Astronomical League Observing Club Introduction

The Observing Clubs offer encouragement and certificates of accomplishment for demonstrating observing skills with a variety of instruments and objects. These include the Messier Club, Binocular Messier Club and the Herschel 400 Club, the Deep Sky Binocular Club, the Southern Skies Binocular Club, the Meteor Club, the Double Star Club, Lunar Club, Globular Cluster Club, Constellation Hunter Club, Southern Sky Telescopic Club and the newly formed Open Cluster, Planetary Nebula, Lunar II and Outreach Clubs.

Other clubs are the: Arp Peculiar Galaxy Club, Asteroid Observing Club, Caldwell Club, Comet Club, Double Star Club, Earth Orbiting Satellite Club, Galaxy Groups & Clusters Club, Herschel II Club, The Master Observer Club, Meteor Club, Planetary Observers Club, Sky Puppy Club, Sunspotters Club, Universe Sampler Club and Urban Observing Club.

Each Club offers a certificate based upon achieving certain observing goals and a beautiful award pin. These are usually in the form of a specific number of objects of a specific group with a given type of instrument. Occasionally there are multiple levels of accomplishment within the club. There is no time limit for completing the required observing, but good record keeping is required.

These clubs are designed to be an individual effort. These clubs follow the honor system based on finding the objects and logging them for the award by the individual person (only). That it, is expected that the individual, perform all the requirements of each program themselves, and not rely on other people to locate the objects of the program so that you can take a look through their telescope and log this object for your program. This technique is called "piggy-backing" and is not acceptable for logging objects for any program. It should be noted that it is acceptable for an individual to share a view of objects in a fellow amateur's telescope, which allows the award candidate to become familiar with the targets before beginning their own quest.

When you have reached the requisite number of objects, your observing logs are examined by the appropriate authority and you will receive a certificate and pin to proclaim to all that you have reached your goal. Many local astronomical societies even post lists of those who have obtained their certificates.

The individual, once completing a program by themselves, should feel a sense of pride and great accomplishment for what they have just completed. Each program is designed not only to show you a variety of objects in the sky, but to also familiarize yourself with your telescope and how to use it; celestial navigation, the ability to find the objects in the vastness of space; to learn some eye training techniques which will enhance your viewing of the objects of each program.

Those observing clubs, listed below, that are valid to use computerized GOTO systems on include:Arp Peculiar Galaxy Club, Asteroid Observing Club, Double Star Club, Galaxy Groups & Clusters Club, Globular Cluster Club, Herschel 400 Club, Herschel II Club, Open Cluster Club , Planetary Nebula Club, Planetary Observers Club, Southern Sky Telescopic Club and Urban Observing Club. Although you CAN use a GOTO system on these programs, it is highly recommended that manual methods be used. For any program not listed in this paragraph, one must use manual methods to complete the program.

The current Observing Clubs are:


Constellation Hunter Club

Lunar Club

Telescope Sky Puppy Club

Universe Sampler Club


Binocular Messier Club

Deep Sky Binocular Club

Southern Skies Binocular Club


Arp Peculiar Galaxy Club

Caldwell Club

Herschel 400 Club

Herschel II Club

Galaxy Groups & Clusters Club 

Globular Cluster Club

Messier Club

Open Cluster Club

Planetary Nebula Club

Southern Sky Telescopic Club

Urban Observing Club


Asteroid Observing Club

Comet Observers Club

Double Star Club

Earth Orbiting Satellite Observing Club  

Lunar II Club

Master Observer Club  

Meteor Club

Outreach Club

Planetary Observers Club

Sunspotters Club

Dr. Aaron Clevenson, coordinator for the Constellation Hunter and Planetary Observers Clubs, and certified Master Observer, has developed two tools to aid you in planning your montly observing sessions.

The first is a monthly guide to those objects that are visible in the evening sky for the month and is entitled "What's Up Doc?" This guide breaks the objects up by observing club. Most of the more frequently pursued clubs are included.

The second is a spreadsheet that will let you enter a date and time (Universal Time) and location for your planned observing session and is titled "What's Up Tonight, Doc?". At the push of a button, it will sort objects that are in the sky at the specified time by altitude for a specific AL Club. 17 clubs and over 2000 objects are included. New clubs will be added as they become available.

Related Links:

What's Up to Observe Links:
  What's Up Doc?

View the Observing Club Award Pin

Track, log and organize your observing club observations:
  Download an Excel Spreadsheet for tracking and logging your observations.
  This spreadsheet includes information for all the objects of all the observing clubs.
  Click here to download this useful spreadsheet.


Astronomical League National Headquarters
9201 Ward Parkway; Suite 100
Kansas City, MO  64114


About Us | Site Map | About Us | Site Map | Membership | League Info | Astro Links | Quick Links | Observing Clubs | Store | Sponsors | Contact Us
Copyright ©2007 Astronomical League. All rights reserved.