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Messier Marathon, Amateurs Pull an All-Nighter Science

LITTLE ROCK, Ar.-- Charles Messier, an 18th century French astronomer, whose main interest was in discovering comets has become the inspiration for a “Messier Marathon.”
LITTLE ROCK, Ar.-- Charles Messier, an 18th century French astronomer, whose main interest was in discovering comets has become the inspiration for a “Messier Marathon.”

The astronomer often saw objects that at first to him looked like comets, but were in fact other occupants of the sky.

To keep from being confused in his quest for comets Messier made a list of those unfamiliar objects that he and his colleagues had discovered. In all, 110 objects comprise the list.

The Hobbs State Park is conducting a Messier marathon in an attempt to find as many of the Messier objects as possible during one night.

The Sugar Creek Astronomical Society of Bella Vista will lead the all-night marathon at Hobbs State Park beginning just before sunset on March 29th and ending at sun up on March 30th.

The evening, organized by amateur astronomers, will begin with a short program in the visitor center on the Messier objects, where they are found in the sky, and in what order the Sugar Creek group will attempt to view them.

The Hobbs State Park Conservation Area's visitor center will remain open all night so the public will have access to water fountains and restrooms.

Participants are asked to bring:

Flashlight (covered with a red cloth or red balloon)
Binoculars and/or telescope
Appropriate clothing for the evening and blankets
Folding chair – one per person
Folding chaise lounge – for a quick nap for adults or night’s sleep for smaller ones
A Star chart
Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages

This exploration event is free to the public. For more information call: 479-789-5000

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