Site: South of Arizona City, AZ
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000
This years marathon at the site southwest of Arizona City, Arizona was impacted by an unusual cut-off low pressure weather system which started several days before, producing periods of clouds and some scattered thunderstorms. With a last minute posting on an electronic mailing list
the coordinator announced he would not be attending due to weather. Shortly thereafter Stan Gorodenski called on the phone to verify the port-a-jon was not going to be canceled. Only later did the humor of this sink in. Rain within a mile of my house convinced me the decision was correct and proper. None the less, those hearty souls that decided to take the risk; braving, clouds, cold damp weather including an early evening breeze, were rewarded with a nice marathon! Now I needed some towels to wipe egg off my face.
Jennifer Keller arrived at 4:30pm finding 3 Saguaro Astronomy Club (SAC) members present, not counting the honorary member Port A. Jon! And sunset wouldn’t happen for another couple of hours.
At about 5pm Matt Spinelli arrived and found the count had grown to 7 people. While waiting for the marathon to start in ernest, Bob Davidson attached a solar filter to his 8 inch DOB, treating many to observing some nice sun spots. Stan also put a solar filter on his 1983 Riverside award winning scope for observers to also view the sun.
By sundown there were 22 people on site waiting; 11 from SAC, 7 from East Valley Astronomy Club (EVAC), 3 from Tucson Amateur Astronomical Association (TAAA), one from Yuma and one from Phoenix Astronomical Society (PAS).
By early evening, Jack “I’m going no matter what” Jones counted 25 or so people and began to set up his newly purchased 4.5″ reflector. He found out what some assembly required means. After assembly he and others were thankful for the clearing skies.
By 8pm there were 16 telescopes set up; the marathon, socializing and observing was getting underway. The clouds were all but gone and were not causing any problems; the breeze was beginning to dissipate encouraging everyone’s spirits.
To their credit, those observers without the check off list made do with papers on hand.
The final standings are listed below. As expected no one observed M74, it was on the horizon at 8:11pm, evening twilight, and below horizon at morning twilight. Rick Tejera planned a telrad hop from Mars hoping to find this elusive one. It didn’t work; all he saw was the orangish twilight.
Many observers missed M32, M33 and M77. Bob Davidson and Mark Stephenson were the only ones who bagged M77. Bob, Paul Lind and Wayne Thomas, captured M30 around morning twilight. There were reports of wonderful views of the Whirlpool through Paul’s telescope, not to mention the myriad of other spectacular views through all telescopes.
Congratulations to Bob Davidson, Paul Lind, Kevin Bays and Matt Spinelli for finishing first, second and third. Telescope plaques will be presented to these people, as well as certificates to those with 50 or more objects, at their next meeting.
Special congratulations are due to first time marathoners Brian Page with 82, Jennifer Keller with 83 and Mark Stephenson with 104. Brian admitted to having enjoyed himself immensely. Both Jennifer and Mark admitted to practicing for the marathon in advance, well in advance.
Amongst those observing and socializing were Jerry Belcher, Joyce Crawley, Pat Davidson, Stan Gorodenski, Glenn Nishimoto, Ron Simon, Ken Sykes, Lance Wozniak and John Yount. Glenn supplied camaraderie, support, coffee, olives and cookies. He even offered eyepieces for those in need. Did you get any sleep Glenn?
Afterwards, Rick Tejera announced, “if you didn’t go, you missed a good marathon.”
Observers not placing for awards were Jon Milan and Ed Piggott who, none the less, enjoyed the outing and are looking forward to more of the same – but with better meteorological conditions.
Marathoners at other Arizona sites included Randy Peterson, Steve Dodder, Jim Deck, Andrew Cooper and in Sierra Vista, the Huachuca Astronomy Club.
Messier Marathon Coordinator
Missed or Comments
|108||Bob Davidson||8″DOB||EVAC||74 33|
|107||Paul Lind||14″f5DOB||SAC||74 77 33|
|106||Kevin Bays||8″DOB||TAAA||74 32 33 110|
|106||Matt Spinelli||8″SCT||EVAC||74 77 30 110|
|104||Mark Stephenson||6″refl||PAS||74 33 31 32 110 30|
|101||Wayne Thomas||20″f4.7DOB||SAC||74 77 88 91 49 61 104 30 75|