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Astronomical League observing programs/pins.

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#26 JayinUT

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:25 AM

I was a member until last month when I didn't renew my club membership. I have completed the H400, Messier, Urban, Double Stars, Carbon, Lunar, Planetary Nebula and Binocular Messier. I am also about 1/2 way on the Herschel 400 II list.

Now, I have them done but each time I went to get approved in the club the club member in charge wanted me to scan all of these to him. Nope. I'm not going to scan all those observing pages to him. I thought we could meet at the end of a club meeting and he go through them, take them and then get them back to me etc. Nope so though done I never got my certificate or reward. Does it matter to me? Nope again. I know I did them, I have my logs for them still and in the end, they brought a lot of enjoyment, focus, experience and learning how to observe to me. Actually they got me going to dark sites more and more until I really only do doubles and lunar observing at home.

So I recommend them whether one gets an award or pin or not. In the end, the observer's journey through the objects is what matters. To be honest, my sketches, good and bad are my pins and certificates. Each their own and YMMV.

#27 vsteblina

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:05 AM

JayinUT said "In the end, the observer's journey through the objects is what matters. To be honest, my sketches, good and bad are my pins and certificates. Each their own and YMMV."

My 3x5 card sketches of the Messier objects and the observing log from the Herschel 400 are treasured objects 15 years later.

There are plenty of observing lists out there. The Astronomical League lists are good and relatively handy.

Doing a list will make you a much better observer and gives a purpose and direction to each nights observing.

#28 Old Rookie

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:38 AM

Great topic. I started working to complete their lists when I started this hobby nine years ago.

Completed: Messier, Binocular Messier, Deep Sky Binocular, Globular Cluster, H400 and Herschell II.
In Process: Arp, Flat Galaxy, Planetary Nebula and Caldwell.

#29 S.Boerner

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:39 AM

While not on the most of the individual requirements page for each program, the main or head Observing Program page at:
http://www.astroleag.../observing.html does state:

"The programs are designed to be individual effort. Each individual must perform all the requirements of each program themselves and not rely on other people to locate the objects. This technique is called "piggy-backing" and is not acceptable for logging objects for any of the programs. You are allowed to look through another observer’s telescope to see what the object looks like, but you still need to locate and observe the object on your own."

#30 droid

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:39 PM

I dunno maybe I got lucky :shrug:

I got my certificate within ,IIRC, 6 weeks, might have been a little longer.

I downloaded all the required forms, read and reread, and then reread multiple times as I progressed.
All the forms were put in a three ring binder, along with telrad finder charts.
When I had completed the 70 I took it all to copy max, made copys, kept the copys and mailed the originals in.

Id like to rejoin , just to complete the messier club, and while the pin isnt the end all to be all of it, its something I can point too as the culmination of the project.
I still have my Nartrek Certificates, with the patches on my wall, no they dont make me a better rocketeer, but they attest to my two year struggle to acheive all the goals.
So I guess , to me, the pin does mean something, a goal to be acheived, and an end to one chapter, and probably the beginning of another.

#31 tecmage

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:31 PM

I completed Lunar I (#743). I started Lunar II and Solar System Observing.

#32 Jb32828

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:03 PM

Personally, I would like to see more imager friendly programs such as a Messier imaging cert and pin, and perhaps a mlys of distance challenge program as well for scopes under a certain size.

I am considering the galaxy groups challenge, it looks pretty interesting; however for my own edification my priority for imaging is the Messier Catalog.



#33 Staredge

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:56 PM

I'm working on Lunar I now. Will most likely do Lunar II. Maybe a couple of others. I need to get a membership though. My schedule is so tight right now that I haven't been able to join the local club. Hopefully in the next year or so.

#34 tecmage

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:51 PM

I like the programs. Last winter, I was able to observe and sketch Io transiting Jupiter. The kicker was the Great Red Spot was just red enough so that Io was clearly visible! It was really stunning to see Io clear Jupiter and see its shadow still transiting!!!

#35 desertstars

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:25 PM

I've got the Lunar I pin; I've been picking away at Lunar II and need to refocus my attention on it. The Messier list is done, and I just need to organize the sketches and turn in copies. And the I've almost completed the Double Star club.

I need to get remotivated in these matters. The past couple of years have been so focused on the revival of my writing career that I haven't had much time for hobbies. A bit of concentrated observing would be refreshing!

#36 Doc Willie

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:56 AM

Clubs vary widely in their support of the Astronomical League's award programs. One I know of is a waste of time, the applications just disappear. Another is very aggressive about getting the awards, and has its own awards program and an awards coordinator.

#37 LivingNDixie

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 06:59 PM

Clubs vary widely in their support of the Astronomical League's award programs. One I know of is a waste of time, the applications just disappear. Another is very aggressive about getting the awards, and has its own awards program and an awards coordinator.


