Date: Tue, Mar 27, 2012 From: Jonathan Reed Subject: Messier Marathon 2012 Results To Whom It May Concern, My name is Jonathan Reed, and my friend Cole Cote and I attempted the Messier Marathon from the top of Johnson Mesa, just outside of Folsom, NM on March 23-24. I feel compelled to tell you our story because this was a very powerful and emotional experience for both of us. Cole and I are in our second astronomy class together at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs, and this semester in particular we had grown very close to our professor, Dr. Robert Day. We would share conversations before and after classes, and he always had some great story about the people he knew in science who had taken part in incredible discoveries in the last 40 years. In short, he was our mentor and friend. Cole and I had been planning since the beginning of the semester to go to New Mexico and try to complete the Messier Marathon. We both purchased new telescopes, and we were always telling Dr. Day how excited we were for the big weekend to come. He kept telling us that it was a very exciting thing to attempt and that he greatly looked forward to hearing about our success when classes resumed after spring break. On Wednesday, March 21st as we were leaving class and thinking ahead to our great adventure coming up, Dr. Day caught us before we left class and made sure to say, "Happy hunting this weekend boys, I can't wait to hear how it went." Later that evening, Dr. Day collapsed while teaching another class. I found out the news that Dr. Day had died the following day, when one of my fellow students from another class informed me of the terrible incident. I let Cole know, and we both spend the rest of the day in a bit of shock. This has been such an incredibly deep loss to us, and we both decided that we couldn't cancel our plans for the trip, because even though Dr. Day was gone, he would have still expected us to attempt the marathon. We prepared ourselves for the attempt, and on the night of March 23-24, Cole and I successfully hunted down all 110 of the Messier Catalog objects, in memory of our professor and friend Dr. Robert Day. I have a simple request. If you choose to list our attempt on your results page, and put our names in your list of marathoners, please include Dr. Robert Day's name right along with ours. Even though he has passed, we did this for him, and we have dedicated this Messier Marathon to his memory and legacy, and it wouldn't be right for our names to appear without his. In addition to our observation results, I have also included the cover page for our star charts. Astronomy lost a genuinely passionate researcher and educator this past week, and I think that all marathoners should know about the inspiration of Dr. Day. Thank You, Jonathan Reed P.S. A few notes on the Observation Log: I incorrectly wrote down the date as March 22-23, and my observation for M16 is the topmost writing in the space. We accidentally mixed up M16 and M17 at first, but then realized our error. Also, I wanted to thank you for providing the Observation Log form on your website as it proved to be an incredibly valuable resource.
Last Modification: March 30, 2012