Explore the Universe Online

Join us online as we Explore the Universe together!

Did you know The RASC has observing certificate programs? If you see specific astronomical objects, you can receive a certificate and pin for your accomplishments!

Astronomy author and RASC Halifax member John Read, and RASC Outreach Coordinator Jenna Hinds will be hosting bi-weekly sessions to guide you through the Explore the Universe Observing Program. We'll explain how to find targets, give you tips on observing, and may even have some extra tricks up our sleeves depending on social distancing regulations.

Check back here to find resources to help you complete the program, links to helpful videos, and anything else you might need! You do not need to be a RASC member to participate!

 

 

Program Schedule

Each session will cover the proceeding 2 weeks of observing targets, with suggested observing dates to be able to see all the targets we cover.

Date

Topic

June 25th

Get Familiar With the Basics

Join us as we launch our new series! In our first session we will introduce the Explore the Universe program and discuss our very first targets. We'll also go over a few observing tips to help you get familiar with navigating around the night sky and using your binoculars.

Our first targets will be mostly Moon targets and constellations that you may even already be able to find. Highlights include Mare Tranquilitatis on the Moon (where Apollo 11 landed) and a double star in the Big Dipper's handle.

This Session's Targets and How to Find Them

July 9th

Introduction to DSOs

We're dialling up the challenge this week! We're going to introduce you to the wonderful world of Deep Sky Objects. We'll show you a few more tricks for navigating and finding constellations, but our main focus will be on some easy-to-spot clusters of stars, and the Lagoon Nebula!

This Session's Targets and How to Find Them

Join our Discord server!

Set up Stellarium to show you Comet NEOWISE

July 23rd

Summer Triangle

This week we're looking for the constellations that make up the Summer Triangle, an easy-to-find asterism in our night sky. We'll also look at a few more objects on the Moon, and if you're feeling adventurous you can try to spot Jupiter and Saturn right next to the Moon too.

This Session's Targets and How to Find Them

August 6th

Perseids and Deep Sky Objects

It's the Perseids Meteor Shower! This week we will be passing through a cloud of dust left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle, which means we'll have the chance to see shooting stars.

We have lots of Deep Sky Objects on the list for this week, which will be perfect targets to take a look for while you're out watching the meteor shower.

This Session's Targets and How to Find Them

August 20th

Lunar Gems

This week we are catching the Moon early in its cycle, which means we have the opportunity to spot quite a few craters. We'll be seeking out the diamond ring crater this week!

Just before our next session, the Moon will be full, so we also have some more maria to show you this week.

This Session's Targets and How to Find Them

September 3rd

Double Stars

Mars and the Moon are getting close this week! Once you spot those in the next couple days, we'll be on the hunt for a little bit of everything, and a lot of double stars. We're going to focus on the particular challenge that double stars can present and give you tips for figuring out what you're looking at when you look for them!

This Session's Targets and How to Find Them

September 17th

Autumn Equinox

Happy Fall Equinox! We'll spend this session talking a bit about what equinoxes and solstices actually are, and will then jump into some lunar targets. Later in the week we will see another Jupiter-Saturn-Moon conjunction too, so get ready to check it out!

This Session's Targets and How to Find Them

October 1st

Mars and the Planets

It's a great week for some planetary observing! Mars is at opposition, which means it'll be big and bright and beautiful as we come between it and the Sun. This only happens about once every two years, so seize the day and let's look at Mars!

October 15th

Zodiacal Light

We're catching a few last targets and going over some previous ones that you may have missed from earlier in this series. We're going to do our best to see the Zodiacal Light this week too. You need a very specific set of conditions to be able to see it, which makes it one of the most challenging targets on the list!

October 29th

Winter Observing

As we wrap up our series, we'll go over a few easy winter targets to get you started on your next season of observing. Join us to take a look at rising winter favourites such as Orion, Taurus, the Pleiades and the Orion Nebula. We will also take lots of time for questions in this session before sending you off on your next observing adventure!

 

Helpful links

Topic

Links

Discord Server

Join our Explore the Universe Discord chat! We'll be using the space to share observations, experiences, answer questions, and all sorts of other stuff.

Calendar

Get access to the Google Calendar listing each session's targets and individual observing nights here.

Workbooks

Print-at-home logbook PDF

50 Things to See with a Telescope: Activity Workbook on Amazon.ca

RASC-specific workbook coming shortly, stay tuned!

Program tools

Explore the Universe main page

Explore the Universe Program Guide (French)

Logbook pages left and right

Helpful Books

Observer's Handbook 2020

Explore the Universe

50 Things to See on the Moon

Nightwatch

Helpful Videos and Articles

Choosing Binoculars

Become a Better Observer: Sketch!

Tips for Beginning (and Not-So-Beginning) Astronomers

Apps and Websites

Simon J Astronomy's List of ALL Explore the Universe targets and extra info you may be curious about!

Stellarium

Spot the Station - ISS Sightings for your region

Heaven's Above - make sure to set your location in the top right!

Astrospheric

Robert Conrad's list of introductory astronomy resources!

 

Author: 
jennahinds
Last modified: 
Thursday, September 17, 2020 - 11:22am