Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

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jjones7777
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Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by jjones7777 »

Greetings all,

I have received permission from the MAS board to press on with the CGO Messier Marathon on March 27/28, if the field conditions and weather allow (big ifs). That said, Kris and I will monitor the COVID-19 situation as the dates near. Whether or not the Messier Marathon is called ON, each of us must make the appropriate decision as to our own health and concerns. I believe it is important to act out of propriety, not fear.

Consequently, we will press forward as normal for the moment. Those of you who are interested in preparing a bit for the Messier Marathon, should check out the Messier Marathon page at http://www.mnastro.org/messier-marathon/. There you will find all the information you need to begin your preparation.

There will be a Messier Marathon thread on the observing forum. Please consider logging on to that forum for help, comments, and responses.

Until then, keep looking up (and don't forget to wash your hands!)!
Jerry Jones
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by Scooter »

Considering the circumstances. I was wondering if we could participate at home some how?
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setnes
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by setnes »

I'm thinking about that too. I don't think we want to promote any large congregations of people right now. Is there interest to do a "from anywhere" Messier marathon? ... maybe over the course of a couple weeks instead of a single evening (assuming we have worse sky at home)? I'd try it from my backyard. I'm curious if others would be interested in doing it this way, and if anybody has any thoughts about how it could be done.
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Ron Schmit
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by Ron Schmit »

Kris:

I've posted this before, but Virtual Telescope has done an amazing online version of the Messier Marathon. You can find an archived session here:

http://www.virtualtelescope.eu/2014/04/ ... 4-podcast/

It's really well done. It's long, but it is worth it.

One could use this as a model format. If you wanted to have one central host doing what Dr. Masi is doing, you could have members elsewhere, logged into the webcast, and commenting on their success in the chat window. Alternatively, guests could be logged in with their own video feed. A co-host could watch the feed and switch to members windows as they post their results.

Ron
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Dave Venne
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by Dave Venne »

The simplest thing would be to use an existing platform like Facebook to create an event and have people post to it every time they find a few objects. Yes, some will be disadvantaged by their light pollution situation, some by the trees in their back yard, but who really cares about that given the circumstances?

When you look back at the page you'll be able to say you helped flatten the curve. And god knows, we need all the help we can get.

Stay well, everyone.
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by setnes »

I wasn't thinking it really needed to be an online event so much as a way for the event to happen without having everybody in the same place. I was thinking about having sheets made up and a timeframe... perhaps longer than one night... to allow people to try to get as many objects as they can.

I'm all ears though. :)
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Dave Venne
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by Dave Venne »

setnes wrote: Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:45 pm I wasn't thinking it really needed to be an online event so much as a way for the event to happen without having everybody in the same place. I was thinking about having sheets made up and a timeframe... perhaps longer than one night... to allow people to try to get as many objects as they can.

I'm all ears though. :)
The thing the virus can steal from us is a sense of community. By having everyone out there observing and reporting at the same time we can grab back some of the fun of a shared experience. But given the weather around here, doing it over several nights is probably a good option to keep open.

Here's an example of where people from all over the area (actually the US and world) are sharing an experience in real time by observing and commenting on what they have seen.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/227557260721558/

Yes, it's one of those bird cam things :)
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by darkskyjim »

"The thing the virus can steal from us is a sense of community. By having everyone out there observing and reporting at the same time we can grab back some of the fun of a shared experience."

i think i will hold off on the fun until this "virus season" passes. it can take 7-14 days before
a person starts exhibiting symptoms meanwhile they can be infecting people. also, contrary
to what many seem to think, and the media portrays a lot, doctors have been alarmed with
how many individuals in their 40s and 50s have become critically ill with the virus. bad news
all around.no need to go out and start hording everything but certainly a good idea to take
precautions...
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Dave Venne
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by Dave Venne »

Allow me to make clear what I meant when I said "having everyone out there observing and reporting at the same time..." That was about observing in their back yards -- not CG -- and reporting by way of the Internet, not face to face.

And it's not just the 40+ aged people who have become critically ill. The death counts for all age groups are sobering.

At this point I'm scratching all star parties off my activity list through the end of the year, starting with the MM.
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Dick Jacobson
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by Dick Jacobson »

I won't be participating in an in-person group marathon, given all the uncertainty about the virus right now. That said, I'm taking a wait-and-see attitude for the remainder of the year. Star parties seem like a low-risk activity, particularly if you're using your own equipment as I do. There is a little risk from direct personal contact, door handles, etc. Being 72 years old and diabetic, I figure the odds are 5% that coronavirus will kill me; I hope to keep the risk as low as I reasonably can.
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by Scooter »

Well I think it's doable in the back yard at least for now until they lock us down. I think an online forum like facebook or even via email to report your findings should be exceptable.
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by TrenaJ »

Email or even our uberconferencing software can work especially for the those that don't have facebook. Not sure if uberconference works on cell phones... Where I live would not even work for the messier, so i would be disqualified if I couldn't go to another location. If we have a big enough area we could set it up as teams to go out one night and the next set another night for a couple weeks... or leave it on your own with an Honor system.
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by setnes »

I will not be going to CGO. I will not be leaving my backyard. I will be recommending against anything that results in a groups of people gathering anywhere. I've never been at a star party and NOT shared my view with others... or looked through someone else's scope.

