aspects may be the most important for the success of a Messier marathon:
weather conditions during the night
spot you choose for marathoning
personal experience and
, if any
can not be great enough for the marathon. Since in most parts of German
there are only about 10 nights a year ideal for observation, it is not
very likely that you will be able to run your Messier marathon on the
nights you´ve planned for it. .
is a suitable, dark spot for observation.You should avoid places
of nearby lightpollution caused by roads or villages, so that the objects
won't be hidden in the skyglow. Also, the observation spot has to offer
you a perfect panoramic view down to the horizon.
The technical equipment is not quite as important. Usually, a
suitable pair of binoculars will be fine. Of course, you can also take
any kind of telescope along.
shouldn´t come off badly; participating in a marathon without some
preparation can be a frustrating experience. It´s rather a good idea to
prepare in adavance by, for example, consulting a turnable starmap or
constructing or consulting an observation plan.
Observation is more
fun and motivating in a friendly team than by yourself. An
invitation for a Messier marathon is a great idea!
For technical equipmentI suggest the
- a powerful binoculars (at
least 10x50),which enable you to see many objects even without
a telescope Also, even if you do own a telescope it helps to spot
the objects with the binoculars
- every kind of telescope. In
general, you will find that the larger your telescope and the
magnification is, the better you will see the objects but it also
will be harder to spot them than if you use a smaller telescope. When
running a classical Messier marathon you may not really cheat by
using equipment that will help you to spot the objects automatically
- if you run a "real" marathon you are not allowed to ride
a bike either...
- a map of the stars where
you can find all Messier objects that can be seen: a good example is
Erich Karkoschka: Atlas für Himmelsbeobachter, Franckh-Kosmos
Verlag, but it´s in German language!
- a rotable atlas of the
stars can be usefull as well in order to plan the course of the
constellations during the night of the marathon.
- a list for observation,
assembled in the sequence of the appearance of the objects. This
list can also be used as your record of observation.
equipment is just as important:
- A pot of hot coffee or
tea for staying awake , a midnight snack and so on
- warm, clothes in many
layers, hat, scarf and mittons because starry nights almost always
are getting cold! .
- A chair, a blanket, a
redlight flashlight with extra batteries and a moblie telephone in
case that you need to call for help, particulary when you travel
with a small group of people in a loensome area.