Hello everyone. I have a question that has been burning inside me for a while, even though it is not yet germane to my astronomy life.
I am interested in becoming a master observer for the AL. I have been doing astronomy for just over a year and am 95% to Observer, having completed H alpha, Sunspotter, Nothern Constellation Hunter, Lunar I (regular + binocular), Asteroids, Solar System, Stellar Evolution and honorary Messier. I am 95% done with Urban and Galileo. I am at least 50% done with Double Stars, Carbon Stars, Open Clusters and Caldwell. I plan on completing these before starting the Herschel program.
My observing sites are my backyard (Bortle 9), which is only good for bright things. Once a month I go out to my club's observatory (Bortle 4). I recently went about 2 hours away to Bortle 2 skies, which was great (just not convenient).
I am an entirely visual observer. I have a 10 inch Apertura Dob and an 80 mm Lunt modular H alpha telescope. I have a Lumicon UHC filter for nebula. I know some clubs in Arkansas have ~15 inch Dobs you can borrow; I
have even heard of a 30 inch Dob but no direct experience with that and am not sure if I could use that equipment for the days on end that it would require to complete the program.
Given my experience level, equipment and sites, do I have a shot at completing the Herschel list? Furthermore, will it even be enjoyable given the above limitations? If I just glimpse a featureless, fuzzy patch of light intermittently with averted vision x400 objects, I would say that is not enjoyable. I read on the website they did it with a 6 inch with some light pollution which sounds very optimistic to me, but I don't have that much experience. Also, I understand that you can photograph these objects, making seeing detail easier but probably making the entire process harder and more protracted on other levels.
So what do you think? Is this a reasonable goal? Thanks for your advice.
ps: I have noticed in my short time in this hobby there are two sorts of people....the Debbie Downers who make Eeyore look like an optimist and the cheery, rosy people. I would appreciate as balanced an argument as you can make!