Photographic Messier marathon
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marathon is a famous race commemorating the ancient Greek soldier
Pheidippides. The Messier marathon is a very hard observation project
aimed to observe all the 110 objects of the Messier catalog, in a single
night. The "race" is possible only in a small part of the year, when
nearly all objects can be observed in the night, at the end of March. A
photographic Messier marathon is a derivation of the traditional visual
one, where the objects are recorded photographically.
For me this is the first trial in this race and I'm very happy to have
reached 105/110 objects, with the exclusion of M54-55-69-70, very low
and hidden by trees, and M30, impossible because of twilight. Most of
the objects were imaged with 60 or 120 seconds exposure, all tracked
with a guiderscope. A few of them are obtained from averaging some of
them, and two fields have longer exposures: M95-96-105 (60 min) and M83
(90 min). During these images I've conceded me a break. The quality of
most images is obviously quite bad, due to the very short exposure, but
quality was not the aim of the night...
The "run" was quite difficult, needing extreme care at the start and end
of the night, so that no possible object can be lost. At the end I
needed to move the entire setup (60 kg) about 50 meters away (thanks
friends for help) to obtain a better horizon toward the eastern horizon.
In this new location I gravely fell down in the dark, but, like the runner Dorando Pietri in 1908, I lifted and ended the marathon.
||most are 60 or 120 s, a few are averages, only two are 1 hour or over (see above text)
EOS 5D with Baader filter
||Capanne di Cosola
(PC, Italian Apennines) at 1500 m height, coordinates: 44°40' N, 9° 12' E
|24-25 March 2012
on an 80mm f/5 refractor
||T= +1 to +3 °C, RH=63 to 81 %
|Sky brightness at
zenith (with SQM-L)
||A very dark sky, but unfortunately quite hazy on the horizon, with some clouds.