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AAAA News and Activities

Messier Marathon 2005

  • Click HERE to read about the Messier Marathon
  • Click HERE to View the Messier Marathon List
  • Click HERE to review Doug Kniffen's alternate list
  • Click HERE to download the Messier Marathon PDF file

Messier Marathon Object List
Messier Marathon Alternate List

Mars Hoax
Star Parties
Member Activities
Observing Awards
Messier Marathon
Leonid Meteor Shower

gl1.jpg (14340 bytes)a4primer.jpg (42104 bytes)
A Packet 
of Observing Programs
from the Astronomical League

A Primer  
for the Beginning Astronomer
Five Lessons to Help You learn the Sky

AL Observing Programs

PDF File Name
Get Adobe Acrobat 3.02

Messier Club - 70 object and 110 object levels for the telescope. Astronomer's Messier Journal
Binocular Messier Club - 50 of the best Messier objects for binoculars. al-binom.pdf  
(796 KB)
Deep Sky Binocular Club - 60 additional deep sky objects for binoculars. al-binod.pdf  
(487 KB)
Southern Skies Binocular Club - 50 of the finest objects in the Southern Hemisphere. al-binos.pdf 
(511 KB)
Herschel Club - 400 deep sky objects for the telescope. Astronomer's Herschel 400 Journal
Herschel II Club - 400 more challenge deep-sky objects for the telescope. Buy Manual from AL Sales
Double Star Club - 100 of the finest double & multiple stars in the heavens. al-dstar.pdf  
(581 KB)
Lunar Club - 100 features on the moon for naked eye, binoculars, and telescope. al-lunar.pdf  
(500 KB)
Meteor Club - observe a series of meteor showers, and record your observations for ALPO. Buy Manual from AL Sales
Sunspotters Club - observe and study sunspots and their cycles. Buy Manual from AL Sales
Arp Peculiar Galaxy Club - CCD image or observe 100 Arp galaxies. al-arp.pdf  
(767 KB)
Urban Club - observe 100 objects in heavily light-polluted areas. al-urban.pdf  
(726 KB)
Asteroid Club - learn to identify and observe asteroids and minor planets. al-asteroid.pdf
(257 KB)
Universe Sampler - a journey through the universe for the beginner. Buy Manual from AL Sales
Planetary Club - 27 selected projects to introduce the pleasures of planetary observing. alplanet.pdf  
(338 KB)
AAAA Observing Log - Record essential information during your observing session. 10 objects per page. a4-obsfm.pdf
AAAA Observation Log and Sketch Template - Make drawings at the eyepiece. 1 object per page. a4-sketch.PDF

The Astronomer's Journal. 
Newly Revised and Updated by AAAA

Astronomer's Messier

Organize your Messier Observations!

Astronomer's Herschel 400 Journal

The Herschel 400 Club Just Got Easier!

Messier Marathon 2005
Maps and Recording Sheets

Based on the
Messier Marathon Observer’s Guide
by Don Machholz

AL Messier LogoThe Messier Marathon presents an opportunity to view the entire Messier List in one night. Each Spring, the period around the Vernal Equinox on March 21 allows observers to view all 110 of the Messier objects in one observing session. In 2005, the new moon weekend falls on March 11, allowing for a full night of observing. During other weekends in March and April, the appearance of the moon during part of the night will hinder observers from viewing the whole list.

To make your Messier Marathon project more fun and rewarding, the AAAA has provided our Messier Marathon Packet in Adobe Acrobat 3.0 PDF format. Our packet contains a check list and observing sheet for you to use to keep track of your observations. This is intended to be a fun project, so observing and recording on the checklist is done on the honor system. Finding objects and sharing observations with other observers is OK.

Get Adobe Acrobat 3.02The PDF files offered on this page were created using Adobe Acrobat Exchange Version 3.0. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader Version 3.0 or higher to read these files in your web browser. Adobe Acrobat Reader is a plug-in that works with both Netscape and Microsoft Internet Explorer browser software. If you have an older version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, or need to download this FREE software, click HERE now.

You may use any size telescope or binoculars for the Marathon, since the object is to SEE the object, rather than to OBSERVE and LOG it. For this reason, it is OK to use setting circles and other electronic devices, even though such observations would not qualify you for the Astronomical League’s Messier Certificate.

Start with M77 right after sunset, and continue on to M30 just before dawn. Use your own star charts and maps to help you find the individual objects if you do not already know where they are. You will find there will be periods of inactivity while you wait for the next object to come up, and periods of frantic activity trying to find that one last object before it sets. While the objective is to see all 110 objects, a very difficult project, whatever total number of objects you observe will be a successful night. And if you do not see all of the objects in one night, you can always try again next year!

You do not have to conduct you own Messier Marathon on the dates indicated. These are just the ideal weekend dates for 2005. You can observe anytime during March or April that you have an opportunity to be out. The objects will be up!

This is a great club project for any astronomy club. Get your friends together and go out and observe!

A Photographic Messier Marathon

Several years ago, Dan Knauss and Tim Hunter of Tucson, AZ, did a Photographic Messier Marathon which is described at http://3towers.com/Marathon.htm. You can review their results and get a head start on your Messier Marathon Observing on the link to their web site.

Saguaro Astronomy Club
All Arizona Messier Marathon

 I've posted a zip file containing the form used by the Saguaro Astronomy Club for the All Arizona Messier Marathon. It is in both Word An RTF formats. The filename is MessierM.zip and is on the files section of this list.

On word of advice. I checked Joe's files and they look great. The finder charts are nice. The only thing I would say is if your club is giving awards and the scores need to be counted, you should have the sheet on one piece of paper, as ours is. Experience has proven that this will make the judges life a lot easier. That said, happy marathoning.

Clear Skies,

Rick Tejera
Saguaro Astronomy Club
Phoenix Arizona

Click HERE to download the Messier Marathon PDF file

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