Concordiem AustralisMarch 16, 2010
One of the nice things about living in smoggy, light-polluted LA county is that traveling almost anywhere means access to darker skies. Just in the past year I’ve gotten to observe under dark skies in Utah, Oklahoma, and Wales England, near the Welsh border, on trips planned for other reasons.
I’m planning to attend the International Conference on Vertebrate Morphology in Punta del Este, Uruguay, this July. Punta del Este is on the coast and I’ll be there for a solid week, so I’m hoping to spend some of my evenings on the beach with binoculars and a travel telescope. I’ve found that I get more out of my observing sessions when I have a list of objects to locate. Fortunately, the Astronomical League has Southern Sky Binocular and Southern Sky Telescopic observing clubs that are deliberately aimed at northerners on quick trips south of the equator. The Caldwell club also includes many southerly objects that cannot be seen from the US, and I’ll try to bag as many of those as possible, too.
Lots of AL observing lists overlap; for example, almost everything on the Urban observing list is also on the Messier, Bino Deep Sky, or Double Star lists. Sometimes you can simplify your work by eliminating duplicate observations. Even when clubs have conflicting requirements, like using binoculars and a scope on the same object, it’s faster to make both observations at the same time by switching between instruments.
To simplify my observing wish list for Uruguay, I compiled a master list that includes all of the objects from the Southern Sky Binocular and Southern Sky Telescopic lists, as well as the 56 most southerly Caldwell objects. I call it Concordiem Australis. This is a deliberate homage to Stephen Saber’s Concordiem Borealis, which unifies the AL Messier, Bino Deep Sky, Double Star, and Caldwell (70 most northerly) lists with the RASC’s 110 Finest NGC Objects. This version is organized by RA. I will probably also make versions organized by constellation and by declination (for convenience and to match the Caldwell list order, respectively). Here’s the file, which I will also put in the AL Logbook page on the sidebar: