Observing programs

The July 2014 issue of Sky & Telescope has a couple of good articles on structured observing, going out at night with a specific plan to do something systematic. That seems like a good idea to me, would help me focus.

One of the articles specifically suggests the AstroLeague Observing Programs. It’s basically merit badges for astronomers, you record observations in a log and get a commemorative pin when you complete enough of a program. Well $30/yr members get the pin; cheapskates can just work from the website for free.

Some programs that look good for beginners: Binocular Messier, Constellation Hunter, Deep Sky Binocular, Universe Sampler, Messier Telescope.