Monthly Observing Challenge
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The Monthly Observing Challenge is a project put together by Andrew Durick (astro_south) and myself, as a way to get people out under the stars, observing with a purpose.

Each month, we will have a list of 6 objects (galaxy, open cluster, globular cluster, nebula, planetary nebula, double/multiple star) that are in a favourable position to observe in that month. The objects aren't necessarily a challenge to find, the challenge part of the project is actually describing (via taking notes) or sketching what it is you see through the eyepiece.

The objects chosen will be able to be observed by all sizes and shapes of telescope, and at most times binoculars too. We won't be listing objects that require 18" of aperture to find!

If you haven't taken notes or done any sketching before, don't be afraid to try it. What have you got to lose? You'll be amazed at how much more detail you bring out when you're actually trying to describe or draw what you see.

Observing is a skill, and like any skill, takes time to master. This is one way to help you hone those skills and in the end, be a better observer. You can download the IceInSpace Observing Log Template (40k PDF) to take your notes and draw your sketches on.

Also see this guide (COMING SOON!) for some hints and tips on observing and describing what it is you see.

To ensure our contingent of Deep-Space Astrophotographers isn't left out, their challenge is to image each of the 6 objects that month.

There will be a sticky thread in the Space & Astronomy Talk forum for the observing reports/sketches of each of the challenge objects, as well as a sticky thread for each in the Deep Space astrophotography forum for images to be posted.

Join in and be a part of this! It's a bit of fun that has the added benefit of teaching people skills they might not have learnt, and showing people objects they may not have seen otherwise.

Click on the links below to go to the current month, or one of the archived months.

Current Month

Challenge Objects - December 2005

Archives

Challenge Objects - November 2005
Challenge Objects - October 2005
Challenge Objects - September 2005
Challenge Objects - August 2005
Challenge Objects - July 2005
Challenge Objects - June 2005
Challenge Objects - May 2005