The San Jose Astronomical Association will be hosting the 2005 Messier Marathon on March 12/13 at Henry Coe State Park. The Messier Marathon as an attempt to find 109 of the Messier objects in one night! The French comet hunter Charles Messier created the catalog to identify objects that could be mistaken for comets. Today's list represents 110 of the most famous deep sky objects in the night sky. While being a favorite goal of amateur astronomers to complete over time, late March offers an opportunity to find 109 of the Messier objects in a single night.
The 2005 Messier Marathon will be held at the overflow parking area at Henry Coe. Directions can be found at http://www.sjaa.net/directions.html. Although not required, we recommend pairing up with someone as a way of verifying observations. Observing lists will be available at the site.
Don Machholz's booklet, The Messier Marathon Observer's Guide, gives a detailed search sequence, finder charts, and star hopping information. It also points out that less complete Messier Marathons may be run at every time in the year.
Autographed copies of Don Machholz's booklet, The Messier Marathon Observer's Guide will be available at the SJAA meetings and at the site for $10.00 each.
This is a great time for those that are new to astronomy to be introduced to the deep sky. Don't expect to get them all if this is your first time, just have a good time and enjoy the ones you do find. You will get a good start on completing your own Messier list.
There is a $5.00 per vehicle per night use fee at Henry Coe State Park.
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