Find an Observing Program for You with the Astronomical League!
Pins and logos from the Astronomical League's many excellent observing programs- there are even more than seen here!
Image Credit: The Astronomical League

Looking for something to jump-start your stargazing? Maybe need a bit of direction? Or possibly you are tired of looking at the same set of objects every time you observe?  If so you should definitely check out one of the Astronomical League's observing programs

The League has run their excellent observing programs for the past 50 years. Since 1967, the Astronomical League's observing programs have awarded over 10,000 observing certificates to skilled amateurs in recognition of their stargazing achievements - along with some great pins, too! These programs have helped amateur astronomers shore up their observing legs as well. Many folks might eventually observe all of the Messier objects, for example; but the League's requirements for their Messier program will make that observer carefully take into consideration the factors around their observation, such as the time and observing conditions present that night, as part of their needed documentation.   Some harder to spot objects may even go unnoticed but for the need to complete the observing list - helping to sharpen those eyes and starhopping skills,  with a cool pin and certificate as a reward - although the true reward is the boost in confidence and knowledge gleaned from working towards these observations for the participating observers. 

The are programs for observers of all levels and interests. Beginners can start with programs like the Binocular Messier or Constellation Hunter programs. The Caldwell Observing Program, Two in the View, or Asteroid Observing programs are great programs for stargazers who have gotten a few observations under their belt and want to further sharpen their skills! Experts can test their mettle and go deep with programs like the Binocular Variable Star Observing Program, Herschel 400, or Master Observing Program. Even stargazers who are surrounded by light pollution in urban areas can participate in programs like the Urban Observers Program or Lunar Observing Program - or help fight light pollution and attain the Dark Sky Advocate award. Fans of astronomy outreach, like many members of Night Sky network clubs, can pursue the Outreach Observing Award - and snag another pin to feature alongside their NSN award pins!  You don't even need a telescope to participate in an observing program,: there are programs for naked-eye observations and binocular-wieldng observers. Participants aren't even necessarily restricted by observing in visible light, as there is even a Radio Astronomy Observing Program.

There are many, many more programs you can find on their program list. Find one today and take up the challenge. Keep it up and one day you too will become a recognized as a master observer!

Last Updated: February 21, 2017

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