Astronomical Society

of Long Island


Observing Challenges

We are beginning a new page which will have short articles about some interesting objects, or comparisons of similar objects, which you might want to track down the next time you are out observing.  We welcome any contributions you would like to write about and submit.   Each essay is now a PDF document - clicking on the .pdf link at the end will download a file with the story and maps, more convenient for printing out at home and for using at the eyepiece.

“Almach or Alberio?” by Chris Costanza.  Two beautiful sets of double stars visible in the month of September.  Which is the more beautiful? Get out your telescope, track these down and let us know.

“Long Island on the Moon” by Sam Storch. When observing the Moon, or when showing it to people for the first time, it is difficult to understand the sense of scale - how big are things on the moon?  There is an impressive feature that resembles Long Island, and is the same size. It is a wonderful sight, and here is how to find it.

“The Cosmos Mistake - The M33 Galaxy in Triangulum.” by Chris Costanza.

Read the story of the discovery of a faint object, NGC 604 in the faint galaxy M33 in Triangulum, and try the challenge of looking for both.

“The Balloon Man In Perseus” by Sam Storch.  One of the most spectacular sights for new observers, and old hands, is the Double Cluster in Perseus.  Read about where to find it, and a challenge object as well.

“Nights Of The Heavenly “G” by Sam Storch. The late fall and early winter evenings are marked by spectacularly clear skies for those living in the northeast, skies with the year's greatest concentration of brilliant stars. A "super constellation" of stars drawn from several traditional patterns comprises the "Heavenly G" pattern known to the ancient mariners. Let's romp though the heavens and get "hooked" on the "G!"

The Night of the Two "37s" Sam Storch

Crisp autumn and winter nights invite mind-wanderings under the sparkling stars of Orion, Auriga, and the rest of the "hosts of the long nights." This is a good time for interesting little "projects" that don't require spending the entire night outdoors yet reward the observer with some lasting benefit. Here's one I always enjoy, a little project that will surely invite some rambling and wandering- and that's always fun!

Sickle Cycles, by Sam Storch.

Spring skies are heralded by the arrival of Leo's iconic sickle. Although visible in late evening during the coldest part of winter, when the sickle is high in the sky dueling mid- evening, it is literally the "high time" to begin planting and preparing for the coming season of green.  Learn about the Lion in this challenge (or is it a duck?)

Busy Downtown Scene, by Sam Storch

I liken seeing the summer sky to watching the hubbub of a downtown street scene - it's busy and crowded with interesting sights to discover. Perhaps you'll never see them all, but it is well worth trying anyway! Teeming with star clusters, both open and globular, and traversed by the inspiring sweep of the Milky Way, the summer skies are also filled with some surprises. Some of the surprises I’ve chosen for you are relatively well known, while others are in plain sight yet often forgotten. Either way, you can be sure that all of these targets will "deliver!”

Busy Downtown Scene.pdfNEW_ASLI_Observe_Challenge_files/Busy%20Downtown%20Scene.pdf

A Trip to Center City, by Sam Storch

During the short steamy summer nights the center of our stellar "city," the Milky Way Galaxy, arches overhead and widens to show its broad central hub softly glowing on the southern horizon. Tonight's celestial romp will take us on a voyage from the galactic suburbs right to the core of our galaxy. If all goes well, we'll commute to the city and return safely, flying by swan all the way as we ride along the flight path of Cygnus!