Every year, our group of Filipino astronomers heads right up to the raven recedes of Caliraya for our annual Messier Marathon. This time around, the marathon is a public event where astronomy students from different schools are invited to join.
For those who have a little or no knowledge about the things we do, Messier Marathon is essentially a forging of people in the field of astronomy and astrophysics to scout the sky with Messier objects in just one night, list them down in a la catalogue style, and those who have the most number of found will win.
Messier objects are a catalogue of deep-sky objects such as nebulae, galaxies, star clusters, supernovae and others visible especially in the "pitchblackness" of the night using the lens aids of any telescope kind(refractor, reflector or catadioptric). The keyword is pitchblack, so to avoid any light obtrusion we had it at Caliraya. Always Caliraya.
We had it every May or April because it is the time of the year where rainy season doesn't spoil our observational objective. This year, we had it last April 2, 2011.
The group was divided into two: the marathoners and the imagers.
The marathoners are those participants who hunt the sky with messier objects using scientifically and systematic methods incorporating starmaps and other requisite equipments.The imagers are those who'd like to embrace the beauty of the cosmos by capturing images of Messier objects.
One doesn't have to be an astronomy ace or a seasoned astrophysicist to do a marathon. All you need is a good telescope and an efficient hunting system. Much like hunting a myriad of preys in a safari jungle, this time you do it in the cosmic landscape.
I wasn't able to attend this year's Messier Marathon though because of my EIC-ship of our newsportal, that I ended up having too many articles in my desk to examine and arrive at an editorial decision to see if these stories sell for the next issue. Next year, I will probably be there.
Special thanks to James Kevin Ty for the photos.