Lunar II Observing Program Coordinator:
The Moon is the nearest celestial object in our observable universe and is always a favorite at star parties. It was the target of past manned and robotic exploration missions, and it is likely that public interest will be stimulated again as new lunar missions are announced and executed. Many avid lunar observers voiced their desire for a second, more challenging program to follow the very popular Lunar Observing Program. In response the Astronomical League formed a program for experienced lunar observers called Lunar II. Lunar II program goals include stimulating and maintaining a continued interest in lunar observing. This new program will also require participants to make at least 100 observations of the Moon. It is designed to help members improve their observing skills and expand their knowledge of the visible lunar surface. It is similar in some ways to the Messier Observing Program and it requires participants to go farther than the Lunar Observing Program. For example, prominent features like the Sea of Crises and Tycho Crater will be revisited, observing them in greater detail and/or in varied sun-lighting. New targets, such as the Cordillera Mountains have been added. Some observations will be relatively easy, such as finding and describing the Sea of Isles; others, like hunting domes and rilles will be more challenging and require greater observing skill. Participants will also create a small, basic map of the visible face of the Moon.
Requirements and Rules
This certification is available to members of the Astronomical League, either through their local astronomical society or as members at large. If you are not a member and would like to become one, check with your local astronomical society, search for a local society on the Astronomical League Website (click here), or join as a member at large (click here).
To earn a Lunar II Observing Program certificate and pin you must:
You may do this Observing Program visually or through imaging. To receive the imaging certification, you must meet all of the requirements using imaging. Your images may be submitted, but it is preferred that you post them on a webpage to be reviewed. You should include exposure information for the images and the number of images that were stacked. You may earn this certification both ways. You will receive two certificates, but only one pin will be awarded. The imaging awards wil have an "I" appended to the certif
3. Keep a detailed log of your observations.
a. Maintain a log similar to those required by most other League Observing Programs. Logs may be kept on paper or in an electronic file.
b. Notes for all observations should include:
- target name and/or number
- date and time (either local or UT)
- observing location(s) including Latitude and Longitude
- sky conditions including Seeing and Transparency
- equipment used (telescope and eyepiece, or telescope and camera)
Additionally, you should record:
- both formal and common names of each target, if applicable. For example, Mare Crisium is also called the "Sea of Crises".
- the lunar phase the observation was made at. Use either named phase (i.e., "waning gibbous moon") or lunation day (i.e., "16 day moon").
c. Log written descriptions and/or sketches, or images as specified in the target list. If you are not doing imaging, then written descriptions will be required for about three-quarters of your observations, and simple sketches will be required for the other one quarter. For the sketches, label any major feature your sketch includes, such as additional craters sketched, mountain chains or peaks, or other annotations that will explain certain features of the sketch, like "this area is very rough", or "top of crater has a flat ring". The goal here is to build observing and record keeping skills, not to make an artist of you.
4. Locate, identify, and observe individual lunar surface features personally. You may use telescopes with "Go To" capability or other forms of automation, provided that automation is not used for anything other than steering to the Moon itself. Computerized lunar charts are also permitted so long as they are not linked to identify features or to steer your telescope. Remote telescopes are permitted in this Observing Program.
Submitting for Certification
To submit for the Lunar II Observing Program certification:
1. Submit a COPY of your observing log or images to the Lunar II Observing Program Coordinator for review and certification (they will not be returned to you). You may send a printout, a scanned document, a text file, or image files.
2. Include your name, Lunar Observing Program certificate number (or mention your Lunar program submission), mailing address, email address, telephone number, and the name of your local astronomy club or society. If you are a Member at Large, identify your status.
3. Include if you are submitting for the imaging award. Indicate where the images canbe found for review.
4. If you wish to have your Lunar II Observing Program certificate and pin forwarded to your local club or society for presentation, please include the name and postal address of the person to send it to.
Upon verification of your submission and of your active membership in the Astronomical League, your recognition (certificate, pin, etc.) will be sent to you or to the awards coordinator for your society, as you specified. Your name will also appear in an upcoming issue of the Reflector magazine and in the Astronomical League’s on-line database. Congratulations. Good luck with your next observing challenge.
For questions, comments, or submissions, contact the Lunar II Observing Program Coordinator.
Lunar II Observing Program Coordinator:
P.O. Box 8607
Port Orchard, WA 98366
- The Astronomical League Web Store has a great manual available with information for all three AL Lunar Observing Programs. It is called Carpe Lunam, and is available here.
- There is a certificate available to those who have completed the Lunar Observing Program called the Lunar Evolution Certificate. For more information, go to the web page by clicking here.