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Binocular Messier Marathon 2010

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#1 Vickx

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 06:33 AM

Hi all!
I did it last night!
I know it was too soon. The Moon was shining in Sagittarius in the morning, but the weather forecast for the whole night was good.
Although the sky was clear, the transparency was very low. It was also very cold – about -6°C (~20°F). The location was not perfect, almost 30° above horizon was light polluted. But we are used here in Central Europe.

Unfortunatelly I forgot my Triatlas at home so I had to do it by memory. Finally it was not a big problem.

I started at 7 p.m. right after ISS pass. First of all I had to focus my Vixen BT125 with a pair of Panoptics 24 mm (32×). Ideal object for that is the Trapezium in M42.
Then I moved to Lepus to see M79 because it was very low in dirty sky. I had no problems.
The hardest objects just came. M74 and M77. I was not able too see nearby stars throught my reddot finder in still bright sky and dirty air.
So I moved to easier objects like M31, M32, then M33 and back to M110 within 5 minutes. Next was M52, M103 in Cassiopeia and M111, which we call X and h Persei ;]
Several more: M76, M34, M45 and M42+M43 again.
Short break followed to switch eyepieces. A pair of Naglers 16 mm T5 went to focusers (48×).
I did the whole sequence again to enjoy it more. There were still plenty of time.
At 8 p.m. I tried M77 again and the galaxy was there. Last time I searched a little bit different region :]
The M74 was worse. I knew the exact position by was unable to detect it clearly. Maybe several times with averted vision. Anyway I did not count it. Total 14 so far.
The sky was still very bad. SQM-L said 20.55 only.

Next round was planned from 9 p.m. The winter sky was very easy: M78, M1, M35, M37, M36, M38, M41, M93, M47, M46, M50, M48, M44, M67 and M-ars within 10 minutes.
Total count 28 and average SQM-L value 20.63.

Another fifteen minutes begining from 10 p.m.: M95+M96+M105, M65+M66, M81+M82, M97+M108, M109, M40, M106, M94, M63, M51, M101, M102, M53, M64 and M3. The galaxies in Leo were not very nice and M102 was also considerably faint, but nice meteor crossed the field of view.
Total 48 so far and the sky meter said 20.72.

At 11 p.m. was the right time to go throught Virgo and Coma galaxies. I like this area. I knew them all familiarly from last year observation.
I usually start from M98-M99-M100, then jump to M85, move back to Markarian Chain: M84-M86-M88, return trip goes over M91-M90-M89 to M87 (another nice meteor) and back to M58-M59-M60. Then fall down to M49, M61 and Sombrero (M104).
I also visited Saturn. Number of Messiers increased to 65 and SQM to 20.85. It was time to take a longer break.

The best sky was at 2 a.m. SQM-L measured 21.15 mag/arcsec².
But there were only a few unseen objects: M68, M83, M5, M13, M92, M57, M56, M29 and M39. The first two were difficult. They were very low in heavily polluted south.
I had 74 DSO's so far and it was time to sleep a bit again.

At 4 a.m. the Moon rised. Still many object had to come. M27, M71 and globular clusters in Ophiuchus and Scorpius: M12, M10, M14, M107, M9 and M4 and M80. M19 ad M62 had to wait, but I added M11 and M26.
SQM was still at 21.00 and object counter at 85.

Last sesion was held at 5 a.m. First of all I had to finish M19 and M62 and then moved to Sagittarius: M16, M17, M18, M24, M25, M23, M21, M20 and M8. The Trifid was really hard because of the nearby Moon. The nebulosity was difficult to find. M22 was OK but M28 was impossible to see. Bloody Moon!
Total: 97.
The sky at zenith was only 20.67 and brighter and brighter every minute. I wanted three more Messiers at 5:15 a.m.! The Naglers started to dew so I had to switch them fast. The Naglers and Pans are not parfocal!
M6 was very low but there. Also M15 was an easy object - 99!
Need only one!
I decided to find M7 in low and dirty sky. I have swept the area for 10 minutes. Finally... is there! WOW 100!!! ONE HUNDRED! Great!