Are you talking about observing clubs or actual astronomy clubs? If are having problems I would contact the observing club coordinator at the League level.

#38 josie521

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 03:09 PM

Im working on my globular cluster pin.

#39 Starman81

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:11 PM

Sounds like fun--I'm interested. One question about Messier Program, there is a note that states:

Note:

Since the purpose of the Messier Program is to familiarize the observer with the nature and location of the objects in the sky, the use of an automated telescope which finds the objects without effort on the part of the observer is not acceptable. "Automated telescope" also includes the use of digital setting circles where a read-out shows the user directions to follow to find an object. This also includes the unacceptable use of smartphones that use apps to locate objects in the night sky. The use of the setting circles found on the axis of telescope should also be avoided. In short, only finderscopes, Telrads, or Telrad-like devices are acceptable.


Does this mean you cannot use a smartphone as a star map? I wouln't use the Intelliscope functionality on my dob nor would I use the 'compass' feature on SkySafari Pro, but I do use it as a star map to star hop. I *think* that that would be allowed but their rule isn't all that clear.

#40 City Kid

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:23 PM

If you are just using it as a map then it's ok. The point is you are supposed to star hop to the Messier objects. As long as you are star hopping to find the objects it doesn't matter what you use for a map.

#41 Doc Willie

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 06:19 PM

Clubs vary widely in their support of the Astronomical League's award programs. One I know of is a waste of time, the applications just disappear. Another is very aggressive about getting the awards, and has its own awards program and an awards coordinator.

I am talking about actual astronomy clubs that are members of the AL, and should be putting out applications through.

Are you talking about observing clubs or actual astronomy clubs? If are having problems I would contact the observing club coordinator at the League level.



#42 droid

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 08:11 AM

I am the national coordinator for the Lunar II program, so feel free to talk to me about awards. I have earned the following: Messier, Globular Clusters, Master Outreach, Open Clusters, Herschel 400, Lunar, Lunar II, Constellations, Planetary Nebula, Dark Nebula, Binocular Messier, Double Stars, Binocular Deep Sky, Caldwell, Urban, Venus Transit and Master Obsever Progams. I am working on Solar System, Herschel II, Carbon Stars and Asterism programs. I find the Al programs help me focus on my observing and provide direction as well as helping me learn more about what I am observing.

P.S. Dr. Aaron Clevenson is the national observing program coordinator and is very helpful with obsering program issues. Vladmir, you should contact him to get your Hershcel issue resolved particulary if you met all the requirements.


Hello Cliff, hey questions(s)
I was a member at large for two or three years, during that time I got 74 of the messiers to earn the Messier Club Certificate.After words life got in the way, and I let my membership go, Id like to finish it and earn my pin.
Aside from becoming a member at large again, what will I have to do? redo the whole thing, it has been four years, or just finish the remainder and submit them?

#43 City Kid

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 08:38 AM

As long as you have your notes it doesn't matter when the observations were made. You do not have to start over.

#44 Dennis_S253

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 10:00 AM

Are there any real benefits to becoming a member at large? Or is it just for getting certificates and pins?

#45 City Kid

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 11:27 AM

Other than a subscription to Reflector magazine it's pretty much just for getting certificates and pins. I believe you can also get a discount on books if I'm not mistaken.

#46 blb

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 04:01 PM

Other than a subscription to Reflector magazine it's pretty much just for getting certificates and pins. I believe you can also get a discount on books if I'm not mistaken.

That's true and the Reflector magazine is quartely and does not have more than a couple of articales in it, but this is the worlds largest astronomy club. As such it supports amateur astronomy and has several programs it supports as well as the observing clubs, with there certificates and pins. You can also get discounts on magazine subscriptions and books ordered through them. Basically though you are just supporting someone who promotes amateur astronomy.

#47 blb

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 04:08 PM

Are there any real benefits to becoming a member at large? Or is it just for getting certificates and pins?

Find a club in your area who is a member of the Astronomical League and membership in the AL is real cheep or free in some clubs. That is much cheeper than being a member at large. For example membership in the club I belong to is $25 and membership in AL is $6 for a total of $31, where being a member at large is $40. That saved me $9 but for some clubs membership is cheeper and AL membership is included, so check it out and you may save a bunch of $$'s.

#48 Bill Steen

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 05:45 PM

I did the double star project with a Meade NG-70 (better eyepieces) from my light shot back yard, just to prove to myself that it could be done. I wrote up notes on how to find each one and have the document attached to a post on the Meade4M Community Forum if anyone would like a copy. It tells how to find the objects by star hopping. It is located in the Visual Astronomy Section.

#49 edwincjones

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 07:26 PM

have completed 17 observing clubs

edj

#50 cliff mygatt

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 12:34 AM

Andy, As stated by others, there is no time limit on how long it takes to complete the programs. You only need be a member. Joining a club is usually cheaper than Member at large membership but it is your choice. Good Luck!






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