Explore the Universe

Explore the Universe—an introductory observing program

Explore the Universe LogoIn 2020 we ran this observing program online! Click here to find out more.

Explore the Universe (awarded since 2002) is aimed at the novice visual astronomer. Those who complete the program may apply for a certificate and pin—this is open to all, RASC members and non-members alike. This program will:

  • Stimulate an interest in observational astronomy.
  • Introduce good observing practices and techniques.
  • Provide an introduction to all aspects of visual astronomy including stars and constellations, lunar, Solar System, deep sky, double stars, and some optional activities, including variable stars.
  • Encourage active observing programs in RASC Centres.

One of the special features of this program is that it can be completed entirely using binoculars and the unaided eye. 

If you choose to use a telescope note that automatic (GoTo) functions are not to be used.

A choice of objects is provided so that you can start the program at any time of the year and easily complete the requirements in three to six months time. Handy recording and application forms are available from a link at the bottom of this page.

Want to get started? Download the Explore the Universe program requirements and start your observing program today!

Téléchargez le programme Explorez l’Univers en français et débutez vos observations dès aujourd’hui.

If you are looking for a guide to getting started, consider purchasing the Explore the Universe Guide (2nd Edition) in the RASC store.

Here is a summary of the Explore the Universe program requirements:

Observing Objective Required Available
Constellations and Bright Stars 12 24
The Moon 16 32
Solar System 5 10
Deep Sky Objects 12 24
Double Stars 10 20
Total 55 110

RASC Explore the Universe Certificate

The application form for EtU contains pages for recording the objects that you observed to qualify—be sure that this is filled before applying. You are encouraged to keep a logbook of your choosing, consider using the generic pages offered below. There is also a print-at-home EtU workbook or you can buy one pre-printed. Once you have completed your Explore the Universe observing program, you can apply for your certificate and pin either through (1) your local RASC Centre, if it is one of the Local Certification Centres or (2) the RASC Observing Committee Chair at observing@rasc.ca Use the fillable application form below. On the form are pull-down menus to select language of choice and Centre affiliation, if any; there are categories for "Unattached"(National) member and "Non-member."


Instructional Video on How to Use the RASC Star Finder

© 2017 RASC Halifax Centre
Find out details about the Explore the Universe program in this video © 2019 RASC Halifax Centre