It's approaching that time of year . . . again!
2006 All Arizona Messier Marathon
The site is the same, south of Arizona City, Arizona.
Arizona City, Arizona
March 25/26, 2006
(all times are
|| 6:19 AM
|| 4:45 AM
This year we are lucky, very lucky as we
will be able to observe the entire Messier Catalog on this one night.
At twilight Saturday, with no moon in the sky, the closet object to
the horizon will be M74 at about 7° above. Next in order will be
the Andromeda Galaxy at 11.2°; M77 at about a degree higher; M33
14.4° and M52 at 14.7°. All others will be more than 15°
above the horizon. Noteworthy is M39 at 4° "BELOW" the
horizon, so don't try for this one as you will have plenty of time in
Once twilight begins Sunday morning M103 is 10.5°
above the horizon, giving plenty of time to pick this one off - if you
have been keeping a good pace. The Andromeda Galaxy can again be had
at about 5° above the horizon. Finally, our tormentor and frustrator
M30, is 2.3° above the horizon. But, and you just knew there would
be a but here, the moon is 3° above the horizon about 7° left
of M30. At 12.15% illuminated this isn't expected to be much of a problem.
Both rise around 4:47 PM but this doesn't take into account the mountain
range towards Tucson.
So after this review it definitely appears we will be
able to observe all 110 entries in Charles Messier's catalog - weather
permitting. And the weather has been favoring us for some time!
Your observing will not go unnoticed.
There will be awards in recognition of effort
- People observing 50 or more objects will receive a printed certificate.
- For first, second and third place: a small plaque suitable
for mounting on a telescope.
- Duplicate awards will be made for tying totals.
in advance is not required. The event is free and open to all,
but we will need either your or your clubs support to purchase
the plaques, which in the past have cost under $10.00. If you're not affiliated
to a supporting club, you may pay for the plaque in the morning after completing
the marathon. There is no charge for the certificates.
Before continuing be sure to have
read and signed the waiver
The text is readable in the box below.
Basically SAC only provides the site and gathers the totals. It is not
responsible for loss, theft, broken items, nor for any bodily injuries you might sustain.
Please turn in the signed waiver at the event.
Preferably turning in at the sunset meeting.
Previous award participants are listed
Don't think you can reach high counts?
DON'T WORRY! ENJOY!
Set your own goals and don't bother with those high counts.
The marathon is for having fun!
Set your goals in order for you to have fun!
The guidelines are pretty simple,
please read them over if you plan on participating.
- It's an honor system
- No one is going to be looking over your shoulder to verify
- Have an observing list to keep track of observations.
- Fill out the heading
- Find the objects
- Observe it with your eye through the main eyepiece of your
- Mark off the entry
- Go to the next object
Start observing when you are ready, presumably some time
after sun set. It is up to you to decide when you are finished observing.
Some conditions could be when you have reached a set goal or some time
after morning twilight.
Here are some additional guidelines you should be aware
of, some that haven't been published very often and others that haven't
been published at all. These cover situations and conditions that have
occurred in the past, but in no way do they cover the myriad of possibilities
that may happen.
Locating Objects -
Participants may use a variety of means to locate objects. This includes
memorizing positions; using binoculars, books or star charts for star
hopping. The use of setting circles, either analog or digital is also
permissible. Goto telescopes can also be used.
Multiple Observers -
In a small number cases there have been teams of two observers per telescope.
This will still be allowed, subject to the same conditions as has been
followed in the past. The condition is that each observer should find
one-half the objects and both must observe all objects.
There is an option in the case of an award. Either one
award can be presented with both names or two awards can be presented
- one with each name. Please let us know which you select by noting
this on the observing list that is turned in at the conclusion of the
event. In either case, if the award is for a plaque, you or your club
will be expected to pay for one or both.
Three or more observers per telescope can't qualify for
an award. It is possible to do the marathon this way, but none are eligible
Multiple Instruments -
Participants using two or more instruments are eligible for only one
award. This is not to be construed as one award for each instrument,
it is one award for the observer.
Individuals or clubs that haven't paid for prior awards are not eligible
for awards until paid up. However, it is still possible to do the marathon.
The only form of registration is an observing list that
is used to record your observations and a signed waiver. Be sure to
get one, either from one of the local astronomy clubs, one of the
coordinators or at the site. You can also print one from our web site
Marathon Order (PDF).
If you plan on using this or your personal printed version at the
marathon, please use both sides so only one sheet is used and turned
in to the coordinators. This helps greatly with recording the event
because multiple sheets from many observers can get mixed up, possibly
causing errors in recording the event and determining awards.
Be sure to fill in the top portion so awards and reference
can be accurately accomplished. The observing list will be returned
with your award.
It is important to remember that your list must be turned
in to one of the Coordinators before they leave the site. One of us
will stay - at least until sunrise - so be sure to get yours in before
then. This procedure is followed in order to provide the awards in a
timely fashion. Again, don't forget to fill out the top.
The results will be posted, after some verification, on
the Messier Marathon Observer's Results web page referenced above as
well as the SAC site.
Now, getting back to marathon information
A description of the object is not necessary, especially
since it will take precious time needed to find the remaining objects.
Study the list sequences, or use your own. Be prepared
for the extremely unlikely case it should become cloudy and the selected
sequence cannot be followed.
Although it is possible to do the marathon with a 4-inch
telescope, or smaller, or binoculars, it is not suggested; unless you
are an experienced observer.
Plan on arriving at the site at least 30 minutes before
sunset to provide time to setup your telescope and for it to reach thermal
equilibrium. This will also give you time to meet old friends and make
If you are NOT going to stay all
- Park near the entrance so you don't disturb others when you
- Please give a shout a few minutes before leaving and then
again as you are about to depart.
- This will give observers time to hide so the light doesn't
interfere with night vision.
A port-a-Jon will be on-site. Remember this is a primitive
site and we strive to make your stay as comfortable as possible.
Signs will be posted at the entrance to remind drivers
to keep the speed down because of the high dust levels. We are on the
Please ensure your red filtered flashlights are in good
working order and PLEASE no white lights between
sun set and sun rise.
For more information on star party etiquette Click
We will have a very short meeting just before sunset
for final announcements and words of encouragement.
If you plan on participating, then doing some homework
ahead of time will pay dividends. If interested the observing list can
be made available prior to the marathon for your reference.
Still not interested in the marathon?
COME ANYWAY; enjoy a night of observing, astro-photography or just plain
As in the last few years, Jack Jones will again be assisting
with this year's marathon. Thanks Jack, your help is appreciated.
A special thanks, as always, to Ray Farnsworth for permitting
us to use this site free of charge.
Please keep in mind this observing site is not our property,
is rather primitive; which means if you need something, bring it with
you and be sure to take it back with you. Let's leave the site at least
as clean as it was when we arrived.
Additional Questions should be addressed
2006 All Arizona Messier Marathon Organizers
Saguaro Astronomy Club