Prior Challenges and Special Observing Awards

These awards are no longer active.  They had specific dates by which they were to be completed.  This page is provided for members who are interested in those past awards.  Additional ones will be added as they are completed.

You may review the entire list, or jump to specific types of awards.

NASA

NASA Observing Challenges

  • New Horizons rendezvous with Pluto on July 14, 2015 (deadline: August 14, 2015).
    • Observe Pluto.
    • Image or sketch Pluto.
    • Do an outreach event.
  • Comet Siding Spring rendezvous with Mars on October 19, 2014 (deadline:  November 19, 2015).
    • Observe Mars.
    • Image or sketch Mars.
    • Do an outreach event.
  • Rosetta Spacecraft rendezvous with Comet Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko on November 11, 2014 (deadline: January 12, 2015).
    • Observe Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasinemko.
    • Image or sketch the comet.
    • Do an outreach event.
  • TESS – Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (deadline: July 31,2018)
    • Observe any star that is on the list of stars with known exoplanets.
    • Image or sketch the star.
    • Do an outreach event.
  • Mars InSight Mission – landing is scheduled for 11/26/2018 (deadline: December 31, 2018)
    • Observe the Landing Site on Mars for the InSight Mission.
    • Image or sketch the observation.
    • Do an outreach event.
  • Apollo – 50th Anniversary (deadline: August 31, 2019)
    • Observe the six Apollo Mission Landing Sites.
    • Image or sketch the Landing Sites.
    • Do an outreach event.
  • Mercury Transit of the Sun (deadline: December 11, 2019)
    • Observe the Transit.
    • Image or sketch the Transit.
    • Do an outreach event.
  • Landing of the Perseverance Rover on Mars (deadline: March 18, 2021)
    • Observe the Landing Site on Mars for the Perseverance Rover.
    • Image or sketch the site.
    • Do an outreach event.
  • James Webb Telescope (deadline: July 20, 2022)
    • Observe the alignment star that was used by the telescope:  HD 84406 (also known as SAO 14987 or HIP 48034)
    • Image or sketch the star.
    • Do an outreach event.

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AL

AL Observing Challenges

  1. The Great Conjunction Observing Challenge(deadline: February 21, 2021)
    • Observe the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter.
    • Image or sketch the conjunction.
    • Do an outreach event.
  2. 2021 Observe The Moon Challenge (deadline: October 16, 2021)
    • Naked-Eye Observation List:
      • Mare Crisium
      • Mare Fecunditatis
      • Mare Frigoris
      • Mare Imbrium
      • Mare Nectaris
      • Mare Nubium
      • Mare Serenitatis
      • Mare Tranquillitatis
      • Crater CopernicusCrater Tycho
      • Crater Rays – Crater Copernicus
      • The Woman in the Moon
    • Image or sketch the observations.
    • Do an Outreach Event.
  3. The AL 75th Year Anniversary Observing Challenge (deadline: December 31, 2021)
    • Requirements are the same as the Jupiter Observing Program, with these additions.
      • It had to be done in 2021, the year of the 75th anniversary.
      • Do an outreach event.
  4. Astronomical League Galaxy Season Observing Challenge(deadline: June 30, 2022)
  5. Astronomical League Globular Cluster Observing Challenge (deadline: October 31, 2022)
  6. 2022 Observe the Moon Observing Challenge(deadline: November 9, 2022)
    • Binocular Observation List:
      • Mare Crisium
      • Mare Fecunditatis
      • Mare Frigoris
      • Mare Nectaris
      • Mare Tranquilitatis
      • Mare Serenitatis
      • Sinus Asperitatis
      • Lacus Somniorum
      • Lacus Temporis
      • Crater Copernicus
      • Crater Tycho
      • Crater Theophilus
      • Crater Aristoteles
      • Crater Endymion
      • Crater Langrenus
    • Image or sketch the observations.
    • Do an outreach event.
  7. Astronomical League – Moons Observing Challenge (deadline: December 31, 2022)
    • Required targets:
      • The Moon
      • Io
      • Europa
      • Ganymede
      • Callisto
      • Titan
      • Rhea
      • Iapetus
      • Dione
      • Tethys
      • Enceladus
      • Mimas
    • Optional targets:
      • Phobos
      • Deimos
      • Titania
      • Obervon
      • Umbriel
      • Ariel
      • Miranda
      • Triton
  8. Astronomical League – Galaxy Observing Challenge 2.0 (deadline: July 15, 2023)
  9. Astronomical League – 2023 Observe the Moon Challenge (deadline: November 21, 2023.)
      • To complete the challenge, locate and observe the 20 objects on this target list:

                          Craters:

          1. Albategnius
          2. Atlas
          3. Cassini
          4. Catharina
          5. Cleomedes
          6. Cyrillus
          7. Endymion
          8. Eudoxus
          9. Fracastorius
          10. Hercules
          11. Macrobius
          12. Picard
          13. Piccolomini
          14. Plinius
          15. Posidonius

                          Other Features:

          1. Lacus Mortis
          2. Mons Hadley
          3. Rupes Altai
          4. Rima Hyginus
          5. Vallis Alpes
      • An Observation should include this information:
        • Date and Time of the observation.
        • Location where you did the observation.
        • Sketch or image those 20 objects.
      • Do an outreach activity related to the Moon and the International Observe the Moon Night.

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Transit

Transits

·Transit of Venus 2004

  • Calculate the distance to Venus.
  • Calculate the value for the A.U.
  • Calculate Venus’ Orbital Period.
  • Calculate the mass of the Sun.
  • Detect the Venusian Atmosphere.
  • Get the timings for the four Contacts.
  • Do an Outreach Event.

·Transit of Venus 2012

  • Observe the Transit using one of these methods:
    • Pinhole Projection.
    • Eyepiece Projection.
    • Solar Sunglasses.
    • Binoculars with a Solar Filter.
    • Telescope with a Solar Filter.
    • A Solar Telescope.
    • #14 Welder’s Glass.
  • Sketch the observation.
  • Calculate the value of the A.U.
  • Do an Outreach Event.

·Transit of Mercury 2016

  • Calculate the distance from Mercury to the Sun.
  • Observe the contacts.
  • Measure the Parallax Angle.
  • Calculate the distance between the two Observing Stations.
  • Calculate the value of the A.U.

·Transit of Mercury 2019

  • Calculate the oblateness of the Sun.
  • Calculate the oblateness of Mercury.
  • Calculate the inclination of Mercury’s Orbital Path.
  • Calculate Mercury’s Orbital Period.
  • Calculate Mercury’s Orbital Velocity.
  • Answer 4 questions:
    1. Why do you think The Sun would have such a small oblateness?
    2. Why do you think the planet Mercury would have such a small oblateness?
    3. Of the assumptions that we made, which one do you think caused the largest error in the calculations of Mercury’s orbital period?
    4. What might be the cause for error in calculating Mercury’s orbital inclination?

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AL-Con

AL-Con 2019 – Binocular Observing Challenge

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Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipses

·2017 Eclipse

  • Observe the Solar Eclipse if you can.
  • Sketch or image what you see.
  • Calculate the deflection of stars that appear very close to the Sun during the Total Solar Eclipse.
  • Do an Outreach Activity about the Solar Eclipse.

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