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Subject: Messier Marathon List   Top

From: Bill Arnett <>

Thomas Wideman wrote:

>Is there a recommended order of viewing for a Messier Marathon available on the net?...

Yes. See: <>

Clicking this link should open a new browser window over this page.

Here's a link to freeware that includes a M-object observing log in FileMaker (TUMOL - The Ultimate Messier Object Log is a FileMaker Pro 4.0 database that contains relevant information for all 110 Messier objects. It contains various layouts to assist amateur astronomers in documenting their search for deep sky objects.) and other interesting stuff:


And here's a Excel database that includes the M-list, plus many others that you can sort yourself:


Subject: Star Charts Vs. Burham's Recommendation   Top

From: Thomas Wideman <>
Date: Jan., 1998


I and many others have been happy with Wil Tirion's Sky Atlas 2000. There are two considerations when looking at this chart: version and lamination.

Version: Sky Atlas 2000 comes in a Desk edition (black stars on white background), Field edition (white stars on black background), and Deluxe edition (black stars and colored deep sky objects on a white background, and in a larger scale). While some like the Field edition, most I've talked to like the white background for readability (either the Desk or Deluxe edition).

Lamination: Sky Atlas 2000 can be purchased either laminated or unlaminated. To prevent damage by dew, lamination (on both sides) is almost a necessity. You can purchase it already laminated (and bound neatly in the case of the Deluxe), or you can laminate it yourself or have it done. An advantage to this is that many folks like to draw the lines between the stars to form the constellations for ease of use before laminating, so the lines are permanent.

I like the larger size and the colored objects on the Deluxe, so I bought a laminated Deluxe edition. I think it's a work of art and have been happy with it.


Burnham's is not a star chart; rather, it is a reference book designed to be used with a good star chart. It provides information about thousands of stars and deep sky objects. It also has a lot of information about the sky lore behind constellations and objects, has poetry, quotes from literature about the sky, and a little of everything else one can imagine. It is an outstanding reference and I recommend it highly as an accompaniment to your star charts.

Information about these and many other charts and publications can be found at Sky Publishing's catalog web site:

 <>  Note: should open a new window over this one.


Subject: Current Visible Comet, Meteor Shower, Occultation, and Minor Planet URLs  Top

From: Ed Stewart

For information, orbital elements and ephemerides on observable comets visit the Observable Comets page from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics: <>. Note: should open a new window over this one.

Astronomical Headlines for up-to-date comet postings from the International Astronomical Union Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams and Minor Planet Center: <> Note: should open a new window over this one.

For more information about Comets and Meteor Showers, visit Gary Kronk's Comets & Meteors Showers website at: <>. Note: should open a new window over this one.

Information on various occultations can be found at <>, the International Occultation Timing Association's (IOTA) web site.

Information about the Minor Planets can be found at <> the Minor Planet Observer web site.

SkyView--the Internet's Virtual Telescope: <> Note: should open a new window over this one.


Subject: Meade Catalog Stars Spreadsheet URLs  Top

From: Alistair Symon <>

I have a copy of the 250 Meade catalog stars for the Classic.

Excel spreadsheet format at: <>

Text format at: <>


Subject: NGC and IC Catalogs--Text Files   Top

From: Bill Arnett <> Date: Feb 2000

If you want a text version of the Classic's catalogs GoTo:
       Note: should open a new browser window over this one.


Subject: New Version of Excel Spreadsheet "Astronomy Info"   Top

From: Scott Baker <> Date: Oct 2003 <>

Mapug Members,
I've updated my MS Excel spreadsheet of astronomical data and posted it on my web site. The spreadsheet contains the complete NGC
catalog, Messier Catalog, Herschel Catalog, Bernard's Dark Object Catalog, Caldwell Catalog, Lynd's Catalog, RASC Deep Sky Challenge Objects, Dyer Catalog, SAA Top 100 and much, much more. The recent additions are the catalog of 150 globular clusters and the Filter Reference done by David Knisely. The current version of the spreadsheet is 1.6. It's a 1.4Mb file, so be patient when it downloads:

Complete NGC/IC
SAA Top 100
Lynds' Catalogue of Bright Nebulae
Lynds' Catalogue of Dark Nebulae
Barnard's Catalogue of 349 Dark Objects
Herschel 400
RASC Deep-Sky Challenge Objects by Alan Dyer and Alister Ling
Dyer Finest NGC and Deep-Sky Challenge Objects
Arp Globular Clusters
Astronomical League Double Star Observing List (Epoch 2000.0)
Double Stars by David Abrams
Star Clusters and Associations, Selected Data (Alter+ 1970)
Revised Shapley-Ames Catalog of Bright Galaxies
Cool Galatic Carbon Stars
Celestial Objects for Computerized Suburban Telescopes by Michael Covington
105 Finest Objects For The LX200 by Nigel Puttick
Doc G's Interesting Objects Listed By Size by R. A. Greiner
Orbits and Physical Characteristics of the Solar System
Meteor Showers; Globular Clusters
Meade 351 Star Database by Alistair Symon etal

This Excel 95 Spreadsheet can be downloaded from my webpage (in the "Download" section) at:
Note: this version has a black background with red/orange text for viewing with a monitor while observing at the scope to protect your night vision. The following version prepared by the editor is for printing with a white background and black text and formatted to fit all columns on across one page.

