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The Messier Marathon

20 Feb 2011, 21:28 UTC
The Messier Marathon ESA NASA HST
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

This is the first post by our new editor ConnorW and the Young Astronomers team would like to welcome him on board
For many of us, March marks the beginning of a whole new season– Spring! While most of us will be out, lounging by the pool, enjoying the warm weather, amateur astronomers will be gearing up for for a marathon. But this isn’t any normal marathon. You see, I am talking about the Messier Marathon! But what is the Messier Marathon you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.
It all goes back to the 18th century. A French comet hunter, Charles Messier would often come across what we astronomers call, ‘faint fuzzies’. Being only human, Messier would confuse these objects with comets. It wasn’t until closer inspection than Messier would discover the true nature of the object. He began recording these objects and their locations in the night sky so they were not to be confused with comets at later points in time. Thus, the Messier Catalog was born! Messier wanted to be remembered for his comet discoveries, but in the end, it was his catalog that won him fame among amateur astronomers across the world. Ironic, isn’t it?

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