Back in May I logged my final Messier object, thus completing the requirements for the Hononary Messier certificate from the Astronomical League (you can get the regular Messier certificate for observing 70 of 110 Messier objects). Although you can submit your observations to the AL yourself, it is recommended to have the AL representative of your club look at your logbook and send a letter to the AL to the effect that your observations are satisfactory. The PVAA doesn’t have a regular AL liaison but the then president, Ron Hoekwater, was willing to vet my logbook. He also suggested that I hang on to the certificate so that he could present it to me at the next meeting.
The problem was, I didn’t attend the next meeting, because in June I was crazy busy with teaching. And I didn’t attend the meeting after that, because in July I was in Uruguay. So tonight’s meeting was the first that I’d attended in three months.
And in those three months I went to Uruguay and finished the observations for the Southern Sky Binocular Club…
…and the Southern Sky Telescopic Club.
And when I got back, I logged the final object for the Deep Sky Binocular Club, which I’d been working on since January.
So the certificates and pins have been slowly piling up. In fact, the bling for the Southern Sky Telescopic club arrived in the mail just this afternoon. At tonight’s meeting Ron presented all four to me, and asked me to say a few words to the members about the AL observing clubs and about observing the southern skies from Uruguay.
In other PVAA-related horn-tooting, after missing the month of July my series counting down the world’s largest telescopes resumed in this month’s Nightwatch. This link should be good for the next three months, after which it will be available at the archive site.
Last night I actually got out for an hour and bagged three targets for the Urban Club, so that club has 66 down and either 34 or 44 to go. Anyway, it was an enjoyable hour of stargazing.
Back on January 1 I resolved to finish the Messier Club, the Galileo Club, and the Lunar II Club this year. The Messiers are done, but I haven’t worked on either Galileo or Lunar II since January. The fact is, I’ve been having too much fun with other observing projects. And I’m okay with that. The real goal of making that resolution was to finish three clubs this year; I just figured that Galileo and Lunar II would be the easiest since I had already started Galileo and had just come off Lunar I successfully. In the actual event, I sort of fell in love with deep sky observing, especially with binoculars, and that’s been the direction of my observing this year. In fact, I think it is now probably impossible for me to finish the Galileo Club this year, because I won’t be able to track Venus through enough of its cycle before the end of the year, and I also think I missed something for Jupiter. But on the other hand, I’ve finished five observing clubs this year (in order: Binocular Messier, Messier, Southern Sky Bino, Southern Sky Telescopic, Deep Sky Bino) and I’m on track to finish Urban at least by the end of the year, so I’m going to declare the spirit of the resolution fulfilled even if the letter is not. That’s usually how people rationalize this stuff, right? Just move the goalposts and declare that whatever you did instead was the actual goal. 🙂