(You'll need an unzipping utility to decompress it).

Editor's note: I translated a Macintosh Excel '95 file for Scott's version 1.6 download called ""    <>
with a number of modifications to the original format including adding page numbers and fitting all columns, except in one catalog, to print on single pages. This Mac Excel file in '95 format should open correctly on Windows PCs, too.

Note: you may need to increase the memory allocation of Excel due to the large (6.8 MB) file size. In the Finder, click on the Excel application icon, then File Menu/Get info/Memory and increase it to 32k. If you want the version 1.6 direct from Scott, it should open corrrectly on a Mac in Excel '95 or later without a problem.


Subject: Double Star "33" Website   Top

From: Jack Estes <> Date: Nov 2001

Here is a website that is just what the double star observer ordered. This group (which you can join and contribute observations) has list of 33 double stars per constellation for your observing enjoyment. Each entry also list the know distance, orbital elements, etc. so you can actually know something about the pretty pairs you are looking at through the eyepiece.

This is an observing program highly doable from your light polluted backyard.

Editor's note: also see David Abram's double star list.


Subject: Lunar Eclipse Calculator URL    Top

From: Ed Stewart <>

Here is an "eclipse calculator" by US Naval Obs. Works similar to their Sun/Moon Rise/Set calculator:


Subject: Charles Wood's Lunar 100 list    Top

From: Linnhe <> Date: Mar 2004

I've added the Lunar 100 list from "Sky & Telescope," April 2004 to my website for download. There are various formats to suite:   <>


Professional & Amateur Astronomer Collaborations URL List     Top

Pro-Am Observational Programs--

Working Group for Professional-Amateur Collaboration
WGPAC provides hands on-line registry to facilitate connections between amateur astronomers and professionals. WGPAC has an excellent links page for finding other pro-am programs.
Website: <>

International Amateur-Professional Photoelectric Photometry
IAPPP facilitates "collaborative research between amateur and professional astronomers." IAPPP projects include observational study of stars, galaxies, solar system objects, occultation events, and the atmosphere.
Contact via email: <>

Society for Astronomical Sciences
SAS facilitates collaborative astronomical research between amateur, student, and professional astronomers by providing a medium for the exchange of practical information not normally discussed at symposia or published in other journals. SAS, formerly the Western Wing of the IAPPP holds a Symposium on Telescope Sciences each year right before Memorial Day at Big Bear, California' The interests of the group mainly revolve around photometry of stars and asteroids, astrometry and spectroscopy.
Website: <>

American Association of Variable Star Observers
AAVSO offers opportunities from novice to expert and from the unaided eye to CCD work. Observations of variable stars, the Sun, and searches for novae and supernovae are processed and stored in the AAVSO International Database. AAVSO also sponsors an educational program called Hands-On Astrophysics.
Website: <>

Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers
ALP0 is geared specifically for amateur observations Of solar system objects. In the past yea ALP0 has had pro-am collaborations for Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus studies. The equipment can be as modest as a 2.4" refractor, a pencil, and a piece of paper, and ALPO provides a two-tiered training program -- "Basic Level" and "Novice Level."
Website: <>

International Meteor Organization
IMO collects amateur observations of meteor phenomena and stores them in a central archive. Observations include visual, photographic, radio, and telescopic (binocular). IMO publishes a Journal every other month and organizes a conference every year.
Website: <>

Small Telescope Science Program: Deep Impact Mission
STSP is a global collaboration to gather photometric quality, broadband R, CCD images of 9P as well as spectroscopic observations of comet 9P/Tempel 1, the target of the Deep Impact Mission. These data will help scientists understand an model the activity and dust environment of the comet before, during, and after the mission excavates a crater in the nucleus in July 2005. STSP has similar programs for other small object missions.
Website: <>

International Occultation Timing Association
IOTA facilitates global observation of occultations and eclipses, provides predictions for grazing occultations of stars by the Moon and predictions for occultations of stars by asteroids and planets, Information on observing equipment and techniques, and reports to the members of observations made. The data are used to further sharpen the projection of asteroid orbits and to provide size/shape data. These data are generally used to ensure our future timing of the asteroid population.
Website. <>

Center for Backyard Astrophysics
The CBA is a global network of small telescopes dedicated to long-term photometry of cataclysmic variables, mostly with CCD cameras mounted on small backyard telescopes (6"-26"). The data is archived by date, station, and object.
Website: <>

Educational Outreach and Other Opportunities--

SETI@home Via the Internet
SETI@home employs computers worldwide to handle the great quantity of data collected by its radio telescopes. Participants download data and let their computers analyze it in a screensaver program or as a background program. The excellent SETI@home website has an informative page of Frequently Asked Questions.
Website: <>

International Dark-Sky Association
IDA is a worldwide organization established in 1988 to "protect and restore the natural light environment and mankind's heritage of dark skies." Amateur astronomers can participate in community education, proactive outreach, working with local governments on lighting codes, urban planning, fundraising, and networking.
Website: <>

Project ASTRO
Sponsored by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), Project ASTRO is an innovative, inquiry based national science education program that links professional and amateur astronomers with 4th-9th grade educators and their students. Volunteer astronomers visit their partner-classrooms at least four times each year. Project ASTRO provides hands-on classroom activities, supporting materials, and features intensive two-day training sessions for the paired astronomers and educators.
Website: <>

Author: Rick Fienberg


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