My Millenium Effort to Log All Messier's !!

FROM:  History of the Discovery of the Deep Sky Objects (SEDS)
   "As a major milestone in deepsky discovery, the Messier Catalog was published in its final version of 103
objects in 1781 in the Connaissance des Temps for 1784. Together with its more recent additions which
brought it to 110 entries, which at least all but one (M102) belong to real objects (though four of them were
missed for over a century), it contains the majority of all clusters, nebulae, and galaxies known up to April,
1782 (when M107 was the last Messier object to be discovered, by Pierre Mechain)."
   I am using a Celestron CG-14 f/11, a7x50mm finderscope and a Telrad,  with a 55mm (Gary Russell)
Plossl, 71 power, ~35', exclusively There have been four fruitful sessions so far, I  have located and
logged a total of 67 objects as of Sat. May 6, 2K, the last one being  M102. There is some contention
about this object being bright enough to been seen by Messier and his assistants.  It is quite dim.
                                                                                                                                                         (More, later)
   I started on the Longmont's Messier Marathon Weekend  on March 3/4, 2K at the Pawnee Prairie
Grasslands- Cactus Flats site, east of Ault and west of Briggsdale. That first night I logged 31
objects in a dedicated search from 7:47pm to 1:30am.

Constellations    Messier's/Time/Descriptions

Cetus               M77-8:19pm  gal. 3/4* from 'd', bright nuc., dim arms
Andromeda     M33- 8:33pm  Edge on spiral gal., low surface luminosity, nucleus not distinct
                         M31- 7:47pm  Spherical Gal, hard to see tonight
                         M32- 7:48pm Premiere spiral gal. doesn't extend to M31 tonight
                         M110-7:49 Striking ellipitcal gal.
Casseiopeia   M52 -maybe, must do again!!          Visited the other stargazers and generally check things out.
                         M103-10:17pm O.Cl. ~30 stars in a tight group, surrounded by dimmer stars and an other smaller group
Perseus          M76-10:26pm Oblong/dumbell shaped nebula
                         M34-10:40pm 30 brighter stars in a 1/2* field
Taurus             M45- 10:09pm  The Pleiades, 6 brighter stars surrounded by nebulosity.
                         M1- 11:23pm  Irregular diffuse cloud, 12' diam. mottled
Puppis             M93- 11:57pm Few stars ~18, bright ~20' diam
                         M47- 11:45pm O.Cl. w/ planetary neb. (a lost M)
                         M46- 11:46pm  O.Cl. close twin to M47
Lepus              M79- 10:30 Do again to low in the murk
Orion               M42- 10:10 The most beautiful nebula in the heavens, fills+ 1/2 field, Trapezium (4 stars) Visited with Randy Cunningham & warmed up in van.
                         M78- 11:09 'Twin' stars in 20' diffuse nebulae
                         M43-11:15 Dark nebulae, near Trapezium cluster.
Gemini             M35-11:27 Beautiful bright O. Cl. group ~50 stars, similiar mags.
Auriga              M37- 11:31pm  1/3 O.C. Nicely fills eyepiece
                         M36- 11:32pm  2/3 O.C. Center of Auriga
                         M38- 11:33pm  2/3 O.C. yellow stars surrounded by blue stars
Monoceros     M50- 12:08am
Hydra               M48- 12:16am
Leo                  M95- 1:00am, galaxy, companion to M96, same field of view.
                         M96- 1:00am galaxy, companion to M95
                         M105- 1:00am  galaxy
                         M65- 1:05am
                         M66- 1:05am  galaxy                                                                                                N3628

 The night was clear and cold 40*-30*F. Calm to breezy.
April 27/28, 2K
   My Second search night was an orientation night at Carter Lake Knolls, the night didn't start out as a
Messier search, but with my new Telrad and fairly clear skies, I hit 32 objects that night, 10 of which
were 'M's. Before sunset there was a Red Bi-Plane doing somersaults and barrel-rools above the Lake
for about an hour and a half.  Early in the night, I showed some of the more interesting objects to the
campers next to me and around 10pm started to get serious about logging 'M' objects.
 Despite the the forest fire, north 18 miles, at Rist Canyon. The seeing cleared up quite well, especially
in the early hours of the morning.

Messier's                                                                                                                                         Others

Auriga                 M 38-no timestamp, glorious Open Cluster
                            M36-no timestamp, glorious Open Cluster'  (Prev.)
Orion                  M42-nebulae, 30' diam, Trapezium (Prev.)

