Join the Messier Clubs!
The Messier Clubs are informal "clubs" open to any CCAS member who wants to earn either of
the Astronomical League awards based on Charles Messier's famous list. This list of 110 astronomical objects includes most of the brightest star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies visible from the Chester County area. The Messier Clubs provide an introduction to a variety of deep-sky treasures (in astronomy, "deep-sky" means "beyond our solar system").
Participants learn more about what is located in the constellations, as well as how to use
binoculars and telescopes for astronomical viewing. The Messier Clubs are an excellent
followup to the more basic Constellation Hunter Club.
There are two types of Messier Observing Certificates (with lapel pins) available from the
Astronomical League. One award is for finding 50 of the 110 Messier objects with binoculars.
Binoculars as small as 7x35 can be used, although larger sizes like 7x50 or 10x50 will make
it easier to find the needed objects. The Astronomical League's web site for the
Binocular Messier Club has lists of the Messier objects sorted by category ("Easy",
"Tough", etc.) for different sizes of binoculars. This can help you avoid wasting time
looking for Messier objects that can't be found with the size of binoculars you are
using. To qualify for the award, you must keep a logbook describing the 50 Messier objects
The second type of Messier Observing certificate is for finding all 110 Messier objects
with a telescope. You are not allowed to use a computerized "GOTO" system to find the objects.
The intent of this program is to teach you how to navigate the deep-sky with your
telescope. To qualify for the certificate and pin, you must keep a logbook describing how
each of the 110 Messier objects looked in your telescope.
Copies of the program description and its rules and regulations are available on the Astronomical League website.
When you have completed the logbook for either of the two Messier awards, submit it to
the CCAS Coordinator for the Messier Clubs, Don Knabb. He will review the logbook and request your award from the Astronomical League.