If you have undertaken, or participated in, a Messier Marathon, 2018 or earlier, if not already done so, please send me your or your group's results, or the link to your results page, for inclusion in our Messier Marathon Results page!
Deepsky enthusiasts can look for additional clusters, nebulae, and galaxies. While you can certainly pick and observe whatever you like, we also provide a list of additional deepsky objects to select from (also available with data).
It is always delightful to add to the Messier Marathon the observation of as many of the planets as possible, with Uranus and Neptune at least extremely difficult on the primary weekend.
Some comets brighter than about mag 14.0 will be visible; we will list them below from various sources (e.g., IAU's Observable Comets page, Skyhound's Comet Chasing page, Gary Kronk's list of current comets, Seiichi Yoshida's Visual Comet lists for the northern and southern hemisphere, and the Fachgruppe Kometen list):
Comet RA (2000.0) Dec mag March 18, 2018 C/2016 R2 (PANSTARRS) 04:14:25 +34:15.8 13.5 C/2016 N6 (PANSTARRS) 10:36:32 +79:58.1 13.8 62P/Tsuchinshan 14:27:35 +04:01.8 15.0 C/2015 O1 (PANSTARRS) 16:03:42 +45:50.4 14.6 C/2016 M1 (PANSTARRS) 19:26:32 -00:46.9 11.8 C/2017 T1 (Heinze) 21:42:26 -01:36.0 14.2 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 22:32:15 -05:57.0 15.8 Outbursts! c. 11mNote that occasionally comets become bright shortly (like Hyakutake in 1996, Hale-Bopp in 1997, Ikeya-Zhang and Utsunomiya in 2002), so check back for possible updates shortly before Marathon date. Also occasionally, a supernova of brightness available to amateur telesopes may have flashed up be spottable in time (like SN 1998S in NGC 3877, SN 2002ap in M74, SN 2006X in M100, SN 2012aw in M95, and SN 2014J in M82 in their years of appearance).
This year, of the "first" four minor planets, only faint (3) Juno (morning) and (4) Vesta (evening) will be in favorable observing situation. (2) Pallas will be close to the Sun and thus impossible, (1) Ceres in difficult position at only 35-40deg elongation in the evening sky. This year, another asteroid will have an interesting show: Asteroid (1981) Midas will come close to Earth just at this time, see e.g. http://astro.vanbuitenen.nl/neo/Midas: It will become brightest (12.4m) on March 19 and approach Earth closest March 21 (13.46 million km, 0.090 AU). For those who want to try these objects, data for the two weekends in question are as follows:
Planet RA (2000.0) Dec mag March 18, 2018 (1) Ceres 08:41:51 +31:51.3 7.7 (2) Pallas 03:53:27 -10:42.9 9.1 (3) Juno 22:42:23 -05:15.1 10.3 (4) Vesta 17:40:43 -17:28.1 7.2 (1981) Midas 09:56 +50 12.5 moving fast, coming close
Also, meteors from various showers may occur, and depending on your location, you may be able to observe the International Space Station, ISS.
Please send me any results of your Messier Marathon for inclusion in our Messier Marathon Results page!
Last Modification: March 18, 2018