Messier Marathon

By: Babak A. Tafreshi


Region: Middle East

Site: Seh Qaleh - Iran

Date: April 2011

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As seen on Astronomy Picture of the Day amateur astronomers are gathered under dark starry sky of Seh Qaleh desert in eastern Iran to attend an annual observing competition known as the Messier Marathon. Observers, red night vision lights, green laser pointers, tripods and telescopes are all captured under the rising arc of the Milky Way. To recognize stars and constellations in this view click on the star-pattern icon above the image. Completing the marathon requires viewing all 110 objects (galaxies, nebulae and star clusters) in 18th century French astronomer Charles Messier's catalog in one glorious dusk-to-dawn observing run. There are often favorable weekend dates for completing the task that fall on nearly moonless nights near the March equinox. Babak Tafreshi/

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