Observer's Challenge

The purpose of the Observer’s Challenge is to encourage the pursuit of visual observing. It’s open to everyone that’s interested, and if you’re able to contribute notes, and/or drawings, we’ll be happy to include them in our monthly summary. We also accept digital imaging. Visual astronomy depends on what’s seen through the eyepiece. Not only does it satisfy an innate curiosity, but it allows the visual observer to discover the beauty and the wonderment of the night sky. Before photography, all observations depended on what the astronomer saw in the eyepiece, and how they recorded their observations. This was done through notes and drawings, and that’s the tradition we’re stressing in the Observers Challenge. We’re not excluding those with an interest in astrophotography, either. Your images and notes are just as welcome. The hope is that you’ll read through these reports and become inspired to take more time at the eyepiece, study each object, and look for those subtle details that you might never have noticed before.

To participate in the Observer's Challenge, submit your observations to Fred Rayworth at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The Challenge Objects for 2018 are listed below:

Month   Object   Description
January   NGC 1624   Nebula and Cluster in Perseus
February   M41   Open Cluster in Canis Major
March   NGC 2371/2372       Double Planetary in Gemini
April   M81/82   Galaxy Pair in Ursa Major
May   NGC 4236   Galaxy in Draco
June   M51 (NGC 5194)/NGC 5195   Interacting Galaxies in Canes Venatici
July   M4   Globular Cluster in Scorpius
August   IC 1295   Planetary Nebula in Scutum
September   NGC 6818   Planetary Nebula in Sagittarius
October   NGC 7129   Diffuse Nebula and Cluster in Cepheus
November   NGC 147   Galaxy in Cassiopeia
December   NGC 1003   Galaxy in Perseus
Click here for more detailed information on the objects.