NASA Observing Challenges Special Awards

NASA Observing Challenge Special Award Coordinator:

Aaron Clevenson
19411 Cluster Oaks Drive
Humble, TX 77346-2918
Telephone: 281-852-4667








The Astronomical League has been working with NASA to bring you Observing Challenges.  These are opportunities to participate in events associated with space missions to objects within the Solar System or related to celestial events.  New opportunities will be added as new milestones for various missions or noteworthy celestial events occur.


Requirements and Rules

To earn the certification, you need to meet these requirements:

  • Image or sketch the required object(s)
  • Submit that image or sketch as indicated by that challenge.  These should show as much detail as possible.
  • Do an outreach activity associated with the event in the challenge
  • The deadline varies for each challenge and is typically one month after the event.  Late submissions will not be accepted.

You do not need to be a member of the Astronomical League to receive this certification.   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 or click here.

The certificates, which are suitable for framing will be emailed to you within a month after the deadline and may be printed by you .

Current NASA Observing Challenges:

  • James Webb Telescope - June 20 through July 20, 2022 (deadline for submission August 20, 2022)

To commemorate First Light and First Target for the James Webb Telescope, the Astronomical League is offering a new NASA Observing Challenge.  Since NASA is being quiet about the first official target for the telescope, we are using its First Light target as the target for this Observing Challenge: HD 84406 (also known as SAO 14987 or HIP 48034). 

This star is magnitude 6.94 and is located in Ursa Major.

In addition to the outreach activity about the James Webb Telescope, the challenge is to capture an image or make a sketch that shows this star (identified).  The image or sketch, with the star identified, along with information on the outreach activity, and other required information should be emailed to the Coordinator.

NASA Observing Challenges Special Awards Coordinator:

Aaron B. Clevenson
19411 Cluster Oaks Drive
Humble, TX 77346-2918
(281) 852-4667

Previous Challenges that have been included in the program are:

  • New Horizons rendezvous with Pluto on July 14, 2015 (deadline: August 14, 2015).
  • Comet Siding Spring rendezvous with Mars on October 19, 2014 (deadline:  November 19, 2015).
  • Rosetta Spacecraft rendezvous with Comet Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko on November 11, 2014 (deadline: January 12, 2015).
  • TESS - Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (deadline: July 31,2018)
  • Mars InSight Mission - landing is scheduled for 11/26/2018 (deadline: December 31, 2018)
  • Apollo - 50th Anniversary (deadline: August 31, 2019)
  • Mercury Transit of the Sun (deadline: December 11, 2019)
  • Landing of the Perseverance Rover on Mars (deadline: March 18, 2021)