About the Messier Catalogue

Explore the Universe—an introductory observing program

Explore the Universe (awarded since 2002) is aimed at the novice visual astronomer. Those who complete the program may apply for a certificate and pin—this is open to all, RASC members and non-members alike. This program will:

RASC Widefield Certificate

The purpose of this certificate is to introduce beginners to many types of astronomical imaging. The emphasis is on "skyscape" images: these are generally wide-field pictures that capture an astronomical object in the evening, dawn (or nighttime) sky that also include the landscape in the frame. Skyscape images capture a scene the way it looks to the eye of the imager – either a naked-eye view (aka wide field) or a very low-power view as through binoculars.

RASC Deepsky Certificate

The purpose of this certificate is for astronomers to learn basic techniques of photographing deep-sky objects, such as tracking, focusing, stacking, and image processing. Twelve pictures are required for the certificate, two images from each of the following categories.  A log of all equipment, settings, and steps taken should accompany every picture. Pictures from remote telescopes will not be allowed.