Program Competencies

The Young Astronomers Program was carefully crafted to introduce you to the knowledge and skills needed to be an effective amateur astronomer.  Each trimester has both knowledge and skill competencies.  Knowledge competencies will require outside research and will be verified through conversation with your mentor.  Skill competencies will be learned and demonstrated at star parties through collaboration between student and mentor.

Spring Trimester:

  • [Knowledge] Accessing and interpreting the Clear Sky Charts
  • [Knowledge] Identifying and understand the three most common telescope types
  • [Knowledge] Identifying and understand the two most common telescope mount types
  • [Knowledge] Studying and learning about the French astronomer Charles Messier
  • [Knowledge] Learning about the star life cycle, double stars, pulsars, supernovae, and black holes
  • [Knowledge] Learning about the good and bad of green laser pointers
  • [Skill] Learn about the optical properties of telescopes and their relationships
  • [Skill] Identify four spring constellations
  • [Skill] Learn to assemble and point a Dobsonian telescope

Summer Trimester:

  • [Knowledge] Understand the Bortle scale of night sky brightness
  • [Knowledge] Understand and test a variety of finder scope types
  • [Knowledge] Learn about two additional astronomers
  • [Knowledge] Learn about the five naked eye planets and features of the moon
  • [Knowledge] Learn about several types of deep sky objects
  • [Skill] Identify five summer constellations
  • [Skill] Assemble a Dobsonian telescope
  • [Skill] Learn how to find objects by star hopping
  • [Skill] Observe four deep sky objects using a Dobsonian telescope

Fall Trimester:

  • [Knowledge] Understand the difference between astronomy and astrology
  • [Knowledge] Learn about two additional astronomers
  • [Knowledge] Learn about lunar phases as well as lunar and solar eclipses
  • [Knowledge] Learn the celestial coordinate system and how latitude affects astronomical observing
  • [Skill] Identify six fall constellations
  • [Skill] Assemble a Dobsonian telescope
  • [Skill] Observe five deep sky objects using a Dobsonian telescope

Final Project:

For a final project, student will choose a topic from an approved list and present a 15-20 minute presentation to the club members at the November or December club meeting.