Beginning amateur astronomers soon encounter the term “Messier objects.” They learn that this is a list of objects outside our Solar System that are visible through small telescopes. This list was originally compiled by Charles Messier, in the 18th century, from his observations and those of contributors. Messier’s goal was to help comet hunters avoid “discovering” these known objects.
Northern latitude amateurs noticed that, around the dates of Vernal Equinox (Spring) in late March, the Sun it located such that all 110 Messier objects are on “either side” or “north” of the Sun and available for observation throughout the night — if an observer worked fast enough. Hence, the phrase “Messier Marathon” was invented to describe the all-night viewing attempt.
On our blog this week we explore the Messier Marathon, and post the best dates to try to see all of Messier’s objects this year!
How and when will you view the Messier objects?
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