As soon as the sun sets at the Anza observatory site and the sky turns orange, then purple, then inky blue, the members of Orange County Astronomers start tilting their heads back and tsk-tsking at the clouds. If they intend to find all 110 deep-space objects in the Messier Marathon, they will need each precious minute of night to be clear while they track the stars traveling across the hemisphere. When some stars set, others rise—the Scorpio constellation follows Orion—and the astronomers must see the stars on a corresponding schedule. It took amateur astronomer Charles Messier more than 50 years to identify them in the mid-18th century. Now, if weather permits, an amateur astronomer with a good GoTo telescope can find all of them in a single night, during the long, cold hours... More >>>