|In this action scene,
red night vision lights,
green laser pointers, tripods and telescopes in faint silhouette
surround intrepid sky gazers embarked on the 10th annual Iran
Completing the marathon requires
viewing all 110 objects in 18th century French astronomer
Messier's catalog in one glorious dusk-to-dawn observing run.
As daunting as it sounds, there are often favorable weekend
dates for northern hemisphere marathoners to complete the task
that fall on nearly moonless nights near the spring equinox.
With the Milky Way as a backdrop, this
about 150 astronomy enthusiasts conducted
their 2011 marathon on such a night
in April from the desert area of
in eastern Iran.
Placing your cursor over the image will map the stunning night sky
above their remote and very dark observing site.
Follow the green laser pointer toward the Messier catalog objects
(for example, M8) near the galactic center.
Astronomer and former Messier Marathon organizer
Babak Tafreshi also composed
a time-lapse movie of this year's event.