The Moon is by far the most detailed astronomical object to observe through a telescope and the comprehensive Isabel Williamson Lunar Observing Program (IWLOP) will guide you through a complete tour of our near neighbour's incredible surface. The tour includes many outstanding craters, mountains, valleys, scarps, ridges, and more, not only showing you how they appear, but also describing the history of their formation over four billion years. The RASC Observing Committee created the IWLOP in 2006 as a certificate program for intermediate-to-advanced observers; since then, more than a dozen RASC members have earned their IWLOP certificates and many have provided constructive comments, leading to several minor revisions and corrections in 2013, plus one important revision in 2015 regarding the craters Jansen and Janssen.
IWLOP guide (Revised 3nd Edition, 2015)
The IWLOP is an educational experience, including a detailed guide with key information about the lunar surface and how to observe it. The guide begins with an overview that outlines the required objectives for earning the certificate, and includes extra optional activities such as challenge objectives, lunar sketching, lunar astrophotography, craters with Canadian connections, and the Lunar 1000 Challenge. A detailed history of the Moon follows, including the various eras that have shaped its surface. Several types of lunar surface feature is described, along with their unique observable characteristics. The Foreword by David Levy is a testimonial to Isabel Williamson herself, a mentor to David and many other RASC observers, and for whom the program is named.
How to Obtain a Program Guide
Anyone (RASC member or not) may freely download the IWLOP guide (1 MB pdf). Also available are the IWLOP Deluxe Observing Forms (1.8 MB) (Feel free to print these materials for personal use, and please note that they are copyrighted by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.) For convenience, printed copies of the IWLOP guide are available at the RASC eStore for $9.95 plus tax and shipping (within Canada, see eStore for other destinations). Contact the Society Office to arrange a reduced price for bulk orders.
How to Apply for the Certificate
RASC members who have have completed the required objectives of the IWLOP may apply for a certificate as follows: Download and complete the PDF application form:
IWLOP certificate application (241 kB).
Present your application and observing records to your Centre Executive for validation. Two executive signatures are required on the application form, which should then be sent to the Observing Chair. Alternatively, any member (especially an Unattached Member) may send an application and a suitable copy of observing records directly to the Observing Chair (by arrangement, files maybe sent electronically in a mutually agreeable format). Sending an original logbook is acceptable, at the applicant's risk, but not recommended!
The official atlas of the IWLOP is Rükl's Atlas of the Moon, now out of print, but available on the used market (check your public library for a copy). We offer this online substitute, based on the Rükl atlas: Hypertextual Moon Atlas
Charles Woods' "The Modern Moon: A Personal View" is an excellent resource for the certificate.
More on Isabel K. Williamson JRASC 94, 201 (2000)