Observers Challenge

The Observers Challenge Program Updated for 2017

The Observers Challenge program was a popular addition to TMSP that began in 2007. With the guidance of Jim Bielaga, three years of lists were assembled for attendees to take on observing during the star party. Completion of each list earned the observer a special Observers Challenge pin. The lists remained largely unchanged in 2010, other than updates done by John Goar to have them current with what was visible at the time of the event and coordinates for planets and asteroids.

In 2010, the Directors were approached by Kreig "John Deere 'scope" McBride and Tom Masterson with an idea for revamping our Observers Challenge. After some discussions with the Directors on the logisitics of the program, Kreig and Tom were given the green light to proceed - and they have delivered! Here's what Tom and Kreig wrote up to describe the program:

"The TMSPA Observers Challenge list is an annual program designed for those interested in new challenges, goals and participation in an observing program. Included in the observers list is a wide variety of interesting objects, transient events which require planning, naked eye observing and both small and large aperture optical instruments. There will be some volunteers with large aperture scopes assigned with the task of assisting those observers with objects beyond their reach. The large aperture volunteers will have a sign designating their location, objects to be observed and times for public viewing.
At the end of each TMSP, transient events on the lists will be dropped and the 25 list requirement will continue with no list modifications."

The special Observers Challenge pin will be awarded to all observers who view 25 of the objects on the list. To be eligible to receive the award pin, the following criteria must be met:

  • All observations must be made at the Table Mountain Star Party;
  • You must log the date, time, telescope and magnification used;
  • Write a brief description of the object or submit a sketch of the object.

Please check your Registration Packet Newsletter or at the Information Booth for times when you may submit your lists for review to receive your pin(s).

Tom and Kreig have also supplied an Observation Note Sheet that you can download and print out copies to bring with you. There will be a very limited supply of these sheets on the mountain (check at the Info Tent) so make sure you bring enough for your needs if you plan on participating in the Challenge.

Kreig and Tom will continue to update the observing list each year and you will have the option of completing any or all of the lists available that year to receive the corresponding lapel pin award. If you did not complete a list from the previous year(s), you can pick up where you left off and still obtain a pin for that list (while the supply of pins lasts).

Observing Lists By Year
(click the list name to download)

** 2017 Observers Challenge List **

19MB PDF download that contains the list and Finder Charts for the "hard" objects.


** 2016 Observers Challenge List **

We have some options for files to download this year beyond the main object list:

2016 Observers Challenge Introduction

2016 Observers Challenge Package (includes intro, list and finder charts) (4.6MB)

2016 Finder Charts, high-resolution PDF (12MB)

2016 Finder Charts, low-resolution PDF (4MB)

** 2015 Observers Challenge List **

2015 List Intro, charts and notes can be downloaded here. (2.7MB .zip file)
The .zip file also contains the Deep Sky Planner list file.

2014 Observers Challenge List

Check at the Info Booth at the event for available copies of finder charts.

2013 Observers Challenge List and Maps

If you have Deep Sky Planner, Knightware (the makers of Deep Sky Planner) have provided us the Challenge List for 2013 which you can download here.

The 2012 Observers Challenge Intro and Object List

2012 Observers Challenge Finder Charts
(a 60-page, 10MB PDF file - could be helpful if you do not have a good sky atlas)

The 2011 Observers Challenge List

Lists from the original Observers Challenge Program. These lists were current as of 2010 for RA/Dec

List #3 introduced in 2009

List #2 introduced in 2008

List #1 introduced in 2007