Observing Certificate Programs Offered by the RASC

booklet.jpeg The RASC offers seven observing certificate programs for members to promote active observing. By successfully completing these programs, members are eligible for an official certificate from the RASC. Observing certificate programs are a great way to challenge yourself, learn more about the night sky, and get the most out of our challenging and rewarding hobby.

  • Explore the Universe Certificate - A program for the new astronomer covering all major astronomical objects, including constellations, bright stars, the Moon, deep-sky objects, and double stars. Suitable for both binoculars and telescopes. This certificate is available to all, whether an RASC member or not.
  • Explore the Moon - a beginner-level program based on the RASC Observer's Handbook lunar observing content, intended for those starting to observe with binoculars and/or telescopes.
  • Messier Certificate - Take a stroll through astronomical history as you follow Charles Messier's 18th-century journey through the northern skies. His famous list of 110 "not comets" includes some of the most spectacular objects visible from mid-northern latitudes.
  • Finest NGC Certificate - A slightly more difficult list for the experienced observer, developed by SkyNews Magazine Associate Editor Alan Dyer. The Finest NGC list includes a further 110 objects, mainly from the New General Catalogue.
  • Isabel Williamson Lunar Certificate - The RASC's lunar observing program for intermediate-to-advanced observers. It includes a comprehensive list of the best features visible on the surface of the Moon and detailed observing notes and explanations that will guide you through a complete tour of the amazing surface of our nearest neighbour in space.
  • Deep-Sky Gems - A lengthy list containing many interesting, plus a few challenging, objects for all observers.
  • Deep-Sky Challenge - These 45 objects challenge even experienced observers and require the use of both small wide-field instruments as well as large aperture to complete.

Certificate earners of note:

In 2017, Vance Petriew of Regina completed all of the requirements for the Explore the Universe certificate, plus he observed all of the variable stars, where nobody else has ever recorded observing a single variable star, a comet (Comet Petriew), an asteroid (Vesta with the unaided eye), Pluto where almost nobody else has ever even reported seeing Uranus, and the gegenschein and zodiacal light where nobody else has ever reported the zodiacal light. A great accomplishment!

The RASC's observing certificate programs are supported and managed by the Observing Committee.

Last modified: 
Wednesday, June 14, 2017 - 2:25pm