observing programs

Attending Oregon Star Party is the perfect opportunity to observe the night sky! In order to encourage observing at the Oregon Star Party, we develop three different observing programs each year, each with its award certificate and pin.  Anyone registered for the star party is eligible to participate.

Please note, if you were working a list from last year (or prior) and didn’t finish – it’s okay to finish it up (or even start it if it looks like fun) this year and get your pin.  We have plenty of pins from recent prior years, and will do our best to locate ones from years back if we can.  Each list (except typically beginner) tends to vary significantly from year to year – and each has an interesting set of objects to observe.  Feel free to try whatever looks most interesting to you.

Observing Program Rules

All observations must be made at Indian Trail Spring during the week of Oregon Star Party.  This year, we encourage everyone to describe and sketch each of the objects into the Observer Log Sheet. A blank log sheet is available below to download and print.  It will also be included in the OSP Observer Guide.  A limited quantity will also be in the Information Tent.  If you prefer, you may instead use your own log book.  Observations may be carried over to the next year if you did not complete them in one year, but they must be made at Indial Trail Spring during OSP.

An observation record must include:

  • Your Name
  • Date of Observation
  • Time of Observation
  • Sky condition (Seeing)
  • Type of instrument used
  • Magnification used while observing the object
  • A description of the object
  • For intermediate and advanced lists, a sketch with more detailed description is preferred
  • Proof of OSP registration

When finished, bring the list of observations to the Information Tent before noon on Sunday, where a committee member will go over your record.  Those participants who successfully complete a program will receive a Certificate showing their accomplishment.  A beautiful “OSP Observer” level lapel pin will be available for purchase once you have completed a list.  Your name will also be displayed on the Oregon Star Party webpage as an Observing award winner.

Still Have Questions? Contact the Award Committee for more information.

Observing Log Sheet

Observing Program Handout

The amazingly dark skies at OSP provide observing opportunities not typically seen near areas of significant population.  Indeed – some items that need a telescope to be seen in cities or suburbs can be seen directly by simply looking at the sky at OSP!  Just imagine what your binoculars or scope can reveal.

To help people enjoy what our skies have to offer here at OSP, and provide some initial guidance for observers, Brian Hatley and James Still (current and past Observing Program coordinators) have put together a guide for the observing program to help familiarize new participants (and interested others) with guidance on recording and sketching observations, explaining conditions and how they impact observing, and providing some equipment guidance (including eyes) and observing techniques.

The handout can be downloaded here.

Excellent dark skies in Central Oregon – 5000 feet