Most years NOVAC holds its Messier Marathons in March Public Night at Crockett Park. This is your chance to catch all 110 Messier objects in a marathon event that lasts from dusk to dawn. The winner that “bags” the most in one night using no electronic assistance will get to pick one item from the NOVAC store as a grand prize. This year we will also have a electronic category in the competition. The member that finds the most messiers using a “go to” scope , computer or DSC will receive a special T-shirt from the NOVAC store.
If you are an experienced Messier marathoner, come on down. If you have never done one, come on down, find out what the madness is all about.
This is a no frills, so bring your own stuff event. Remember, it still gets very cold in mid March, so dress accordingly. Read the NOVAC list-server and check the front page of the NOVAC website for last minute details and to see if the event is cancelled.
Additional Info can be found at http://messier.seds.org/xtra/marathon/marathon.html and http://www.davidpaulgreen.com/tumol.html
|Messier||In France during the 1700’s, Charles Messier was hunting for comets. He kept finding fuzzy things which weren’t comets, so he made a list of them to remember what he’d already seen. The list grew to about 110 objects, and includes many of the finest star clusters, galaxies, and nebulae visible from the northern hemisphere.|
|Marathon||It turns out that the objects on Messier’s list are distributed in the sky so that in early spring it is possible to observe all of them in a single night-long observing session: a Messier Marathon. People have actually been doing it since 1977.|
|Why?||Why would you want to do that? Different people have different reasons. Some like the sense of accomplishment. Finding all 110 objects in a single night isn’t easy, and you have to know the objects and their locations very well to do it. In addition, the 110 objects represent a wide sample of the objects in the sky. One can compare objects of the various types to each other, and gain a better understanding of how the universe is put together. There’s also a kind of camaraderie which builds up between observers who are lunatic enough to stay up all night collecting faint fuzzies, and Marathon nights can be social occasions.|
|1999||Craig Tupper||107||Skyline Drive/Crockett|
|1997||Bruce Miller/Craig Tupper||105||Crockett|
* If anyone has information regarding the winner for this year please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Past Years’ Results
2001 was the sixth annual NOVAC Messier Marathon. It was a good year for Marathoning; the moon was new on the weekend of March 24/25, which is approximately ideal in terms of achieving a balance between the hard-to-get early evening and late morning objects. Many excellent results rolled in, including the first complete 110 by a NOVAC member – Brent Archinal, in Arizona! Jonathon Bein and Craig Tupper set new personal bests, and a new club record from northern Virginia environs, with 109. Regardless of totals, a good time was had by all.
|106||Jonathan Bein||G. Washington Nat’l Forest||3/22|
|106||Craig Tupper||G. Washington Nat’l Forest||3/22|
|87||Alan Figgatt||Mickey Gordon||3/23|
|78||Robert Stewart||Mickey Gordon||3/23|
|54||Donna Blosser||Mickey Gordon||3/23|
|29||Kim Bieler||Mickey Gordon||3/19|
|25||Bob Traube (while hardly tryin’)||Crockett||3/23|
2000 was the fifth annual NOVAC Messier Marathon.
1999 was the fourth annual NOVAC Messier Marathon.
|107||Craig Tupper||Skyline Drive/Crockett|
|92||Jonathan Bein||Reddish Knob, VA|
|74||Joe Colaccino||Skyline Drive/Crockett|
|25||David Bonnell||Little Bennett Regional Park|
1998 was the third annual NOVAC Messier Marathon, and the last year without explicit guidelines.
1997 was the second annual NOVAC Messier Marathon.
|20||Jon Stewart-Taylor||Rocky Mount NC|
1996 was the first “official” NOVAC Messier Marathon.
|0||Chewning Toulmin (Chutzpah!)||Arlington|