a few objects in Sag. that are too low to see on all but the very best nights.

Great report though Tom. ;)

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Nice one Tom, you rattled through those!!

Gaz, I don't think the Messier Marathon is doable from the UK full stop, certainly not these days with the low down murk.

Tony..

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Is the Messier Marathon doable from Glasgow? I think I'd struggle from Chester, there's a few objects in Sag. that are too low to see on all but the very best nights.

Great report though Tom. ;)

No chance from this far north. Anything south of Antares would not be possible. Even seeing Antares is a challenge, as it never gets more than about 7 degrees above the horizon. So that knocks out about 8-10 Messiers.

Tom

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Good to hear about the good nights viewing Tom! ;)

As far as Messier Marathons go, for next spring I'm going to put a list together of those Messier objects that should be visible from my latitude (51o North) and do a marathon based on that...

James

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Great report Tom, sounded like a cracking night. I haven't been to a dark site since 2005 (i think that was last time Rob and I went to the New Forest?). How is the Milkyway from your dark site?

I think in theory the Messier Marathon is do-able from the extreme South of the UK. I thought it was touch and go with one Messier? Off course that in theory. I would fancy my chances from the extreme tip off Cornwall but not anywhere near home (Southampton). I'll be lucky to find M31 from the new house! But we did stay at Sennen Cove near Lands End a couple of years back and I thought the skies were a match for Kelling. Pitch black, no street lights. Constellations i couldn't normally see to the South were visible in all their glory right down to the horizon.

Russ

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The point I was trying to make was not to do the whole marathon, but to use the list in an organized fashion, or at least hint at making an observing list to maximize your observing session. If you start with known objects and add just one or two per session, you'll soon have them all. Or, at least those visible from your location. Challenge yourself. I find quite a few people at the Grand Canyon show one or two things and give up. Complacency is stifling. There are a lot of Messier objects that are fantastic, some less so, but each is unique. You may stumble across a new favorite. 8)

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The way I try to do it is make sure your observing list has some objects you know you can find, some objects you might be able to find and some objects that you've never seen before. That way you'll come away having seen some familiar DSOs and (hopefully) seen a few new ones as well.

I did get your original point AM, the MM question was a slight threadjack on my part. Apologies. ;)

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NP. A friend of mine came across an application (sw) somewhere that would calculate the optimum dates for a marathon at your selected latitude. Of course, I don't recall what it was called, but I may be able to find out. I think it's possible to see >100 from the UK, but could be mistaken. Possible, though not likely, I gather. :?

P.S. A quick look shows a possible, though difficult, 99 visible from Glasgow. All but M83, 62,6,7,69,70,54,55,68,4,19 and 30 visible on March 16th. I limited "visibility" of an object to 10º above the horizon, since that's about my limit here. You guys would know better, though. Jeez, I wish I could hit the lotto so I could fly you all over here for an Arizona Messier Marathon! ;) I can just imagine the looks on your faces, even in the dark. 8)

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Jeez, I wish I could hit the lotto so I could fly you all over here for an Arizona Messier Marathon! :wink: I can just imagine the looks on your faces, even in the dark. 8)

Hear Hear! Every time I buy a lottery ticket I can see those dark skies...never seems to get me anywhere though. :(;)

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Tom

great report.

I took the opportunity to see M10,14, 33 & 101 at Kelling. I should have gone for more but I had a list of non-messier targets and I also wanted to see M27 & 57 under dark skies.

Cheers

Ian

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NP. A friend of mine came across an application (sw) somewhere that would calculate the optimum dates for a marathon at your selected latitude. Of course, I don't recall what it was called, but I may be able to find out. I think it's possible to see >100 from the UK, but could be mistaken. Possible, though not likely, I gather. :?

I contacted my friend an it turns out I was mistaken. He did show us when a MM is optimum, but he did it "brute force", (his words), using a spread sheet. I suppose you could do it yourself with a planetarium program and lots of paper and patience. Sorry.

Still, it may be something for the software peeps to ponder....?

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I've got a Mac not a PC so can't confirm how good/bad/useful it might be but COAA in Portugal have a Messier marathon planner (scroll to the bottom of the page) which may help!

Ah.. just noticed it needs Win 3.11 or Win 95 - will it run on more recent OS's?

James

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Nice little program James, its works OK on XP Pro. In theory, the most I can see from Chester in March/ April seems to be 100 Messiers. The program doesn't seem to let you enter an altitude other than 0 (the horizon) that objects can be observed from, probably 15-20 deg would be more realistic?

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