Introduction to Astronomical League Observing Programs
by: Dr. Aaron Clevenson
Astronomical League National Observing Program Director
An HAS member benefit for Sustaining, Regular, and Student members is enrollment in the Astronomical League (AL). The AL is composed of over two hundred and forty local amateur astronomical societies from all across the United States. These organizations, along with direct members and supporters, form one of the largest amateur astronomical organizations in the world. The goal of the AL is to encourage an interest in astronomy (and especially amateur astronomy) throughout America, and to foster astronomical education, observing and research by providing incentives and observing programs for AL members.
The AL currently offers 74 different observing and special recognition programs that span all experience and skill levels from those brand new to astronomy to advanced amateur astronomers. Astronomical League observing programs are open to all AL members. Most of these programs offer a certificate and a pin for completion of the program requirements so that an individuals accomplishments and experience level can be recognized.
Additionally, all AL members receive the quarterly AL publication, The Reflector. See the Astronomical League website for more information.
Dr. Aaron Clevenson is adjunct astronomy professor of Astronomy at Lone Star College - Montgomery and is the author of the astronomy textbook Astronomy for Mere Mortals. He teaches "Solar System" and "Stars and Galaxies". In addition to his day job, Aaron also serves the Astronomical League Observing Program Director, Astronomical League - Platinum Master Observer, and is the author of a number of Astronomical League Observing Programs.
Aaron has created two tools designed to help Astronomical League members manage their progress with the AL Observing Programs. One is a monthly publication (in Microsoft Word) that highlights objects by observing club that are visible in the evening sky that month. It is called "What's Up Doc?". The other is a large spreadsheet (in Microsoft Excel) that lets you set your observing Latitude and Longitude as well as the Universal Time of your observation session and it will tell you information on which objects for all of the AL Observing Programs are visible. It lists the object from highest Altitude to lowest. It has information on over 4500 objects and all of the AL Observing Programs.
Aaron is also past President of the North Houston Astronomy Club, has served as Chairman for Astronomy Day at the George Observatory, and is also the Observatory Director at the Insperity Observatory in Humble ISD,
Aaron’s philosophy of astronomy is best described by his quote near the door of the Insperity Observatory which says: "The Universe awaits all those who make the journey. Enter here!"
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We'll have the online chat feature available to us during the talk, and once the presentation is over, we can open up the audio lines for more questions. I'm excited that we're able to get together in this fashion, and I hope you can join us then. We hope to see you online with us on Friday evening February 5th!