Awards

 Observing Awards

The Astronomical League is an international association of amateur astronomers. The League has developed several “award” programs that involve observing various categories of astronomical objects. Successful completion of a program entitles the observer to a special certificate and pin. The observer’s name is also entered on the list of awardees on the League’s website. I have earned the following three Astronomical League awards.

double

The Double Star Award

(certificate #177)

To qualify for the Double Star Award, you are required to observe 100 selected objects, record your observations (including a drawing of each double or multiple star), and submit your log for verification to the League. The Double Star Gallery in this website includes images that I have taken of some of the double stars on this list. For more information about this award, visit http://www.astroleague.org/.

messier

The Messier Award

(certificate #2009)

The most popular program is the Messier Award. Charles Messier was a French astronomer who created a catalog of 110 astronomical objects as part of his search for new comets. Each object in the Messier Catalog is assigned a number, and astronomers often refer to these objects by their Messier number. For example, the great Andromeda Galaxy is known to amateur astronomers as M31 (Messier Catalog number 31). The famous Ring Nebula in Lyra is M57, and so on.

To earn this award, observers must (1) be a member of the League; (2) observe all 110 Messier objects and keep a record of their observations showing the date and time of each observation, seeing conditions, type and size of telescope being used, magnification, and a description of the object; (3) submit their observing records to the League for verification. Since the purpose of the Messier Club is to familiarize the observer with the nature and location of the objects in the sky, the use of an automated telescope which finds the objects without effort on the part of the observer is not permitted.

For more information about this award, visit http://www.astroleague.org/

Imaging Awards

 

apod07a 

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day (“APOD”)

On January 23, 2009, my color image of Globular Cluster NGC 2419 (“the Intergalactic Wanderer”) was selected by NASA as its “astronomy picture of the day.” Click on the picture below to navigate to the actual page.

N-L-newspaper-story 

Springfield News-Leader Story

This picture was featured in The Springfield, MO News-Leader on January 25, 2009.

nasaapod 

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day (“APOD”)

On December 14, 2004, my color image of M33 (the Pinwheel Galaxy in Triangulum) was selected by NASA as its “astronomy picture of the day.” Click on the picture below to navigate to the actual page.

image03-350

Astronomy Magazine Photo of the Day

The Ring Nebula — March 21, 2007.
http://astronomy.com

HolmesComet

Astronomy Magazine Readers Gallery

Comet Holmes — October 2007

http://astronomy.com

m29
Open Star Cluster M29 — March 2009
http://astronomy.com
CrabNebula_m1b13_350

Anacortes “Photo of the Day” (4 awards)

The Crab Nebula — December 6, 2006

image03-350 
The Ring Nebula — August 26, 2006
image04-350 
The Veil Nebula — July 25, 2004
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The Orion Nebula — November 30, 2003
h400

The Hershel 400 Award

(certificate #286)

The Hershel 400 Award is another program offered by the Astronomical League that involves observing 400 specified objects in the New General Catalog (NGC). The NGC is a catalog of some 8,000 galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae, many of which are too faint to be seen in amateur telescopes. The award is named in honor of 18th century English astronomer William Hershel, who discovered nearly half of the NGC objects. The League’s website describes this award as follows, “This is meant to be an advanced project for amateurs who already have a fair degree of deep-sky experience. Anyone just starting out should go for the Messier Club first, this will provide the basic groundwork that this project is built on. To those who engage in or complete work on the Herschel Club you can be assured that you will know the sky and the instrument you are using; you will also know your own observing skill. Finally, you will have the curiosity and knowledge that are so important when studying the vast and beautiful universe that we live in.”

To earn this award, observers must (1) be a member of the League; (2) observe all 400 objects and keep a record of their observations showing the date and time of each observation, seeing conditions, type and size of telescope being used, magnification, and a description of the object; (3) submit their observing records to the League for verification. As with the Messier Award, the use of an automated telescope which finds the objects without effort on the part of the observer is not permitted.

For more information about this award, click here.

Holmes_News
Richard Hammar’s image of Comet Holmes was featured on the front page of the local newspaper for Springfield, Missouri, on November 15, 2007. Download and read the full story. 

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