Subject: [OAOG] What a night!
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2002 21:46:51 -0500
From: "J.P. Bernier" <ve3owx@idirect.com>
To: <oaog@yahoogroups.com>

Yes indeed it was - I will not elaborage on the evening as Pierre has given the perfect image of
this wonderful night!

I set up my equipment, very eager to start a long awaited hunt of the Messier objects.
The evening started with a picture-like sunset, with shortly after Venus and Mars making
their appearance as well as Comet Ikeya-Zhang which gave a show beyond my expectation!

Beautiful bright fuzzy core with a very long tail with a bluish tinge in my 8" SCT, and as the sky
got darker, the tail seemed to get longer, as it crossed the entire field of view of my wide-angle
13mm Vixen eyepiece...What a begining of an observing session!

Then following Denis Legault's list, I began to "manually" hunt the objects, and having not done "manual"
star hopping for some time, I was really pressed to remove the cobwebs from the "forgetten" images
of constellations and star patterns, so I was probably working twice as hard as the "experts" (:-).
Some of these objects I had not seen for several years demanded advice from co-observers.
At some point, the timing was almost exactly as what was prepared by Denis.
Later one, I fell behind in my timing by about half an hour, but was still managing to keep up "with the rest"!

Thanks for the patience and expertise of Denis and Pierre and some assistance from Mike's Laptop...
I was able to "nail" 90 Messiers before the fatique and sore back forced me to take longer and longer
breaks...but I didn't want to leave. Just walking around exercising my back and watching the occasional
meteor fly buy was quite relaxing, and watching Denis bag his 108th was a reward in itself. Not to be oudone,
Pierre Martin managed to observe a formidable 106 objects. Congratulations for a remarkable Marathon.

Thanks to Denis for his "confirmation" when I had doubts, to Pierre for letting me using his Telrad
and his charts and his assistance, to all those who made it such an enjoyable Marathon.

I can't wait for the next Marathon of Globular Clusters...

Clear skies to all - and grab the comet when you can, it's quite a sight!
JP