We all were very lucky everything went well, except a few minor problems with the new technology, which made the competition a bit more thrilling. It was a great experience for all of us and we surely participate next year. Now we are curious about the results of the Marathon. Besides us there were two other from Europe. May the best team win!
Fountain Valley, CA (PRWEB) April 22, 2008
Two teams sponsored by the famous German Astronomy list service, Astronomie.de (http://www.astronomie.de) and the third team sponsored by headmaster HR Dr. Christoph Zebedin of the Peraugymnasium school (http://www.peraugym.at) logged into the GRAS telescope network from Europe at about 3:00 AM on April 4, 2008. The rest is history and as far as it is known, all pre-existing worldwide record times of the Messier Marathon were shattered.
What typically takes all night to accomplish for even the most advanced amateur astronomers, The three teams, using the state of the art, facilities of the global rent-a-scope telescope network (GRAS) (http://www.global-rent-a-scope.com), Based in Mayhill, New Mexico, rapidly plowed through the list of 110 objects.
Here from the winning team is a brief accounting of this adventure:
Messier goes Remote:
"Every astronomer knows the name Messier. Charles Messier, a French astronomer, cataloged a set of astronomical objects containing galaxies, open and globular clusters as well as double stars. Astronomers all over the world try each year in March to observe this list of 110 objects in one night. We did so as well with a slight difference - we photographed them!"
The idea for this first worldwide Remote-Messier-Marathon was born in the GRAS-Network. GRAS (Global-Rent-a-Scope) is a network of telescopes spread over the world able to be operated via Internet. GRAS provided the scopes and made an appeal to take part.
"When Micheal Pagitz called us, we were hooked. We are Christoph Bilban and Christian Plasounig, two young astronomers from Carinthia, Austria. You can follow our astronomical activities at our personal website: http://www.iaaz.at. Right the next day we asked our headmaster for help. He sponsored the participation fee and our school team was born. Christian Plasounig became the team leader. The other team members were Christoph Bilban, Sebastian Benque, Gerald Zernatto and Kevin Schneider."
"As the timeframe for a Messier-Marathon is quite short, we decided to do it as soon as possible. The first attempt we took in the night from 2nd to 3rd April. Due to the time shift between Austria and New Mexico, where our scope is situated, we got up in the middle of the night at 3 o'clock AM Central European Summer Time (CEST). Unfortunately we had to give up this night because of strong winds in the New Mexican Mountains. We postponed it to the following night."
"At 03:15 CEST on 4th April we started the first photographing session. We were the first team ever worldwide, which participated in an official Remote-Messier-Marathon. It went all very good and in the morning (in Europe) we had photographed about the half of the objects. As the conditions for a Messier-Marathon are not that good in April, we couldn't manage to get all objects, because they were only visible during sunset or sunrise. The whole marathon finished about midday in Europe."
"We all were very lucky everything went well, except a few minor problems with the new technology, which made the competition a bit more thrilling. It was a great experience for all of us and we surely participate next year. Now we are curious about the results of the Marathon. Besides us there were two other from Europe. May the best team win!"
"We personally think we did a good job and took the advantage of date, as we were the first. Finally we want to thank the GRAS-Team in particular Arnie Rosner, Brad Moore, Michael Pagitz and of course last but not least our school the Peraugymnasium (http://www.peraugym.at) and our headmaster HR Dr. Christoph Zebedin for their support! Thanks a lot!"
The GRAS observatory will award prizes of observing time to the various winners. The final announcements will be made in a few days.
An opportunity to participate in the Messier Marathon activities was also offered to the members of the Astronomie.de group. Several awards will be presented to those who most closely guessed the actual times for the winning team. Awards to those winners will also be presented in a few days.
Since this has been such an exciting experience, Arnie Rosner, the owner of GRAS has thrown out the challenge to any interested parties that would also like to make a guess as to the winning time of the first remote marathon. To be included in the contest, please send Arnie an email with your best guess. A link to Arnie's email is provided on this page. Each of the five closest submissions will be awarded a free one month 100 point memberships valued at $100 USD.
About the RAS Observatory
GRAS is the exclusive provider of astronomical resources for the famous RAS Observatory which is nestled high atop the Sacramento Mountains of southern New Mexico. Located at an elevation of 7300 feet, sits a special astronomical research facility run by the Remote Astronomical Research Society. Dr. Ed Wiley, PhD of Kansas University, is the current director.
GRAS subscribers engage in the following activities: astrometry, photometry, ccd imaging, remote astronomy, robotic astronomy, supernova, variable stars, research, paramount, takahashi, sbig, fli, astrophysics, education, telescope, science, optics, observatory, ras, astrophotography, galaxies, nebula, planet, space, ccd camera, minor planets, deep space, gamma ray bursters, astroimaging, astroimager, photography, ccd cameras, scientific filters, technical experience, research, telescope mounts, optical systems, you tube.
GRAS is the world's premier provider of remote astronomical resources. GRAS…for drivers not passengers