Gemini                M35- 10:05pm glistening (Prev.)                                                      N2392-10:32pm  Soft disc below Pollax/Castor, star-like nucleus
Cancer               M44- 10:10pm, Beehive O.C. 40' Diam. stiking several dozen stars
                            M67-10:15pm 15' diam, ~50 stars of equal brightness
Leo                     M65- no timestamp, galaxy, viewed, part of "Leo Trio"

Canis Major        M41- 11:10pm  O.C. (near 48 Hydra CHECK!!!)
Hydra                   M48- 11:10pm 60 bright stars in 30" field - Hazy, calm, 48*F
                             M83- 1:11am quick find, quite extensive, sBr Nuc. 1/2* from i_Cent.
Lynx-                                                                                                                           N2683 11:35pm Hard to find, spiral, bright bar
Coma Bernices- Oh, God, not yet!
Virgo                    M53-12:435' Diam. Dim, odd shape.   45*F, calm/zephyr                N5068-1:10am  9.9+Mag, Spiral Galaxy
                                                                                                                                     N4753-2:04am Gal., Dim nuc. 9.5mag
Centarius                                                                                                                    N 5102/i Cent.  quite dim, sB Nuc.  1/2* from i Cent.
Serpens Caput  M5-1:35am  Magnificient  G.C. looks like pro. images of M33, seeming appearence of spiral structure.
Scorpio              M4- 12:40am  Classic G. C. near Antares, largish
Ursa Major         M51/N5195-2:05am  Striking, at zenith, can see matter bridge between pair, point nucleus on both.
                            M101-2:36am  Easy to find, dim star-point nuc.  45*F,        Calm wind
                            M108 -2:42am  Cigar shaped gal, mottled,stars in nuc.
                            M97- 2:43am  Owl Neb. about 45 min apart from M108.
                            M81/82-3:06am  Hard to locate, classic Sp. Gal, Irr. & Spiral.     N3077

Note:  This session ended with the last object being located at 3:06am.  I tend to give up the night, when my
eyes tear up, when looking through the eyepiece.  I found that this termination time is directly proportional to the
temperature. The warmer it is, the longer the session lasts.

May 3/4, 2K
The Third night was back out at Pawnee again and I logged 26 objects. This was a beautiful night, clear
and warm, little wind. Their were two others observers out that night, Dan Laszlo-18" Obsession and
Rick Pacini-20" Obsession.

Ursa Major         M109-12:13am Sp. gal., 10mag.,dim nuc., 1@each end and one in nuc.
                            M40-12:30am Twin stars, ~5thMag. ( May have not seen this object, look again!!)
Canes Venatici  M106- 12:33 Extensive, face-on(~80*) spiral gal, ~20'
                            M94- 12:58am Elliptical gal. ~10* suddenly brighter nuc.
Haydes              M68- 11:54pm  G.C. Dim w/ 10 brighter stars ~10 1/2mag.
Serpens            M5- 12:00am  G.C. Rivals M13, 20'diam., ~4.5mag.       Dan & Rick just left (Prev.)
Hercules           M13- 10:05pm   Beautiful #1 G. C. hundreds stars, br. nuc.
                           M92- 10:37pm  G.C tight group, between n_Herc & i_Draco, V. nice
                           M57-1:07am  Classic PL. Smoke-ring oval, ~3' diam.
                           M56- 1:11am  Small 4',G.C. dimstars & sparse
Cygnus              M29- 1:44am  1V.Br.*, ~40 slightly dimmer mag.
                           M39- 1:50am  20 Br. * ~ id. mag. ~30'diam
Vulpecula          M27- 2:04am  Dumbell Neb, no bright quide stars nearby
Sagitta               M71- 1:54am  V-shaped G.C. ~10' diam.
Ophiuchus        M107- 2:15am  G.C. Almost neb. look,  5-6 Br.*'s, 3-D appearence
                           M12- 2:40am  Sparser 'twin' of  M10, 10' diam.
                           M10- 2:30am  G.C. shows spiderweb sturcture, resolvable nuc. *'s, ~13' diam.
                           M14- 2:57am  G.C. cloud-like ~12' diam., no resolvable, no good guide stars
                           M9-  3:04am  G.C. somwhat resolvable ~9' diam.
                           M19- 3:08am  G.C. ~8' diam. nuc. suddenly brighter
                          M62- 3:17am  Even, symmetrical, mottled, G.C. no brighter *'s ~13' diam
Scorpio             M80- 11:40am  G.C. Tight G.C. ~8', head of Scorpius
                          M7-  3:25am  >60' diam.O.C., w/PL on edge, several bright nearby *'s, nearby * cloud, XLNT
                          M6- 3:28am  Stiking O.C., ~30' diam., brighter yellow *, ~50 *'s
Serpens            M11- 3:34am  > 30' diam., brighter *'s in center, twin*'s to one side, 100's, Stiking
                          M26- 3:40am  Dozen brighter stars ~15'diam, very loose conglomeration

It's now on to the Coma Berenices area, which I am slightly dreading, since it is so clustered
with M's, in such a small area.