The Messier Marathon was in finish line. At 5:30 I finished my longest observing session.

Now I'm very satisfied. If the weather stays good I'd like to repeat it during New Moon. There are still 11 DSO's!

Vic
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Date: 8th Mar 2010, 7 p.m. CET – 9th Mar 2010, 5:30 a.m. CET
Loc.: Hodkovice, Airport, Czech Republic, 50°39'11.091"N, 15°4'30.414"E
Observer: Vic (alone in the dark)
DSOs: 99 (+1)
Bino: Vixen BT125-A, 2× Panoptic 24, 2× Nagler 16T5


#2 EdZ

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 10:00 AM

WOW, that's impressive.

edz

#3 Patricko

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 10:51 AM

Hi Vic, awesome report! I've been slowly going through the Messier list myself with 10x Simmons. I managed to bag M97 last night so that makes 31 Messiers with the 10x Simmons. M105, 96, and M95 are my next targets.

#4 Mr. Bill

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 11:17 AM

From memory...impressive.

:bow:

#5 Jeronimo Cruz

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 12:28 PM

Great job!

#6 KennyJ

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 01:44 PM

Very impressive !

This morning I completed my first ever " Dimbleby Sprint " , which is an alternative celestial observing challenge to the Messier Marathon , designed for folks who prefer to lie in a warm bed all night instead , then look at the moon through binoculars just before sunrise !

Kenny

#7 daniel_h

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 04:24 PM

terrific work..-6 is cold..due you have dew heaters? what about a finder on the vixens

#8 Mateyhv

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 06:11 PM

By icy memmory?? You must be very familiar with all Messier objects.

In several attempts I never saw M68, it didn't show or either it has never been there ;)

Congratulation Vickx! :bow:

Matey

#9 RichD

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 08:21 PM

Great report, right now, i couldn't imagine doing the virgo clutter from memory. I saw many or most of the M galaxies in virgo last weekend, but i'm not familiar with their positions from memory (no charts with me).

M74 is tricky - did you give up on it?

#10 Vickx

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 03:00 AM

Thank you all!

Daniel, surprisingly it was not dewing during the night. I don't like wires, so I don't have dew heaters. But the Vixen has short dew shields and the wind blew a bit. Only the eyepieces in the end had to be changed.
But I had heated insoles :] Unfortunately the batteries went flat on my left foot soon, so I had to change the adapter from right shoe to the left and back very often. The cold was the biggest problem. I wanted to see also some comets but gave it up.

I use a cheapest plastic reddot finder from my unused MAK 90 for my Vixen binos. It works pretty well for me. Better then more expensive metal ones.


M68 is not so difficult, Matey. Definitely it's there! :] Just go from Algorab to Kraz in Corvus and continue to Hydra. It sits next to bright star. The cluster is pretty bright as well.
More difficult can be M83, but at your location 43°N it must be an easy target.

I spent maybe five minutes searching for M14. I don't like M14! There is not a bright star around to point the reddot at. I'm used to see the constellation of Ophiuchus in different position (in the evening, not rising in the morning). I usually take starhopping trip from M12-M10 there but yesterday it led me to empty space :]

M74 is really tricky now, Rich. I saw it a three days before from better location. Bigger aperture is the key! As it was falling into dirty region in the sky I had to give it up. I did not regret. I knew I could not go throught the complete list. At least M30 was bellow the horizon at sun rise.

Have a nice sky! :]
Vic

#11 captain11

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 04:35 AM

If your weather stays acceptable you will easily complete the whole gamut during new moon. Good luck!

