Proposing A New Observing Program


Do you have an idea for an observing program that the Astronomical League should offer to its members? And, you are willing to develop and maybe even act as coordinator? You have come to the right place.

The first thing you should do is check out the list to see if someone is already working on a program on that topic. The easiest way to do that is to contact one of the National Observing Program Coordinators: Aaron Clevenson, Cliff Mygatt,Al Lamperti, or Maynard Pittendreigh.
Then understand how the process works…
New programs are reviewed and approved by the AL Council at an annual convention (ALCON), typically held in July or August. Submissions must be made to the AL Council through the AL National Observing Program Directors at least a month before the convention. This gives time for the AL Secretary to add your proposal to the agenda for the meeting of the AL Council and gives time for members of the Council to review your proposal and to be prepared for the meeting. It also gives them time to ask questions and it gives you time to make any changes that they recommend. A proposed program must be a complete package when it is submitted.
New programs must add to the existing observing program. This might be a program that explores a new class of objects or one that investigates a new feature of the universe. More advanced forms of existing programs are also an option (Lunar II, Herschel II, etc.). Some overlap with objects in existing programs is acceptable, but it should be as small as possible. The new program must also be of interest to a large group of the membership. It should be comprised of objects that would be accessible to members using their backyard telescopes.
The AL National Observing Program Directorss are available to help you throughout the process.  Please contact one of them through email, and they will work with you towards successful adoption of your new club.

Here are the Steps to Submit a Proposal

  1. Identify your idea for a new AL observing program.
  2. Check with a National Observing Program Director to see if that program is already under development.
  3. Submit your idea to one of the AL National Observing Program Directors. They will add it to the list of Observing Programs being developed and will communicate it to the AL Officers.
  4. Develop your list of objects. This list varies from program to program, but the typical program has about 100 observations. You should note the object’s designation, common name (if it has one), constellation, rights ascension, declination, object type (whatever is appropriate for your list), magnitude, and any other pertinent information about the object (class, classification, color, etc.).
  5. Fill in the Observing Program Proposal form. This form will provide all of the information that is required by the AL Council to make a decision on the new Observing Program.
  6. Develop the manual if you plan to have one. See the information on AL Manual Publication. Manuals are a benefit to the participants, the observing program, and the Astronomical League.
  7. Work with the AL National Observing Program Directors as needed.
  8. Create the content for your Observing Program’s page on the AL website.
  9. Submit your proposal to the AL National Observing Program Directors at least a month before the annual convention. This submission should include:
  • The Observing Program Proposal form
  • Your list of objects
  • The proposed pin design
  • The proposed web page contents. 
  • Any additional documentation needed to consider your Observing Program

This must be submitted through one of the AL National Observing Program Directors.

  • The proposal will be reviewed and the AL Council will make a decision at the annual convention. You are encouraged to attend and present the case for the new program at their meeting. If you do not attend, we will represent you as best as possible. If you plan to attend, please contact the AL Secretary to coordinate. There are three possible outcomes: 

  1. They will accept the proposal,

  2. They will defer the decision pending additional information or changes, or

  3. They will decline to add the new program. 

Their decision will be given to the AL National Observing Program Directors who will forward it on to you. Normally, if additional information or changes are required, the Observing Program will be reconsidered at the following annual convention.

  • After the Observing Program is approved, additional information will be provided regarding the ordering of pins and manuals. These are ordered through the Astronomical League’s National Office to take advantage of quantity discounts.

We look forward to your submission. Please contact one of us if you have any questions.


National Observing Program Directors

Aaron Clevenson
19411 Cluster Oaks Drive
Humble, TX 77346-2918
  Cliff Mygatt
P. O. Box 8607
Port Orchard, WA 98366
Al Lamperti
112 Pebble Beach Drive
Royersford, PA 19468
  Maynard Pittendreigh
3208 Little Oak Way
Orlando, Florida 32812
Marie Lott
2836 Rangewood Ter NE
Atlanta GA 30345-1581
(404) 941-5688



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