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 list for 2013 is being reconstructed!

 The Challenge Objects for 2013 were:

December   NGC 40   Planetary Nebula in Cepheus
November   IC 1747           Planetary Nebula in Cassiopeia
October   IC 5146   Cocoon Nebula in Cygnus
September   NGC 7044   Open Cluster in Cygnus
August   NGC 6791   Open Cluster in Lyra
July   NGC 5981/5982/5985   Galaxy Trio in Draco
June   NGC 5466   Globular Cluster in Bootes
May   Gamma Virgo (Porrima)   Double Star in Virgo
April   NGC 2672/2673   Galaxy Pair in Cancer
March   M46/NGC 2438   Open Cluster/Planetary in Puppis
February   Melotte 71   Open Cluster in Puppis
January   NGC 1579   Diffuse Nebula in Perseus

The list for 2012 is being reconstructed!

 The Challenge Objects for 2012 were:

December   NGC 457   Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
November   NGC 55   Galaxy in Sculptor
October   NGC 7023   Cluster/Nebula in Cepheus
September   NGC 6826   Planetary Nebula in Cygnus
August   M22   Globular Cluster in Sagittarius
July   M17   Eagle Nebula (Emission) in Sagittarius
June   NGC 5353   Galaxy Group in Canes Venatici
May   M64   Galaxy in Coma Berenices
April   NGC 3115   Galaxy in Serpens
March   NGC 2362   Open Cluster in Canis Major
February   Theta 1   Multiple Star (Trapezium) in Orion 
January   NGC 1502   Open Cluster in Camelopardalis

The list for 2011 is being reconstructed!

 The Challenge Objects for 2011 were:

December   M33   Triangulum Galaxy in Triangulum
November   NGC 281   Nebula/Cluster (Pac Man) in Cassiopeia
October   NGC 7380   Nebula in Cepheus
September   NGC 6946   Galaxy in Cepheus
August   NGC 6819   Open Cluster (Fox Head Nebula) in Cygnus
July   NGC 6645   Open Cluster in Sagittarius
June   M102/NGC 5866   Galaxy in Draco
May   M97   Planetary Nebula in Ursa Major
April   MGC 3190   Compact Galaxy Cluster in Leo
March   NGC 2419   Globular Cluster (Intergalactic Wanderer) in Lynx
February   NGC 2261   Hubble's Variable Nebula in Monoceros
January   NGC 1333   Nebula in Perseus

The list for 2010 is being reconstructed!

 The Challenge Objects for 2010 were:

December   M77   Galaxy in Cetus
November   IC 342   Galaxy in Camelopardalis
October   NGC 6888   Crescent Nebula in Cygnus
September   NGC 7331   Galaxy in Pegasus
August   NGC 188   Open Cluster in Cepheus
July   NGC 6543   Cat's Eye Nebula in Draco
June   NGC 5907   Galsxy in Draco
May   NGC 4631/27/4656/7   Galaxies in Canes Venatici
April   NGC 4889   Galaxy Cluster in Coma Berenices
March   IC 405/410 NGC 1893   Nebula and Cluster in Auriga
February   NGC 2903   Galaxy in Leo 
January   NGC 2264   Nebula and Cluster (Christmas Tree) in Monoceros

The list for 2009 is being reconstructed!

 The Challenge Objects for 2009 were:

December   NGC 467/470/474   Galaxy Group in Pisces
November   NGC 891   Galaxy in Andromeda
October   NGC 253   Sculptor Galaxy in Sculptor
September   NGC 7293   Planetary Nebula (Helix) in Aquarius
August   M2   Globular Cluster in Aquarius
July   M27   Planetary Nebula (Dumbbell) in Vulpecula
June   M13   Globular Cluster (Hercules) in Hercules 
May   M65/66 NGC 3628   Trio Galaxy (Leo Triplet) in Leo
April   M84/86   Virgo Galaxy Cluster in Virgo
March   NGC 2403   Galaxy in Camelopardalis
February   M1   Supernova Remnant (Crab Nebula) in Taurus