RASC National Society Videos: Explore the Universe

Explore the Universe

Did you know The RASC has observing certificate programs? If you see specific astronomical objects, you can receive a certificate and pin for your accomplishments!

Astronomy author and RASC Halifax member John Read, and RASC Outreach Coordinator Jenna Hinds guide you through the Explore the Universe Observing Program. They explain how to find targets, give you tips on observing, and may even have some extra tricks up their sleeves.

Check here to find resources to help you complete the program, links to helpful videos, and anything else you might need!

Get Familiar With the Basics

Join us as we launch our new series! In our first session we will introduce the Explore the Universe program and discuss our very first targets. We'll also go over a few observing tips to help you get familiar with navigating around the night sky and using your binoculars.

Our first targets will be mostly Moon targets and constellations that you may even already be able to find. Highlights include Mare Tranquilitatis on the Moon (where Apollo 11 landed) and a double star in the Big Dipper's handle.

Introduction to DSOs

We're dialling up the challenge this week! We're going to introduce you to the wonderful world of Deep Sky Objects. We'll show you a few more tricks for navigating and finding constellations, but our main focus will be on some easy-to-spot clusters of stars, and the Lagoon Nebula!

Summer Triangle

This week we're looking for the constellations that make up the Summer Triangle, an easy-to-find asterism in our night sky. We'll also look at a few more objects on the Moon, and if you're feeling adventurous you can try to spot Jupiter and Saturn right next to the Moon too.

Perseids and Deep Sky Objects

It's the Perseids Meteor Shower! This week we will be passing through a cloud of dust left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle, which means we'll have the chance to see shooting stars.

We have lots of Deep Sky Objects on the list for this week, which will be perfect targets to take a look for while you're out watching the meteor shower.

Lunar Gems

This week we are catching the Moon early in its cycle, which means we have the opportunity to spot quite a few craters. We'll be seeking out the diamond ring crater this week!

Just before our next session, the Moon will be full, so we also have some more maria to show you this week.

Double Stars

We're hunting down some end-of-summer double stars today! They can be tricky targets due to changes in telescope view and distances between the pairs of stars. We'll give you some tips on how to observe them and show you where to find them.

Autumn Equinox

Happy Fall Equinox! We'll spend this session talking a bit about what equinoxes and solstices actually are, and will then jump into some lunar targets. Later in the week we will see another Jupiter-Saturn-Moon conjunction too, so get ready to check it out!

Mars and the Planets

It's a great week for some planetary observing! Mars is at opposition, which means it'll be big and bright and beautiful as we come between it and the Sun. This only happens about once every two years, so seize the day and let's look at Mars!

Zodiacal Light

We're catching a few last targets and going over some previous ones that you may have missed from earlier in this series. We're going to do our best to see the Zodiacal Light this week too. You need a very specific set of conditions to be able to see it, which makes it one of the most challenging targets on the list!

Winter Observing

As we wrap up our series, we'll go over a few easy winter targets to get you started on your next season of observing. Join us to take a look at rising winter favourites such as Orion, Taurus, the Pleiades and the Orion Nebula. We will also take lots of time for questions in this session before sending you off on your next observing adventure!