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Run the marathon

Use this list to move efficiently among Messier's 109 showpieces.
M42
In the March issue, "Take a deep-sky treasure hunt" discusses an annual pursuit for most astronomy clubs — the Messier marathon. This event involves observing all 109 deep-sky objects in Charles Messier's catalog on a single night.

If a marathon is in your future, read the story, then use the list below (and a good star chart) to try this fun event, preferably in the company of some good astronomical friends. The list order is best for a mid-northern-latitude site. People in more southerly locations will have an easier time viewing some objects.

Start as soon as twilight fades enough for you to identify more than just the bright stars. Locate spiral galaxies M77 and M74 before you move on because they'll set soon after it gets dark. In the morning, M30 will be your challenge object. Good luck!
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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