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planethollywood
2003-May-24, 09:30 AM
A question to the more experienced astronomers here.

What sort of challanges would you guys set for amatuer astronomers?
maybe in the way boy scouts earn their badges?

Example
"I just earned my Great Orion Nebula Badge".
or
"I just earned my calculate mass of an astroroid badge"

Thanks..

ToSeek
2003-May-24, 01:18 PM
- Identify at least half-a-dozen constellations.
- Name the nine planets.
- Be able to identify which way north is just by looking at the stars.
- Be able to locate notable astronomical objects (Pleiades, M31, Orion Nebula, etc.)
- Identify key features of the Moon's surface
- Determine where Apollo 11 landed on the Moon

Is that a good start?

kilopi
2003-May-24, 02:29 PM
- Identify at least half-a-dozen constellations.
These are fairly easy to pick out:
Ursa Major (which includes the Big Dipper)
Orion
Ursa Minor (which includes the Little Dipper and North Star)
Cassiopeia
Crux (for those lucky enough to be able to see it)
(insert your personal favorite here)
Cygnus, Lyra, and Aquila (which contain the three stars of the "summer triangle")
Sagittarius (which contains the center of our galaxy)
Taurus
Canis Major (which contains Sirius, the brightest star in the sky)

OK, that's a dozen.


- Name the nine planets.

And be reasonably familiar with where they are in the sky at the moment, so you could confidently say whether one particular point of light was a star, or Jupiter or Saturn or Venus or Mars or even Mercury.


- Be able to identify which way north is just by looking at the stars.

I think that ToSeek is talking about more than just knowing how to find Polaris--but that may require even more familiarity with the stars.


- Be able to locate notable astronomical objects (Pleiades, M31, Orion Nebula, etc.)

I included Taurus in the list of constellations partly because the Pleiades makes it so easy to find. M31, the Andromeda galaxy, is the farthest object that can be seen with the naked eye, and makes it worth knowing how to find the constellations Andromeda and Pegasus (the Great Square of Pegasus (http://www.astro.uiuc.edu/~kaler/sow/peg-square-p.html) can be easy to find--but remember, part of it is in Andromeda!)


- Identify key features of the Moon's surface

Mare Crisium (Sea of Crises)
Mare Tranquilitatis (Sea of Tranquility)
Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity)
Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms)
Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains)
The crater Tycho

That's your half-a-dozen (http://www.glyphweb.com/esky/moons/moon.html). :)


- Determine where Apollo 11 landed on the Moon

Sea of Tranquility (http://www.lpi.usra.edu/expmoon/Apollo11/A11_lsite.html)


Is that a good start?
Beautiful.

nebularain
2003-May-24, 02:41 PM
And once again we must bow to the Grand Master of the Board for his wonderful display of geniousness!

kilopi
2003-May-24, 04:05 PM
ToSeek, you want to write a book? I think Neb would provide a nice blurb for us. :)

Glom
2003-May-24, 05:31 PM
Get a badge for remembering a red taped flashlight.

BCstargazerr
2003-May-24, 06:18 PM
I think a challenge for any amateur would be to see M31(andromeda galaxy) and/or M13 (star cluster in Hercules) with the naked eye...it depends a lot on the quality or darkness of your sky. for the less experimented, try to see ALL the major stars of Ursa Minor (little dipper). have fun :D

planethollywood
2003-May-25, 06:38 AM
thanks guys, i'm putting your suggestion together into 2 forum info sheets one for southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere. even if only its for self gratification , it will give us newbies goals and a sense of acheivement. in the end hopefully alot more knowledgeable.

But keep the suggestions coming in! :lol:

kilopi
2003-May-25, 12:21 PM
What are forum info sheets?

ToSeek
2003-May-25, 01:50 PM
ToSeek, you want to write a book? I think Neb would provide a nice blurb for us. :)

Isn't there already an "Idiot's Guide to Astronomy?" ;)

kilopi
2003-May-25, 02:31 PM
There has to be, I think. Let's see, there's Astronomy For Dummies (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0764551558/102-5167960-7444111?vi=glance), The Complete Idiot's Guide to Astronomy (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0028621204/idiotbooks-20/102-5167960-7444111), and Teach Yourself Astronomy (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0844239038/idiotbooks-20/102-5167960-7444111), which is by the redoubtable Patrick Moore. I think there's room for one more.

