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
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
The current Observing Clubs are:
Sky Puppy Club
Skies Binocular Club
Peculiar Galaxy Club
Groups & Clusters Club
Sky Telescopic Club
Satellite Observing 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
Up Doc?" This guide breaks the objects up by observing
club. Most of the more frequently pursued clubs are
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.
View the Observing Club Award Pin
|Track, log and organize your observing club
||Download an Excel Spreadsheet for tracking
and logging your observations.
||This spreadsheet includes information for
all the objects of all the observing clubs.
to download this useful spreadsheet.
Astronomical League National Headquarters
9201 Ward Parkway; Suite 100
Kansas City, MO 64114