  The Fourth session was pretty much hazed out. It was hard to get any steam up to check for M's.
It was a great day, VERY clear, and then 1 1/2 hours after sunset in came this nasty line of
clouds that obscured the western 1/2 of the sky and slowly degraded the rest of the sky over the
next hour or so.

Draco                   M102 - 11:10pm Edge-on spiral, no visible nuc.   Ken VanLew also observe the object.

I'm no longer talleying the sessions, this is the next one.

Story, Wyo. Sept.8, 2000 at the Scenic Turnaround, 4900' elev. , windy, clear, dark.  Quite a bit of turbulence.

Pisces                   M74- Spiral Galaxy, medium bright nucleus, 8' diam, 9th mag.
Sighted more objects, but had already located them for my Messier search. 4:25 am Aurora reared it's spikey
little head and I took about 7 shots from 20sec- 1 minute. Something has got to turn up.
First Star Party at Virginia Dale ,
 Sept 30/Oct1, 2K
 At 34 miles north of the 'Y'  at north Ft. Collins and 7560 ft. elevation, near (15 foot) the Wyoming
border, 500 yards west of Hwy 287. V. Dale is a excellent dark site with small light domes from
Ft. Collins-Denver and Cheyenne areas.
These were exasperated by a lower level cloud layer, But did little to obfuscate the viewing. While
the stars Eta & Theta Scorpio were not visible.  I could see the rest of the Scorpion's tail. Setup at
about 500 yards from Hwy 287 there are two Mercury street lights that are visible through trees if
you set up at the top of the ridge.  There is plenty of space lower on the slope. The atmosphere was
unsettled but transparent. The wind was slightly breezy at sunset and picked up through 5am.
 The night started out partly cloudy, Venus was visible as a gibbous disk and the crescent
moon was glorious.   I located M51 before twilight ended. After locating a few more of the brighter
objects waiting for dark, the owner showed up with her 4.5" Newtonian. Being a beginning we went
through some of the brightest objects together, M31/M33, Double Cluster in Perseus, Ring Nebula
in Lyra, double star Mizar/Alcor. M22 G.C. in Sag., The Swan, etc.
  From about midnight to 2:45 it was completely overcast. After clearing up, Orion was as bright
as I have ever seen it. I swear I could see 'The Nebula'', 90' wide.  The  contrast was excellent and
I had no problem finding M50, 78, 35, 79, 41,46,47, 97, 108 and N2768, by star hopping.  It was possible
to see M81/82 in the 7x50mm finder scope.  So with the twilight starting and the wind getting the better
of me, I packed it in .
 As a first time report of V. Dale, I would say, it can be dark, even very dark, if no clouds are present,
the contrast was GREAT, the wind does appear to be more of a problem than at Pawnee. I will bring an
extra layer of clothes and something warm to drink. It more or less the same distance as Pawnee for
those in Ft. Collins or coming from the south. There are a few VERY short sloped sections on the 500
yard dirt road to the site from the highway, but well worth the extra care. I think this will be an excellent
site weather willing and I'm really looking forward to trying some astro-photography when the wind
doesn't intervene. As always these objects were observed through a C-14 with a 55mm Russell Plossel.

M78- Orion Diffuse Nebula~5' Above belt stars 4:05 Oct. 1, 2000  (Prev.)
M79- Lepus G.C. 10' dim, below Orion 4:05am (Prev.)
M46- Puppis O.C. 25' Dim w/ oval Planetary Nebula at edge. 5:05am  (Prev.)
M47 Puppis O.C. `20', but brighter than M46 35 brighter stars. 5:10am (Prev.)
                                                                                                                                  getting there, 41 left!

Messier's Left to Locate
60 Vir
70 Sag
  90 Vir
61 Vir
2 Aqu
 4 Sco  
84 Vir
104 Vir
75 Sag
86 Vir
87 Vir
 8 Sag 18Sag
69 Sag
89 Vir
Sagitattius             16 left                 Canes Venatici      1 left
Virgo                      11 left                 Capricornius         1 left
Coma Berencies     6 left                 Pegasus                1 left
Aquarius                  3 left                 Scorpio                  1 left
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            HOME  July 09, 2003