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Messier Marathon Attack Order and Check List


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Quite a few of the SGL members, including me, seem to have been having a go at the Messier list.

I had a really good night, mainly because I worked carefully through a prepared list and used a Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas. Amazon UK have these just now for about £9, great value for money. It as A5 size, spiral bound with extra charts for the Virgo Cluster among other things.

I'll attach my Excel spreadsheet which is my attack order and check list. Five pages when printed, each one for a "chunk" of the sky.

It gives RA and Dec and the chart number in the S&T sky atlas.

There is a column of significant times which show set times (S), rise times ® and greatest altitude and angle (H) for some objects. These are for here on the Moray coast in mid March but they won't be a million miles out.

There are also two columns for star-hopping, one for the starting object, another for distance in degrees and direction to get to the Messier object.

Some of the objects at the end are too low for us to ever see so there is no star-hopping data for them.

When I had a go last Saturday I got every one of the 48 objects in the first two pages between 8pm when the cloud cleared around M74 and 77 and 10.30pm when I ran out of energy.

I have a terrible habit of just going from memory but being systematic made things so much more satisfying.

Hope you find this helpful, this coming weekend looks like the best one in March to get the most objects.



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