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The American Association of Amateur Astronomers


2001 All Arizona Messier Marathon

Download Messier Marathon PDF File from the AAAA Website

We recently received this announcement about the 2001 All Arizona Messier Marathon and wanted to pass it on to you. We will be updating our Messier Marathon page soon. Meanwhile, if you want to find out more about the Messier Marathon and what it is, you can still download our PDF file with a list of all the Messier objects and the correct order to view them in. 



Ed Flaspoehler, Vice President
American Association of Amateur Astronomers

January 17, 2001 -- To all interested, here is the official announcement for the 2001 All Arizona Messier Marathon, Sponsored by the Saguaro Astronomy Club. If you happen to be nearby, please join us. We have excellent skies and our southerly location makes for easy spotting of objects in Sagittarius and Scorpius that are difficult from places further north. It also means you can observe in relative comfort. Overnight temps in march in AZ are about 40-45 deg.(a lot warmer than some of the stories I've heard about observing in Snow!) I've posted a reminder on the calendar that will appear two and one week prior to the event. Anyway here it is:


Site: Arizona City, AZ
Date: March 24/25, 2001

Solar Data:

March 24 
6:33pm Moon set
6:43pm Sun set
8:04pm astronomical twilight

March 25 
5:02am astronomical twilight
6:21am Sun rise
7:04am Moon rise

We don't have much choice for the Marathon date this year, but Oh! What a choice! 

The only date possible is Saturday, March 24, 2001. New moon occurs on this date around 6:25pm MST! The optimal chance for finding ALL 110 entries in the Messier Catalogue is late March, about the 26th through the 29th. So we are within 2 days of the best chance for viewing the entire catalogue.

Worried about not being able to reach high counts? DON'T! Set your own goals, don't bother with trying to reach high counts or competing with everyone else. You decide on what YOU expect, what you want to do and try to reach the goal. And the heck with everybody else! For instance, try 50 objects. If you find them it qualifies you for a certificate. If that's too easy for you then "kick it up a notch or two" and try for 55, 60 or even 70 objects. Counts like these don't require you to be up the entire night; you can crash once your goal is reached. Then you will have enjoyed the true meaning of the Messier Marathon!

How do we keep track of who sees what? We don't, you do. The honor system is used so if you see the object, mark it and go on to the next. There are no referees for this exercise.

There will be a check off list available at the site to record your observations. Be sure to pick one up, preferably before you start marathoning and fill in the top portion so awards can be made. It is important to remember that you must turn in your form to one of the Coordinators before leaving the site or by sunrise at the latest. We cannot accept any after these times.

The Messier Marathon rules leave the choice of how to locate each object up to the observer. Methods include star hop, setting circles or computer control. But you MUST check off each object viewed.

Although it is possible to do the marathon with a 4" telescope we can't really suggest this unless you are an experienced observer. Don't forget to check off each object as it is observed.

Plan on arriving at the site early enough to set up the telescope and allow it to reach thermal equilibrium. Be sure to fill out the heading of the attached form!

There are 6 objects within 15 degrees of the western horizon at evening twilight. They are: 

M 74 7 deg 
And 11 deg - all three objects! 
M 77 12 deg M 33 14 deg

There are only 2 objects within 15 degrees of the eastern horizon at morning twilight. They are:

M 30 1 deg - always the toughie 
M103 9 deg

Your efforts will not go unnoticed, as there will be awards in recognition of effort. People observing 50 or more objects will receive an 8 1/2 x 11 certificate. For first, second and third place there will be plaques suitable for mounting on a telescope. Duplicate awards will be made for ties.

We will need either you or your clubs support to help purchase the awards for its members.

Still not interested in the marathon? Come anyway, enjoy a night of observing, astro-photography or just plain old socializing.

AJ Crayon, e-mail - acrayon@primenet.com 
Jack Jones, e-mail - spicastar@mindspring.com 
Messier Marathon Coordinators Saguaro Astronomy Club

The American Association of Amateur Astronomers has had an active presence in the amateur astronomy community since 1996. As the AAAA continues to grow and expand, it is having a wider and wider influence among amateur astronomers, and continues to refine the use of the internet as a tool to promote amateur astronomy to the widest possible audience. Through the medium of its own web page, an online store devoted to carefully chosen astronomy merchandise, our own quarterly newsletter, reciprocal links with other astronomy web sites, the creative use of online resources such as eGroups, Listbot and banner advertising, affiliate programs such as Amazon.com, and partnerships with well recognized astronomy organizations such as Sky Publishing, Kalmbach Publishing, Bushnell Sports Optics and the Astronomical League, the American Association of Amateur Astronomers has become an important source of astronomy information on the World Wide Web.

For More Information Contact:

American Association of Amateur Astronomers
P.O. Box 7981
Dallas, TX 75209-0981
Web Address: http://www.astromax.com
E-Mail: aaaa@astromax.com
WebMaster: aaaa@astromax.com

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