#12 Man in a Tub

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 10:13 AM

I spent maybe five minutes searching for M14. I don't like M14! There is not a bright star around to point the reddot at. I'm used to see the constellation of Ophiuchus in different position (in the evening, not rising in the morning). I usually take starhopping trip from M12-M10 there but yesterday it led me to empty space :]


I also have these orientation difficulties at times. I don't like M14 much either. However, I star hop from Beta Oph and IC 4665. It's a southwest/southeast arc along which there are two distinct pairs of 4th, 5th and 6th magnitude stars. Yeah, it's a "big" hop, but it works whenever I'm in the mood for spotting M14.

Thanks for the inspiring report. And, BTW, welcome to Cloudy Nights.

#13 R. Christian

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 02:05 PM

Hey I just impressed that he got a chance to use the SQM. Ours have not been working very well in Oklahoma due to too many clouds. Hope all are still able to put some data in for GLOBE at Night. Connie Walker would be most appreciative.

R. Christian Bruggeman
Oklahoma City Astronomy Club
Night Sky Network Coordinator

#14 rookie

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 06:00 PM

Very nice observing report Vickx!! Great accomplishment. :bow: :bow: :bow:

Thanks for posting. I have the Messier Marathon Field guide. I need to put it into practice. Your long observing night gives me encouragement.

#15 daniel_h

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 08:58 PM

i went out last night & bagged about 52 M objects..had terrible dew problems in the morning with the fuji's & 25x100 orion..had to finish with 10x50 GO SS..i got a bit lost in virgo..will post the no's later
It was an improvement on last year, oh i slept in too for the morning shift

I did get to see the crescent moon rise this morning....awesome sight

#16 seryddwr

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 09:43 PM

Hey Gang!

I did it! 109 out of 110! With NGC 5866 being M102 (It's disputed, I know, but I looked for good measure.) The only one I couldn't see was M30, it being way too far into the morning twilight. This was with 20X80s under VERY dark skies. M74 was in the evening twilight and was very hard, It required peripheral vision and wiggling the binos to see it. I observed from 32.5* north, so I looked at Omega Centauri and Centaurus A, for good measure.

#17 Photoner

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 10:30 PM

Excellllent!!! Observation report and sky knowledge. :bigshock:

#18 seryddwr

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 10:45 PM

Thanks! I used the Sky and Telescope Messier Card to show the general area, then I used Sky Atlas 2000.0, to help me narrow down the field. I also used my 7X50s to help me find the right fields. I wrote down a blurb for each object in a copy of Messier_Marathon_Logbook_v3.

It was mostly determination, rather than skill, IMHO. One more detail, I had the 20X80s mounted on a parallelogram binocular mount, they're way to heavy to hand hold.

#19 daniel_h

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 03:21 AM

well done Greg -what brand of binos did you use
i'm still learning -here are my gains

1st stint: M45,M79,M42/43,M41,M35 - MISSED M79 & M74 - TALL TREES
M38,M36,M37,M1 (I pick this object easily in 16x70 at dark skies) M78,M50,M47,M46 (Faint-but stars separated) M93, M48 (Lovely cluster across 1/5 fovea), M44 & M67. No misses for this group.
2nd Stint: M96,M95, M105 (Checked this in 25x100) M65 & M66. Leo triplet framed nicely in 16x70. M85, M60, M59, M58, M89, M87, M84, M49, Got a little lost in Virgo SC. Probably could have ticked off a few more but disoriented a few times. M3

Now 1:00am - went for sleep. Slept thru alarm, awoke 4:30 in panic. Dew everywhere.
3rd Stint. M13, M92, M12, M10, M14, M4, M6, M7, M8, M20, M21, M23, M24, M18, M25, M17, M16, M22, M11, M26. A lot of this stint was with 10x50 SS, due to dew problems. Total = 52. Good improvement on last year's 36.

#20 seryddwr

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 03:24 PM

The 20X80s are Apogee binos, they're kind of cheaply made. The 7X50s are Orion Vistas and are excellent binoculars.

I plan on typing-up my log and putting it on my web page, provided I can read it. I was pretty tired by the end. :sleepy: I will then post a link.


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