Introducing the

American Lunar Society

Lunar Study and Observing Certificate Program

Cosponsored by The Moon Society

Report by Peter Kokh

March 16, 2005 - The Moon Society Leadership Council gave overwhelming support for the proposal by Moon Society President Peter Kokh and American Lunar Society President Eric Douglass that both Societies cosponsor the existing ALS Lunar Study and Observing Certificate program. Eric has recently joined the Moon Society's new Board of Advisors.

The American Lunar Society is a group of amateur astronomers fascinated by the Moon, and focused on telescopic observation of it. They have a number of observing projects going. Their quarterly publication, "Selenology" features mostly articles on observing the Moon, photographs, drawings, eclipse timetables, etc., but sometimes features articles on upcoming or recently completed Moon probe missions, as well as the occasional piece on lunar development prospects.

The Lunar Study and Observing Certificate Program was put together to better acquaint beginners with the Moon. The Lunar Study part of the program consists of a reading a relatively short geology primer, followed by an "open book test," aimed at making sure they understand the nature of the fascinating features they see on the Moon. Then the applicant is asked to observe at least 81 out of 90 listed sample lunar features (90%) in all areas of the familiar nearside of the Moon. The applicant keeps a log, noting the date and time of the observation, the equipment used (binoculars & type or telescope & type) and describe the feature observed. It may take a month or two to complete the process, depending on the weather and other things that might interfere. The completed test and log are then mailed in, with a small ($8) fee, and within 4 weeks the applicant receives a certificate for his or her efforts.

For the Moon Society, cosponsorship of this program allows us to offer our members and visitors the opportunity to go through an exercise which will familiarize them with the Moon's nearside surface, thus giving them good background knowledge for reading and discussing future Moon missions, unmanned and manned alike.

For Moon Society Chapters and Outposts, showing the public what the Moon looks like through a telescope is a great way of getting them interest in the role the Moon can play in our future. Being able to offer them this certificate program as a way to ramp up their newly sparked interest, is a way to keep them in touch.

The Certificate will be cosigned by the Presidents of both Societies.

This Collaboration between our two organizations we trust will be just the beginning.

Lunar Geology Primer - html (web page)

Lunar Geology Primer - Ready to Print PDF File - 24k

Lunar Geology Test - html (web page)

Lunar Geology Test - Ready to Print PDF File - 8k

Certificate Observation Program - html (web page)

Certificate Observation Log - Ready to Print PDF File - 700k

Resources: Both the Lunar Geology Primer article and the Certificate Observation Program have appendices on useful books and websites.

Incentives: (action pending by the Moon Society Board) - It is proposed that to encourage both members and visitors to go through this exercise, one that is certain to bring them much pleasure and satisfaction, certificates earned will come with coupons good for a one time $8 reduction in new or renewal Moon Society Membership fees. This will in effect credit the applicant with the fee paid for the certificate. This matter will be discussed at the April 6, 2005 Leadership Council Meeting.


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