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Astronomy magazine podcast: Messier marathon

Contributing Editors Glenn Chaple and Phil Harrington preview their annual battle to spy the most Messier objects in a single night.
Charles Messier
Charles Messier was a French astronomer and comet hunter who discovered 13 comets independently and codiscovered a half-dozen others. While hunting for comets, Messier compiled a list of fuzzy objects that were not comets in order to avoid them. These catalog entries were later identified as star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies. These objects became the Messier Catalog. Published in various versions beginning in 1771, the catalog grew to 103 objects by 1781. Charles Messier lived from June 26, 1730 to April 12, 1817.
SEDS
March 13, 2007
This weekend marks the best time of the year to attempt the Messier marathon — an observing event where observers try to spy all 109 Messier objects in one night. In this week's show, Contributing Editors Glenn Chaple and Phil Harrington give advice on pacing yourself during the marathon, list tips for first-time "runners," and discuss their annual competition to best each other.

After you listen, e-mail us here and let us know what you think.

To subscribe to our podcast, click here.
Downloadable File(s)
Messier marathon
Messier NumberNGC NumberConstellationTypeMagnitude
M771068CetusGal8.9
M74628PiscesGal8.5
M33598TriangulumGal5.7
M31224AndromedaGal3.4
M32221AndromedaGal8.2
M110205AndromedaGal8.0
M527654CassiopeiaOC6.9
M103581CassiopeiaOC7.4
M76650PerseusPN10.1
M341039PerseusOC5.2
M45-TaurusOC1.5
M791904LepusGC7.7
M421976OrionN3.7
M431982OrionN6.8
M782068OrionN8.0
M11952TaurusSNR8.0
M352168GeminiOC5.1
M372099AurigaOC5.6
M361960AurigaOC6.0
M381922AurigaOC6.4
M412287 Canis MajorOC 4.5
M932447PuppisOC 6.2
M472422 PuppisOC 5.7
M462437PuppisOC6.1
M502323 MonocerosOC5.9
M482548HydraOC5.8
M442632 CancerOC3.1
M672682CancerOC6.0
M953351LeoGal9.7
M963368LeoGal9.2
M1053379LeoGal9.3
M653623LeoGal8.8
M663627LeoGal9.0
M813031Ursa MajorGal6.9
M823034Ursa MajorGal8.4
M973587Ursa MajorPN9.9
M108 3556Ursa MajorGal10.0
M1093992Ursa MajorGal9.8
M40Win4Ursa MajorDS9.0/9.6
M106 4258 Canes VenaticiGal8.3
M944736Canes VenaticiGal8.2
M635055Canes VenaticiGal8.6
M515194Canes VenaticiGal8.4
M1015457Ursa MajorGal7.9
M102 5866 DracoGal10.0
M535024 Coma BerenicesGC7.7
M644826 Coma BerenicesGal8.5
M3 5272Canes VenaticiGC5.9
M984192Coma BerenicesGal10.1
M994254Coma BerenicesGal9.9
M1004321Coma BerenicesGal9.3
M854382 Coma BerenicesGal9.1
M844374VirgoGal9.1
M864406VirgoGal8.9
M874486 VirgoGal8.6
M894552 VirgoGal9.7
M904569VirgoGal9.5
M884501Coma BerenicesGal9.6
M914548Coma BerenicesGal10.1
M584579VirgoGal9.6
M594621VirgoGal9.6
M604649VirgoGal8.8
M494472 VirgoGal8.4
M614303VirgoGal9.6
M104 4594 VirgoGal8.0
M684590 HydraGC7.6
M835236HydraGal7.5
M5 5904 SerpensGC5.7
M136205HerculesGC5.3
M926341HerculesGC6.5
M576720LyraPN8.8
M566779LyraGC8.4
M296913CygnusOC6.6
M397092CygnusOC4.6
M276853VulpeculaPN7.3
M716838 SagittaGC8.0
M107 6171 OphiuchusGC7.8
M126218OphiuchusGC6.8
M106254OphiuchusGC6.6
M146402OphiuchusGC7.6
M9 6333OphiuchusGC7.8
M4 6121ScorpiusGC5.4
M806093ScorpiusGC7.3
M196273 OphiuchusGC6.8
M626266OphiuchusGC6.7
M6 6405ScorpiusOC4.2
M7 6475ScorpiusOC2.8
M116705ScutumOC5.3
M266694ScutumOC8.0
M166611SerpensN6.0
M176618SagittariusN6.0
M186613SagittariusOC6.9
M246603SagittariusSC2.5
M25IC 4725SagittariusOC4.6
M236494SagittariusOC5.5
M216531SagittariusOC5.9
M206514SagittariusN6.3
M8 6523SagittariusN3.0
M286626SagittariusGC6.9
M226656SagittariusGC5.2
M696637SagittariusGC7.4
M706681SagittariusGC7.8
M546715SagittariusGC7.2
M556809SagittariusGC6.3
M756864SagittariusGC8.6
M157078PegasusGC6.0
M2 7089AquariusGC6.3
M726981AquariusGC9.2
M736994AquariusOC8.9
M307099CapricornusGC6.9

Key
DS = Double star SC = Star cloud
GC = Globular cluster OC = Open cluster
Gal = Galaxy PN = Planetary nebula
N = Nebula SNR = Supernova remnant
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