Observe The Entire Messier Catalog: But Why Not Take Plenty of Time, Making Careful Notes and Maybe Even Some Pencil Sketches? Let it be a Fun and Lasting Experience.


The Astronomical League Messier awards certificate book, offers an excellent visual description of each of the entire 110 object Messier catalog, by two experienced observers.   It includes many pencil sketches as well as some excellent images. The book can be purchased from the AL for only $10.00 plus shipping. 

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced amateur, this is an excellent book for either. The author’s, Kathy Machin and Sue Wheatley did an excellent job in documenting their observations with detailed notes, plus a lot of supporting information.

I like the following quote from their introduction:

“We hope you will not rush through the objects, saying, yep, that’s one. What’s next? The Messier List is not a race.”   Kathy Machin & Sue Wheatley 

My thoughts: 

With so many astronomy clubs sponsoring Messier Marathons, it would be a great opportunity for each club to promote the Astronomical League Messier Awards certificate.

“Observing with a purpose”   

As I’ve mentioned in published articles, emails, presentations and other:

“Observing with a purpose” is seemingly the most important thing any amateur can do….to continue with that passion we all had when we first started.

To advocate careful observing of as many Messier’s as possible, making visual notes, maybe even a few sketches.   And not being concerned with the number of Messier’s observed, but beginning a lifetime of serious amateur astronomy. 

Using the night as a start for achieving their Messier Awards Certificate and pin, and finding their own “observing with a purpose”  for many years to come.  

Roger Ivester

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