I think we should call it The Not-so-stupid Person's Guide to Astronomy, there's gotta be a decent number of potential customers there.

Duane534
2003-May-25, 02:57 PM
- Name the nine planets.

I thought popular opinion stated that Pluto wasn't a planet.

informant
2003-May-25, 03:12 PM
Popular opinion seems to be split. See here (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4016) and here (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4012). :-?

kilopi
2003-May-25, 03:25 PM
I thought popular opinion stated that Pluto wasn't a planet.
I think that popular opinion has it that Pluto is a planet, but a few BHAs tried to change that. They were foiled by popular opinion. :)

The polls that informant linked to on this BABB are split pretty evenly.

ToSeek
2003-May-25, 03:41 PM
I think we should call it The Not-so-stupid Person's Guide to Astronomy, there's gotta be a decent number of potential customers there.

How about "The Bad Newbie's Guide to Astronomy"? Of course, only about a thousand people will understand the title.

ToSeek
2003-May-25, 03:43 PM
a few BHAs

BHAs? (http://anecdotage.com/index.php?aid=4770)

kilopi
2003-May-25, 03:48 PM
How about "The Bad Newbie's Guide to Astronomy"? Of course, only about a thousand people will understand the title.
And we'd probably get sued. :)

planethollywood
2003-May-28, 01:39 PM
thanks people. I'm putting your suggestions together and I'll post them to my web site for all the newbies out there....


thanks again.

frenat
2003-May-28, 05:22 PM
How about the requirements of the Boy Scout merit badge (http://www.meritbadge.com/bsa/mb/022.htm)?

http://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/tlresources/clipart/BSAMERIT/images/Astronomy.JPG

gethen
2003-May-28, 07:25 PM
My son earned that badge 15 years ago. Didn't know it was still in use.

aurorae
2003-May-28, 09:48 PM
A question to the more experienced astronomers here.

What sort of challanges would you guys set for amatuer astronomers?


The Astronomical League (sort of like a federation of US Astronomy Clubs) has a wonderful set of observing programs, and they give out certificates for completion.

See:
http://www.astroleague.org/

Most US astro clubs belong to the League, and if you join your local club you probably will get membership in the League automatically. If not, you can join the League as an individual.

Josh_imported
2003-May-29, 06:27 AM
I think it's great that merit badge is still around. I worked on it nearly 20 years ago at camp (Wolfeboro in California). That Moon observation requirement listed at the top of the web page helped me to visualize how the position of the Moon in its orbit generates its phases. Reading it as a fact is one thing, but making sketches and coming to the realization yourself is vastly different. It really opened the eyes of a 13-year-old. I wonder how many scouts work on it these days.

planethollywood
2003-May-30, 07:51 AM
thanks for the link aurorae, i'll put it in the reference section..

keep them comin people, all good stuff.. :lol:

kilopi
2003-May-30, 12:05 PM
Here's a website (http://edu-observatory.org/eo/aurora.html) that I picked up on sci.astro.amateur. Last night, its graphic showed the extent of aurora storm. Interestingly, it appeared that we down here in NC (lat 36) were right at the edge, but so also were my folks in northern WY (lat 45). I guess we're just closer to the magnetic pole. Or something.

kilopi
2003-Jun-14, 04:14 PM
Let's see, there's Astronomy For Dummies (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0764551558/102-5167960-7444111?vi=glance)
I just noticed, here (http://www.badastronomy.com/amazon.html), that the BA is the technical editor for that book.

glen chapman
2003-Jun-15, 01:41 AM
For the southern Hemisphere observers. Locate South by using the constellation of Crux.

Identify and observe 47 Tucana naked eye.

Identify and observe the Large and Small Magellenic clouds.

Identify the string of dark nebula described as the 'Emu' in Aborginal myth.

If you need more - let me know.

Glen

The Supreme Canuck
2003-Jun-15, 01:59 AM
We could be mean to the southern hemisphere... all of you in Australia, find Polaris!

nebularain
2003-Jun-15, 02:51 AM
No, no, no....

That question is on the list of the Idiot test.