Similar to the Messier Marathon in the spring, the ”Mini Messier Marathon (4M)”, is an attempt to find as many Messier objects as possible during one night. The Messier catalogue was compiled by French astronomer Charles Messier during the late 18th century and consists of 110 relatively bright deep sky objects (galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters).
The first MAS Mini Messier Marathon was held in 2003, and has been held annually at the Cherry Grove Observatory. The 4M is scheduled in the fall when the majority of Messier objects are visible. Friday being the primary night, and Saturday being the backup night.
As with all Cherry Grove events, the marathon is held only if the skies are clear and will be CANCELLED IF CLOUDY. See the MAS home page for the latest information regarding the star party status. You can also call the MAS Message Service at 952-467-2426, after 4:00 pm the day of the event for the ”Go / No-Go” decision.
Additional information on the Cherry Grove Observatory, including map and directions, can be found at the Cherry Grove webpage. Information regarding weather at Cherry Grove can be found HERE.
Check the CGO Event list for the date of the next MAS Mini Messier Marathon.
Below are observing lists in Excel and PDF format. It can be tricky to set up an optimum sequence, so feel free to jump around within the list.
Greg Haubrich’s ever popular, and challenging, Virgo Cluster Asterism Chart
You can also use Larry McNish’s Messier Marathon Planner to customize an observing list for your location and date of event.
The Year-round Messier Marathon Field Guide by Harvard C. Pennington
The Observing Guide to the Messier Marathon by Don Machholz
**Locally, these may be found at Radio City in Mounds View.