April 1-30, 2016

For GAM2016, we will be running a series of Observing Challenges. Whether you are a complete novice to astronomy or a seasoned veteran there will be something for you! Some of the challenges can be done in a night and some will take the whole month.

If you are a sidewalk astronomer or part of an astronomy club you might like to run events to help people complete the challenges. If are planning an Observing Challenge event, don't forget to register your event!

Discuss your progress, ask questions and help others in the forum.

Share your progress on this challenge with us and the world on Facebook, or Tweet using #GAM2016 hashtag (@gam_awb).

The Undiscovered Universe
Challenge yourself to find something new

Compiled by John Goss of the Astronomy League.

This challenge is a bit different to our other challenges (Lunar Explorations and Discovering the Solar System) because there is no set number of objects to observe. Instead this challenge is all about doing something you have never done before. The goal of this challenge is to observe as many new objects as you can over the month. There are two aspects to this goal, you can either try to see objects you have never seen before or try to find objects you have seen before but did not find in the sky yourself.

You will not be able to view all the objects on the list as some are only visible from certain locations on the Earth. If you are travelling during GAM2015 then you could use the opportunity to observe objects you cannot see from your home.

There are three sections to this challenge - Naked Eye Viewing, Stars (binaries, variables, etc.), and Deep Sky Objects (galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, etc.), so you have a lot of variety to choose from. Some of these objects can be hard to find, but there are plenty of resources to help you:

Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer, you can search for the objects in it, and see where they are in the sky as well as what they look like.
The World Wide Telescope enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope, which brings together imagery from the world’s best ground- and space-based telescopes for the exploration of the universe.
Cartes du Ciel (Skychart) is a free program that enable you to create sky maps of particular parts of the sky. The benefit of this is you can create the maps for particular objects you want to observe.

Click the links below to open PDFs of the different observing sections:

Naked Eye Viewing


Deep Sky Objects


This challenge is designed to do just that, challenge you. It helps if you all work together. If you have suggestions for finding a particularly difficult objects, or want to run a viewing night or an online hangout, make sure you let us and the AWB community know. Share your advice and suggestions in the forum, on Facebook or Tweet using #GAM2016 hashtag (@gam_awb), and register your event.


The Astronomical League 
Birren, Peter, Objects in the Heavens, 2011, Birren Design
Ted Forte of the Huachuca Astronomy ClubAl Lamperti of the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers
Roger Ivester, Cleveland County Astronomical Society 
James Mullaney and Wallace McCall, "Finest Deep Sky Objects," Sky Publishing Corp., 1966