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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

GAM-Messier Marathon with 6,500 Runners ! 10 + Hours

I was lucky enough to be a part of the largest Messier Marathon, which could be claimed as the largest event of such a kind with the participation of more than 6,500 runners (participants) for throughout a period of 10+ hours. This was the 1st virtual remote observation session that we had in GAM, The observations were based on Virtual Telescope located at the backyard observatory of Dr. Gianluca Masi, Ceccano, Italy together with the guided narration from Gianluca. In fact the Origins of the Online Messier Marathon are connected with 100HA, which was a great project that we had during IYA2009. Now this endeavor is progressing with the initiative taken by AWB with GAM 2010.

In the end we were able to observe 103 Messier objects located all over the sky and of course have fun together.

The Online Messier Marathon started on April 5, staring at 18.00 Universal Time and continuing with the Messier catalogue, classified by the famous French astronomer/ comet-hunter Charles Messier. For me, this was not only my first chance to take part in a messier Marathon, also a platform where I could meet and interact with a lot of fellow astronomy friends/ colleagues from around the globe.

One of the benefits you can have individually, was that you could take real time images, which are really great and informative while running in the marathon. As you click on the dynamic page the picture will be opened in a new tab ready to be saved. As far as I remember we started the marathon from M31 and continued through M110, M52, M103..etc : This was the unique URL of this event.

Now I will focus on interesting things happened during the tiresome but enjoyable run. However I will not post more images here but facts. Of course the images will be online soon at Gianluca's Facebook.

Once we were having a short break and afterward the break Gianluca was gifted with w nice artwork done by our Nicaraguan friend Julio Vannini. It resembled waving Gianluca smiling in a background of heavenly bodies, Gianluca was so much thrilled with it and you can also see the image here.

Then Gianluca dedicated a nebula to Julio withing a short while. (Actually I fee I am still living with the Messier Marathon as I'm writing this :) ) Can anyone guess the gift given by Gianluca?... It was Messier 64 (M64, NGC 4826) the famous Black Eye galaxy. (Julio owns a Galaxy now :D)
M64- Black Eye galaxy

We also had a 1-minute silence for the innocent people who were faced with the Earthquake in Italy back in April, 2009. This happened during IYA at the time, when 100HA was concluding and was one of the sad news everybody shared.

Mike Simmons the chair of GAM 2010 and president of AWB also joined the EPIC run amidst his busy schedules and shared the joy of starry nights with One People One Sky slogan.

 Global Astronomy Month : Online Messier Marathon

Yet one of the significant features of this long Messier Marathon was that everyone was issued with a certificate of participation, I hope this would be a wonderful souvenir for any astronomy lover. Here is mine.

In addition to this we had loads of fun, with chatbox and Gianluca's accompany...It was just fantastic, you never need to miss such a great one. It's tantalizing.... I also had screen capture recording of the event and will put them youtube soon...

And folks, await the next one, happening less than in 10 hours from now : "Is There Anybody Out There?"

Check out more info here :

In the end I thank Gianluca, Mike, and all the AWB/ GAM officials and other supporters who committed their efforts in bringing up this event to such an overwhelming success.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Here are some of the Images that I was able to save !!!!~~~~~~~

M13 - Hercules Globular Cluster

M20 - The Trifid Nebula

M84 - A galaxy of the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies

M45 - Elegant Pleiades

M99 - A spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices

M57 - Ring Nebula