Rising Star Observing Award

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The Rising Star Observing Award is designed specifically for the beginning observer. It will take
the beginning observer on an exciting journey through the heavens. The objectives of this award
are to help the beginning observer to:

❖ learn their way around the night sky,
❖ learn about some of the different types of objects in the Universe,
❖ gain experience using observing equipment,
❖ become familiar with the basics of astronomy,
❖ develop observing skills, and
❖ learn how to record astronomical observations.

Once a beginning observer has completed the Rising Star Observing Award they should be well
acquainted with the night sky and should be able to find their way among the stars throughout
the seasons. By completing this award program, the beginning observer will also be in a position
to know what types of objects interest them the most. The observer will then be ready to
continue to develop their observing skills on their own or follow-up with another HAA observing
award program.

Rising Star Observing Award Requirements
Find, identify and observe the required number from each object category:

Object Category# of objects requiredList of objects.
Option: Sketch what you see!!
Constellations12Aquila, Auriga, Bootes, Canis Major, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Corona Borealis, Cygnus, Gemini, Hercules, Leo, Lyra, Ophiuchus, Orion, Pegasus, Perseus, Sagittarius, Scorpius, Taurus, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Virgo
Planets4Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn
Planetary SatellitesAllEarth’s moon, Jupiter’s moons (4 – It is important to note the date and time of the observations of Jupiter’s moons)
StarsPolaris +
5 others
Acturus, Altair, Aldebaran, Antares, Betelgeuse, Capella, Deneb, Dubhe, Pollux, Regulus, Rigel, Sirius, Spica, Vega
Multiple Stars2Albireo, Almach, Castor, Mizar, Zubenelgenubi,
(include observations about their colour if possible)
Galaxy pairs1M31&M32, M65& M66, M81 & M82
Messier Objects4M4, M6, M7, M8, M11, M13, M35, M42, M44, M45
Other1Aurora, an Eclipse (moon or sun, partial or full), International Space Station, Meteor Shower

Optional Tasks:
1) Describe how you visually distinguish between an airplane, a satellite and a meteor.
2) Sketch the orientation of The Big Dipper relative to Polaris and the horizon on two different evenings, once in the winter and once in the summer, at roughly the same time of night and roughly 6 months apart.
3) Identify the same Constellation in a light polluted urban sky and in a relatively dark sky area. Count the number of stars.
4) If observing Galaxies or Messier objects with a telescope, attempt to view the object with at least 2 different levels of magnification and identify which level of magnification is preferable.

Rising Star Observing Award Rules and Regulations

Rule 1:

Determine the approximate sky location of an object independently using a paper or electronic chart and your unaided eye. Then locate and observe the object in binoculars or a telescope as appropriate.
Do not use mobile apps that you point at the sky and the app identifies the object for you.
Computerized devices such as a “Go-to” telescope or a mobile device guided scope (phone, tablet) cannot be used to actually find the object. “Go-To” scopes can be used in manual mode to locate an object BUT the scope MUST be in a manual mode which requires the user to locate the object without the aid of computerized aiming.
Once the object is found, a tracking mount or a “Go-To” scope’s tracking mode can be used to keep the object in the field of view while completing observations.

Rule 2

Visually observe the required objects and keep a record of observations.
Observation notes must include:
a) Date and Time of observations
b) Observing Location (distance from nearest town)
c) Sky conditions
d) Object identification
e) Description of equipment used
a. Binoculars i.e 8 x 56
b. Telescope aperture and focal length
c. Mount
f) Eyepiece used and Magnification obtained.
g) Use of filters
h) A description of the object as it appears in the eyepiece.
i) OPTIONAL: Sketch of the object in the Field of View
Once the observations have been completed, submit your results or observing log for examination by the H.A.A. Rising Star Observing Award Program Coordinator. Please fill out the Rising Star Observing Award submission form found below.
Upon confirmation of the completion of the Rising Star Observing Award requirements a numbered certificate will be presented or can be picked up at a future general meeting of the H.A.A. or sent out by mail. Be sure to indicate your choice on your submission form.

Rising Star Observing Award Submission Form (Download in PDF format)

Name as you would like to have it appear on the certificate:

Phone: ____________________________________________

Email: ____________________________________________

Address: ____________________________________________



I am submitting my observation information for the Rising Star Observing Award

______ I prefer to have my certificate presented at a general meeting of the H.A.A.

______ I prefer to pick up my certificate (no presentation) at a general meeting of the H.A.A.

______ I prefer to have my certificate mailed to me.

Certification: I certify that I have followed the rules of this program.