Malcolm and Maggie’s Messier Marathon



Messier Takeaways: Getting there is half the fun! I often found the Mag 5-7 asterisms, binaries, and carbon stars along the way during a starhop far more interesting than the actual Messier object, once I found it.

Messier Objects Identified to Date

30 Messier objects positively identified since switching to active stargazing in November 2021 after detailed survey of the moon. Observations made either in Clifton, VA (Home) or at Great Meadow (GM). Table above summarizes observations (I looked at many objects a second or third time during follow-up sessions):

Equipment used: Oberwerk 25 x 100 Deluxe binoculars on a Farpoint Universal Binocular Mount atop an Oberwerk Series 5000 tripod; Bushnell 3X rifle scope mounted to central bar using picatinny rails (useful as a finder for first bright star at commencement of star hop); DIY dew shields (not shown but effective); Starbound observers chair (a must have); Luminos app on iphone as primary tool for starhopping (superior to Sky Safari Plus, though that is a useful app too); other apps used include Clear Outside, iCSC, Astrospheric, Dark Sky, Moon Atlas, and Stellarium.  Dog optional.

The binoculars give outstanding views of open clusters but can only detect the brightest galaxies and globular clusters (no detail, just faint fuzzies); the only diffuse nebula I’ve been able to see clearly is M42 and a trace of M78. I expect I’ll be able to pick up the Ring Nebula shortly when it gets high enough. Looking forward to a good summer as Ophiucus, Scorpio, and Sagittarius make their appearances with all their objects.

Finally, here’s Maggie!

She’s a 12 year old mix – a little bit of poodle, a little bit of shaggy brown mutt!

Thanks for reading,

–Malcolm Visser

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