May 1st, 2008

meteor

Astro-Image of the Day: Messier Marathon 2008 in Iran

During each Spring Equinox, amateur astronomers around the world get together in a race to observe as many of the Messier sky objects as they can in what's called the "Messier Marathon." I've only managed to do it once during a star party in Wisconin, but - dangit! - I want to do it again! Look how cool a photo came out of it this year. This is a time-exposure of the night sky, revealing "star trails," the light-paths left by stars as they traverse the sky:

Click the image to see the story.

The photo above was taken by Iranian astronomer Amir Hossein Abolfath during a star party at the ancient royal Bahram Palace. Below is another space-y shot of Iran, at Perseopolis:

Click the image to learn about Iranian amateur astronomy.

If you've never been to a star party - specifically, a Messier Marathon, and an Iranian one in particular - check out this really cool time-lapse video of the event (2 MB Windows video file).

Here's hoping for clear skies next year. I'll organize the event for Lawrence.

Best,
Chris