Downloadable Certificates from the Astronomical League
These certificates are available to anyone organizing an event or any individual doing the appropriate activity. The downloadable certificates are:
To print a certificate that commemorates your very first view through a telescope, a PDF copy is located here that you can download and add your name, date and object observed to.
If you do a Messier Marathon, or if you are leading one for your astronomy club or community, we have provided a certificate to commemorate that accomplishment. A Messier Marathon is an event that attempts to see all 110 objects on Messier's list in one night. The first object is seen in evening twilight and the last object is seen in morning twilight.
The PDF certificate is available here. (print, copy and fill in the blanks)
The best time to do a Messier Marathon is mid-March to early April. It is best to do it when the moon is New, and obviously weekends are preferred. This list shows the preferred weekend for years to come:
|Year||New Moon||Preferred Weekend||Secondary Weekend|
|2014||March 30||March 29|
|2015||March 20||March 21|
|2016||March 9, April 7||March 12||April 5|
|2017||March 28||March 25||April 1|
|2018||March 17||March 17|
|2019||March 6, April 5||March 30||March 9|
|2020||March 24||March 21||March 28|
|2021||March 13||March 13|
|2022||March 2, April 1||April 2||March 5|
|2023||March 21||March 18||March 25|
|2024||March 10||March 9|
|2025||March 29||March 22||March 29|
We are all familiar with the Messier Marathon, but there are other challenges out there awaiting those who are willing to make the effort. Sky and Telescope Magazine came up with the idea and called it the Herschel Sprint. This is our take on it.
William Herschel was an amazing astronomer. He was able to use relatively good optics, but the mechanics of his telescopes was limited by today's standards. With his telescope, scanning only in declination, we was able to observe objects as they crossed his meridian. The goal of this challenge is to relive one special night when he discovered 74 objects in one night. To truly experience the event, use an eyepiece with a 15 to 20 arc-minute field and about 150 power. Once on the meridian, the purists will switch to manual telescope operation, only changing the declination as time progresses. To see them all will require a large telescope (14-inches or larger). Select a date when the first object transits about an hour after sunset.
|#||NGC #||Transit Delta Time|
The Herschel Hustle Certificate is available here. (print, copy and fill in the blanks)