2005 All Arizona Messier Marathon Results
March 12/13, 2005
The "2005 All Arizona Messier Marathon" was one of the more successful ones where we could only get 109 objects. This was due, probably in part, to the long spat of unusually cloudy and rainy weather we have had since the beginning of the year. It was reported the site had about 11" of rain. The beautiful blooming yellow, orange and purple wild flowers testified to this as they covered about 2/3's of the normally barren desert floor. No doubt they also contributed to some of our allergies.
At our briefing meeting near sunset 85 vehicles were counted along with approximately 110, photon starved, people. A request for attendees outside of Arizona revealed folks from California, Michigan, Connecticut and Canada. Hopefully I didn't miss anyone's state.
As the sunset and it got darker everyone started their observing, be it the marathon or personal lists. My plans were to complete a task started a few years ago and that was to complete drawing the rest of the Messier galaxies in the Coma-Virgo cluster of galaxies. The task was completed after a couple of hours and that left time for bagging 60, just enough for a certificate.
As morning twilight approached there were a couple of observers that were hoping to view M30 and spent a lot of time checking its position while looking at their watches and watching the eastern horizon brighten. Finally they conceded to the brightening sky. Can't blame them for trying, but we did have some fun joking around.
By the time everyone turned in their lists the count had reached 40 with 13 observing 109 objects. Last year there were only 3 with this count with Rick Tejera being the only one in first place both years.
The observing conditions were not excellent, but were very good and after the long drought of non-observable weather we were all glad for the opportunity.
AL = Astronomical League - member at large
See the following site http://www.seds.org/messier/xtra/marathon/results.html for more information about this, other marathon events and Charles Messier.