Constellation Ursa Major (Big Bear) and bright star Arcturus (upper left) are captured above sky gazers who are gathered in this remote historic caravansary in the heart of desert to participate in the annual Messier Marathon in Iran. This one-night observing competition is to view 110 objects (galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters) in the catalog made by 18th century French astronomer Charles Messier. The best date to hold the marathon is near the March equinox.



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