NOVAC Members Earn AL Observing Awards

We are proud that NOVAC members have earned many Astronomical League observing awards, and strongly encourage everyone to look into the award programs. You may already have earned an award with your past observations, or you may be able to expand your horizons and skills observing new targets. In either case, you can get a feeling of accomplishment as well as public recognition.

Laquetta receives her award

For more info, or to provide your input, please contact the AL Coordinator

Club member Ed Seward has created an easy to use spreadsheet for the AL's Caldwell and Double Star lists as well as a convenient double star log.

National Awards

2001 Mabel Sterns Award                    2003 AL Webmaster Award
Mike Mills - 2001 Newsletter Editor     Greg Piepol - Club Webmaster


Observing club awards earned by NOVAC members

Messier Award   Messier Club Logo Binocular Messier Award   Binocular logo
Brent A. Archinal 1980 Brenda Jones 1993
Bill Bryson 1983 Kevin Jones 1993
Bob L'Hommedieu 1990
Brenda Jones 1994 Bob Hambleton 1993
Kevin Jones 1994 Bob L'Hommedieu 1993
Michael Lucas 1994 Jon Stewart-Taylor 1995
Sandy Sanders 1994 Fred Matthies 1997
Jon Stewart-Taylor 1995 Ronald W. Cook 1997
Jeff Stetekluh 1995 Laquetta Karch 1999
Bill Bryson 1996 Ed Karch 1999
Dr. Peter Gruber 1996 Pedro Martinez 2002
Craig Tupper 1997 Lewis P. Cason 2003
Steve Blake 1997 Will Stewart 2003
Ron Mickle 1998 Lunar Award Lunar Club Logo
John Avellone 2000 Dr. Peter Gruber 1997
Michael Edmonds 2000 Donna Blosser 1998
Jonathan Bein 2001 Ron Cook 1998
Bob Hand 2001 Lewis Cason 1999
Ed Karch 2001 Jim Fitzgerald 1999
Laquetta Karch 2002
Kevin Beamer 2002 Ed Karch


Laquetta Karch 2005
Ellen Bryson 2002 Double Star Award Double Star Logo
Tom Littlejohn 2003
Donna Blosser 2003 Bob Hand 2000
Ed Seward 2003

Phillip Awtrey


Pedro Martinez
Jim Biggins 2004
Pedro Martinez 2006

Herschel 400 Award  

Herschel 400 logo Deep-Sky Bino Award

Messier Club Logo

Bill Bryson 1998 Ed Karch 2002
Laquetta Karch 2003
Steve Blake 2002 Southern Sky Bino Award Southern Skies Binocular Logo
Tom Littlejohn 2002 Kevin Jones 1997

Herschel II Award 

Arp Peculiar Galaxy Club
Bill Bryson 2002 Bob Bunge 2001
    Bill Bryson 2003
Sun Spotters Award Sunspotters Club Logo Urban Club Award
Laquetta Karch 2001 Steve Blake 1999
Ed Karch 2002 Kevin Beamer 2002
    Tom Littlejohn 2002
    Laquetta Karch 2004
    Pedro Martinez 2006
Outreach Award    
Greg Piepol 2008    

About The Astronomical League

The Astronomical League is a non-profit federation of Astronomical Societies, whose goal is to promote the science of astronomy by fostering astronomical education, providing incentives for astronomical observation and research, and assisting communication among amateur astronomical societies.

The Astronomical League is composed of over two hundred local amateur astronomical societies from all across the United States. These organizations form one of the largest amateur astronomical organizations in the world. The League provides a quarterly magazine, a Book service, gives the National Young Astronomer Award (and many others), sponsors Observing Programs, as well as many other activities.

You can find out more at the Astronomical League's web site.

Astronomical League Observing Programs

The observing programs give encouragement and incentive for developing and demonstrating your observing skills with a variety of instruments and objects. Each program offers a certificate based upon achieving a set of observing goals. There is no time limit for completing the required observing, but good record keeping is required. The Lunar, Binocular Messier, and Messier programs are especially good for beginners and novices, since they provide a specific list of good objects to observe, and help keep you focused on your goal.

NOVAC's Brent Archinal:

There is a practical benefit of the AL awards in that they provide lists of things to observe and plentiful information on them so people don't have to go out and generate this material themselves. This is important for beginners and even many intermediate and advanced observers, because it really does take a lot of work and research to come up with an observing list of objects from scratch. Here, the AL has done the preliminary work. All the user has to do is go out and look at the stuff - and isn't looking the whole point?

Testimonials from NOVAC Members

Craig Tupper I would have observed all of the Messier objects just as quickly if the AL gave no awards. However, the added inspiration to keep a log book describing observing conditions, magnification, and what I had seen in some detail helped me become a better observer.

Jeff Stetekluh I am proud of my observing award from the AL for observing all the Messier objects. I especially like the enamel pin.

Brent Archinal I fondly recall earning my own AL Messier award in the late 1970's through the OSU Astronomy Club. By that time I had in fact observed most of the Messier objects two or more times, but was specifically given the award after re-observing most of them again in single night in a Messier Marathon! I would like to think that the NOVAC members who have received such awards as the Messier, binocular Messier, binocular deep-sky, and perhaps even the Herschel 400, remember those awards well - and the enjoyable nights of observing spent earning them.

I think the awards are important because often they provide that little extra emphasis that helps people to observe something they wouldn't otherwise take the time to observe. And the important end result of course is not the award that is eventually received - but the sights that have been seen along the way.