Paul Money’s Messier Marathon a hit, but no view of asteroid 2012 DA14

Friday 15th February, the day of the Russian meteor and the close pass of asteroid 2012 DA14, saw Paul Money FRAS FBIS visit the society at Ayton Village Hall to give us a talk on the Messier Marathon.  Paul was the first in the UK to complete the marathon in 1993 at the COAA (Centro de Observação Astronómica no Algarve) in Portugal.

The talk introduced those present to French astronomer Charles Messier and the reason for him compiling a catalogue of astronomical objects, locations of the objects and images of each (many taken by Paul personally).  Paul also explained the reason that the marathon consists of 109 objects even though the Messier catalogue contains 110 objects – M102 being the culprit (a duplicate of M101).

Paul Money FRAS FBIS answering questions following his fascinating Messier Marathon talk for SARAS on 15/2/13

Plans were in place to break the talk into two halves to observe asteroid 2012 DA14 as it passed close to the Coma Berenices galaxy cluster. Unfortunately the clouds were against us and no viewing was possible, even later in the evening as the asteroid crossed the handle of the Plough in Ursa Major.

After the talk, we were able to purchase copies of Paul’s publications ‘Nightscenes 2013’ and ‘Nightscenes: Guide to simple astrophotography’.  For anyone who is interested in purchasing these, please check out the Astrospace online shop.

Society members will be attempting the marathon themselves on Saturday 9th March at Ravenscar.  As has been the case in previous years, the weather has sometimes been unsuitable so a backup date of Saturday 16th March has been scheduled.


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