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Dave Chapman
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Reged: 01/27/07

Loc: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
RASC lunar observing program—now available to all
      #5765794 - 03/29/13 09:41 PM

Hello fellow lunar observers!

Recently, the RASC revised and updated its Isabel Williamson Lunar Observing Program

http://www.rasc.ca/observing/williamson-lunar-observing-certificate

The revised materials are open to anyone to freely download for personal use (provided they respect the RASC copyright); however, the IWLOP certificate and pin are awarded only to RASC members who complete the requirements.

The IWLOP was first released in 2006, and since that time more than a dozen RASC observers have completed the required objectives. In doing so, several minor errors were noted in the guide, which have now been corrected. One deliberate change is that the observation of "a crescent Moon with 24 hours of New" is no longer a required objective, but an optional challenge objective (this was proving to be a show-stopper for many observers).

You will find that the IWLOP guide is unique, in that it is not simply a checklist, but contains pertinent scientific information about the development of the Moon, linked to specific features contained within the observing objectives. The RASC hopes that observers will regard this as complementary to other lunar programs and guides available from other sources.

Having completed the program in 2009-10, I can say that it is not difficult to complete, but it does require discipline and planning to complete. If anyone is interested in my strategy, I would be happy to share some tips.

Enjoy!

Dave


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lcaldero
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Reged: 04/07/11

Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Re: RASC lunar observing program—now available to all new [Re: Dave Chapman]
      #5766376 - 03/30/13 09:42 AM

I'd love to hear your strategy!

Laura


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Dave Chapman
sage
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Reged: 01/27/07

Loc: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: RASC lunar observing program—now available to all new [Re: lcaldero]
      #5766719 - 03/30/13 12:06 PM

Quote:

I'd love to hear your strategy!

Laura




Thanks, Laura!

Nothing innovative, but this is what worked for me:

1. The IW Lunar Observing Program has features listed from east to west, increasing in longitude. Since observing near the terminator gives good lighting conditions, I would work out the longitude of the terminator for my observing time, then make a short list of the features within 10-12 degrees in longitude, which would form a continuous sequence in the guide.

2. I would chose the appropriate S&T Field Map of the Moon (regular or mirror-reversed) and find the main objects on those charts.

3. For fine details, I would consult Rukl's atlas (but not take Rukl to the telescope!) and make notes.

4. This prep time might take as much time as I planned to spend at the telescope, but as I live in the frozen North, I tend to minimize my time outdoors!

5. I would have a first session at the telescope with my maps and notes, and if I had a problem with an item, I would skip over it. Then I would come inside for a break and review the problem features.

6. I have poor horizons, so I observed objects near the lunar limb closer to the full Moon phase, e.g. items normally viewed at lunar age 1-2 days at the sunrise terminator I would observe 1-2 days after full Moon on the sunset terminator.

7. Generally speaking, I did significant observing in the early morning at the sunset terminator. For objects nears the centre of the Moon, this gives you a second good view within the same lunation.

8. After every session, I would fill out my observing forms right away, and also "check" the item off in the guide, so I new that I had observed it.

9. I kept my telescope outdoors, in a shed, with my principal eyepiece in it. I could be ready to roll in minutes!

10. To calculate the longitude of the lunar terminator, I used the RASC Observer's Handbook (which publishes the longitude at day 0.0 of each month, then you add 12.2º for every elapsed day), but I also acquired an Excel spreadsheet that calculates this and much more. I wish some of the lunar apps for mobile devices would offer this simple calculation! For observing specific objects under good lighting, the longitude of the terminator is more useful than lunar phase, which includes the effects of libration.


cheers

Dave


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buddyjesus
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/07/10

Loc: Davison, Michigan
Re: RASC lunar observing program—now available to all new [Re: Dave Chapman]
      #5767932 - 03/31/13 12:13 AM

looks good. thanks for sharing.

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Swamp Fox
sage
*****

Reged: 12/26/06

Loc: South Carolina
Re: RASC lunar observing program—now available to all new [Re: buddyjesus]
      #5785598 - 04/08/13 10:34 AM

Thanks for the information...looks to be a nice program!

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Ain Soph Aur
professor emeritus
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Reged: 08/11/11

Loc: West Tennessee
Re: RASC lunar observing program—now available to all new [Re: Swamp Fox]
      #5788116 - 04/09/13 01:34 PM

Many thanks for the notice on the new updated version! I plan to work on this program in parallel to the AL Lunar II program.

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