Although a telescope provides brighter and higher magnification views of deep-sky objects, binoculars offer several advantages. They provide a much wider field of view, which enhances the views of many objects and makes locating them easier. They are also much more portable and require little or no setup. Many objects in the list below are easily visible in binoculars of all sizes. You may notice many of these are also on other lists – this is intentional. You’ll find a whole different feel looking at something with a much wider field of view and use of both eyes. There is a sense of context – seeing where these objects sit relative to nearby objects. To receive the Binocular Observer pin you must observe and record at least 18 of the listed objects while you are here at OSP. As an added reference, each object’s page number in the popular Sky and Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas (PSA) is listed as well.
Since there are observers of many levels at OSP, this list contains simple to find/see objects, along with some more challenging ones, but with many more items than are needed for an award. This allows beginners to work at the list and earn an award, but provides additional binocular-oriented targets for more advanced observers looking for more of a challenge.
Go-to mounts are not permitted for the Binocular List award. You may get assistance in locating objects on star charts or in the sky, but you must locate them yourself with your binoculars. Looking through mounted binoculars, in which someone else has sighted the object for you, is not acceptable. Object sketches are highly recommended but they are not necessary if you provide a good description of each object and what you saw.
When finished, bring your record of observations to the Observing Program table next to the Information Tent to receive your pin. Please check the information tent for updates on when the Observing Program table will be staffed, and where it is going to be for the next session. Typically it will be manned later in the afternoon.