That being said, I think there is an opportunity for... well... something. I wasn't originally thinking about an online gathering for this as I don't like looking at screens when looking through telescopes. Based on everybody's posts, however, the social side of this event is just as important as the Messier hunt... if not more.

I think we can do this two different ways.

1) Everybody does their own Messier hunt and e-mails me their results. Deciding winners for this would almost certainly not be fair. Everybody's conditions are different. But it would get everybody out observing and hopefully talking.

2) We do this as a single, large group. We would see if we could, with varying sky conditions, tree lines, and street lights, get as many Messier objects as we can as a community. We could keep a spreadsheet going with all of the objects. For each object we would keep track of which observers were able to see it and how terrible their conditions are. Observations from multiple observers would be encouraged. Naturally we would lean heavily on those with good sky conditions, but as a cooperative group we might be able to get quite a few objects. There would be no winners or losers though. Any prizes would have to be participation prizes... lanyards? Or some sort of prize drawing based on participation. :)

Also, it is VERY possible to see some of the Messier objects from light polluted areas. They certainly don't look the same, but they can be seen. I know M101 is completely invisible from my backyard, but I have been able to see the two cores of M51... which is not an object I would have expected to see from home.

The more I think about this, the more I like option 2. What does everybody else think?
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by jjones7777 »

Greetings all,

Kristopher and I are OFFICIALLY CANCELLING THE OFFICIAL GROUP MESSIER MARATHON HELD AT CGO THIS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY.

I really like Kris' #2 idea above. Should it be clear (which some are forecasting clouds and rain), it would be great fun if we, as a entire MAS group of wacky visual observers, bagged a goodly number. I think lanyards and air High-5s would be available to all who participated.

Please post your thoughts on involvement.
Jerry Jones
MAS Observing Co-Chair
Astronomical League Awards Coordinator
AL recognized Master Observer, Silver Level
15" "Eagle Eye"; 12.5" Obsession; C11 Edge in a SkyShedPod; 8" SCT; 152mm ES doublet; 105mm Mak; 94mm Brandon; 1957 Questar; 35mm Lunt Ha
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Dick Jacobson
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by Dick Jacobson »

Kris, your idea of a cooperative group effort is pure genius! Given the wide variation of conditions in our individual back yards, a competition hardly seems fair. But it would be fun to try for as many Messier objects as possible, and share our results by email. We could wait for a night when the weather is suitable or maybe spread the effort over several nights.
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20-inch homemade equatorial Newtonian with periscope
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10-inch Newtonian that folds flat
6-inch Russian Maksutov-Newtonian on Vixen equatorial mount
Too many small scopes and binoculars to mention
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by setnes »

I am looking into using an online service called Slack for the social communication. Slack is a bit more complicated than a regular chat app, but it has some benefits that should work better for a large group. Don't worry, there is a dark mode. :)

For accounting, we will use a Google Spreadsheet. I can grant edit access on separate pages or individual rows for those who have a Google account. I can export a web page version of the document that would be visible to everybody, even those without Google accounts. Google sheets work well with multiple people editing at the same time, although we might only need a couple people with edit access depending on how well we communicate. There isn't a dark mode in the app, but there are 3rd party browser extensions for enabling dark mode. :|

I'll post more details tonight or tomorrow... I hope. I'm still figuring some things out.
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by DahnGee »

Count me in for participating in an Option 2 Marathon from my yard
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by Huggy »

Imagers May be able to share progress of pictures on google hangout. As far as observing, I might have better luck looking at different types of lights and identify what kind of build or wavelength it is.
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by setnes »

For anybody interested in the "Socially Distanced, Cooperative, Messier Marathon", please join our Slack workspace using the following link.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=11522#p55311

Within that workspace will be a #messier-marathon channel. That is where our conversations will take place.

Please familiarize yourself with Slack. There is a #random channel that would be a great place for testing out some of the features.

EDIT: Replaced Slack link with a link to a member's only forum post.
Last edited by setnes on Thu Apr 02, 2020 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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setnes
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by setnes »

The weather forecast is not improving, so there is little hope for trying a cooperative and remote marathon this weekend.

Please do not lose hope though. We might get another chance to try this. You can still join the Slack workspace linked above.

Stay safe.
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setnes
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Re: Upcoming CGO Messier Marathon on 3/27-28

Post by setnes »

A new topic was started for the Socially Distanced, Cooperative, Messier Marathon.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=11522#p55311
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