Many beginners are ready to plunk down their money and purchase a new telescope without ever studying the night sky. Most seasoned observers will caution beginners with the advice, "Why not try a pair of good binoculars first?" There's a good reason for this. First of all, much of the night sky can be explored without a tremendous outlay of cash, but good binoculars of good optical quality can be expensive as well. Astra promises you that you won't need a $600 binocular to observe this group of objects.
The binocular group will give you a sample of just what can be seen with a pair of binoculars. Binoculars can help beginners to learn the night sky. It takes a little determination, star charts and patience to discover the constellations and the star patterns that amazed our ancestors. The prize showpieces for binoculars are open and globular star cluster, though some galaxies lend themselves to binoculars, as well. Especially a larger pair that you'll want to place on a solid observing platform or tripod.
Be warned, this list contains some abbreviations that Astra is not going to explain to you. Standard abbreviations for constellations and objects are used ( i.e., OC = Open Cluster.) Coordinates for these objects will be published at a later date. If anything really confuses you, use Astra'a contact page to ask me directly.
Astra has chosen a sampling of some of the binocular observations you can make. This list is arranged in a "seasonal" order, that you will understand if you start to use this list. Below the list is an observing form that you can use to track your own observations. To best enjoy the challenge, download the pdf document at Astra's: CELESTIAL OBSERVING CHALLENGE. In addition to observing forms, there is also a certificate of completion for those using the program for their youth group or astronomy club.
Astra's Celestial Challenge - Links to the pages for all the groups
|M 6 -OC - SCO||M 36 - OC - AUR|
|M 7 - OC - SCO||M 37 - OC - AUR|
|M 17 - Neb - SGR "Omega"||M 38 -OC - AUR|
|M 8 Neb - SGR "Trifid"
|M 20 Neb - SGR "Lagoon"||M 44 - OC - CNC "Beehive"|
|M 13 - GC - HER||Como Star Cluster|
|Sagittarius Star Cloud||Andromeda Galaxy|
|Scutum Star Cloud||M 45 Pleiades|
|Double Cluster - OC - PER|
|MOON||M 33 - Galaxy - TRI|
ASTRA'S STARGATE OBSERVING CHALLENGE
|Observation Report Form|
|M 6 - OC - SCO||_______||_______________________________________________|
|M 7 - OC - SCO||_______||_______________________________________________|
|M 8 - Neb - SGR - "Lagoon"||_______||_______________________________________________|
|M 13 - GC - HER||_______||_______________________________________________|
|M 20 - Neb - SGR - "Trifid"||_______||_______________________________________________|
|M 22 - GC - SGR||_______||_______________________________________________|
Sagittarius Star Cloud
|Scutum Star Cloud||_______||_______________________________________________|
|Double Cluster - OCs - PER
|M 45 - OC - TAU - Pleiades||_______||______________________________________________|
|M 42 Neb ORI||_______||______________________________________________|
|M 44 - OC - Behive|
|Como Star Cluster||_______||______________________________________________|
|IC 4756 Star Cluster OPH||_______||______________________________________________|
Last Modified 01/24/2023