French astronomer Charles Messier is best known for compiling an astronomical catalog of 110 nebulae and faint star clusters. A comet hunter by trade, Messier discovered a total of 13 comets over the course of his career. During his searches, he continually came across fixed diffuse objects that he and his assistant recorded to avoid misidentifying them as comets later on. Today, the Messier Catalog’s entries are known to contain 39 galaxies, 4 planetary nebulae, 7 other types of nebulae, and 55 star clusters. The objects’ Messier designations, from M 1 to M 110, are still used by professional and amateur astronomers today. Their relative brightness makes them easy to locate with telescopes, making them popular viewing subjects for amateur astronomers.
Messier Marathon International Star Party | March 11-12, 2022
Lowell Observatory is proud to present the 3rd annual Messier Marathon, an all-night virtual star party, during which we’ll hunt for all 110 objects in Charles Messier’s famous catalog. These are among the most prominent deep-sky objects visible in the night sky, including a variety of star clusters, nebulae, galaxies. We’ll broadcast live from the Giovale Open Deck Observatory (GODO), using our state-of-the-art 14″ PlaneWave telescope and MallinCam system. Throughout the night, we’ll hear from members of Lowell’s superstar educator staff about what we’re viewing, facts about the Messier catalog, and much more. There are sure to be plenty of laughs and fun along the way, too!
You can also download your own Messier Objects sheet to check off the objects you find with us.
How to Join
Join us all night virtually on YouTube, or come up to Mars Hill from 6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. to check off objects with us in-person (included with General Admission). Purchase General Admission tickets here.
Member’s Messier Marathon
*Note: Programming may be canceled due to inclement weather.