Messier marathons - optimized search sequence & local circumstances

Prospects of success for a marathon in March at about 50 northern latitude: M74 and M77 (evening) difficult, M54,M69,M70,M72,M73,M75 (morning) are hardly to observe. M55 and M30 won't be visible. Anyway 102 out of 110 Messier objects are well within reach (this is my personal record from 2002).

Prospects of success for a marathon in early April: M74 and M77 have set. On the other hand M54,M69,M70,M72,M73,M75 can be seen easier in the morning sky. M55 is hardly to observe and M30 won't still be visible. Anyhow 106 out of 110 Messier objects might be observable.

Prospects of success for an autumn marathon mid of October: the objects in Scorpio at dusk and the galaxies in Virgo at dawn are difficult. Nevertheless more than 90 objects might be seen.

The search sequence for your personal Messier marathon will be calculated interactively and may be downloaded as a pdf-file.

The search sequence list include apart from the "optimal" sequence of observation times of twilights and short planet report using algorithms by Jan Meeus ("Astronomical Algorithms,1991")

Date (day,month,year,time zone)
coordinates (longitude E<0, latitude)

I like to encourage you sending feed back of your experiences with the search sequence list.

Good luck and clear skies while marathoning!


All materials by Klaus Schulze-Frerichs, 2001-11
Klaus Schulze-Frerichs:
last revised Feb, 2011