Credit & Copyright: P. GittoExplanation: Gripped by an astronomical spring fever, it's once again time for many amateur stargazers to embark on a Messier Marathon! The Vernal Equinox occurs March 20, marking the first day of Spring for the Northern Hemisphere. It also marks a favorable celestial situation for potentially viewing all the objects in 18th century French astronomer Charles Messier's catalog in one glorious dusk to dawn observing run. This year a bright full moon will interfere with dark skies near the actual equinox, so good nights near new moon for weekend marathoners are March 11/12 and April 1/2. (As an added bonus all the planets in the solar system can be viewed on these dates.) Astronomer Paul Gitto has created this masterful Messier Marathon grid with 11 rows and 10 columns of Messier catalog objects. In numerical order, the grid begins with M1, the Crab Nebula, at upper left and ends with M110, a small elliptical galaxy in Andromeda (lower right). Gitto's images were made with a digital camera and a 10-inch diameter reflecting telescope.
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Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: Messier catalog
Publications with words: Messier catalog