A Messier Marathon 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 Messier Marathon was held on March 13, 1999 (Apr Gemini, pg 4), and has been held annually at the Cherry Grove Observatory. The marathon is scheduled for the new moon weekend nearest the spring equinox with 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.  

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 on the MAS home page or HERE.

Check the Cherry Grove Event Schedule for the date of the next MAS Messier Marathon.


Upcoming CGO 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. 

For those who want to prepare, you can download the suggested observing order and log. (Excel download), or in PDF format.

Here is a set of basic maps using a Telrad finder

and Greg Haubrich’s Virgo Cluster Asterism Chart.


Other resources:

SED’s “The Messier Marathon” web page

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