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
For more info, or to provide your input, please contact the
Club member Ed Seward has created an easy to use spreadsheet for the AL's
Star lists as well as a convenient double star
Mike Mills - 2001 Newsletter Editor Greg Piepol - Club
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
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
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.
||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.