Observing: Get with the Program

The RASC national office offers seven observing programs to promote active observing and has recently released videos about these programs that you can watch in this playlist.

The complete list of programs includes:

  • Explore the Universe — A program for the novice observer, covering all major astronomical objects, including constellations, bright stars, the Moon, the Solar System, deep-sky objects, and double stars. (Open to members and non-members).
  • Explore the Moon — An introductory lunar observing program based on 100 features in the RASC Observer’s Handbook.
  • Messier Catalogue — Follow Charles Messier’s 18th-century journey through the northern skies by observing his famous list of 110 “not comets,” including galaxies, nebula, clusters, and other deep-sky objects.
  • Finest NGC Objects — A slightly more challenging deep-sky program of 110 deep-sky objects for the intermediate observer
  • Isabel Williamson Lunar Observing Program — The RASC’s intermediate-level lunar observing program, more thorough than Explore the Moon, requiring a mid-sized telescope (150+ mm).
  • Deep-Sky Gems — An advanced list of 154 deep-sky objects (mostly galaxies) selected from David Levy’s 40+ years of comet hunting.

Observing programs are a great way to learn more about the night sky, challenge yourself, and to get the most out of our rewarding hobby. By successfully completing a program, a RASC member may apply for an official certificate for that program (non-members may apply for the Explore the Universe certificate). Several certificates come with lapel pins.