Activities for the Amateur Astronomer
Amateur Astronomy is not just observing or astrophotography. Ask your astronomy club about
the many activities open to amateurs, or contact the United Astronomy Clubs of New Jersey, Inc.

Activity Description
Archaeoastronomy Study and even visit ancient astronomical ruins around the world.
Asteroid Observing There are more than just nine planets in the Solar System.
Observe and monitor the smallest ones.
Astronomical Art Create your own astronomical images based on observing or theoretical work.
  • Oil Paintings
  • Modeling
  • Cartoons
  • Illustrations
  • Computer Animation
Astrophotography Photograph the many interesting objects and phenomena visible in the night sky.
  • Lunar and Planetary
  • Sun and Sunspots
  • Aurora
  • Galaxies, Nebulae and Star Clusters
  • Meteors and Meteor atmospheric entry
Binocular Observing Learn the Lunar features, Constellations and various stellar and planetary objects, and Star-Hop your way around the sky. Earn an observing certificate.
CCD Imaging Trap images electronically for later computer enhancement and analysis.
  • Galaxies
  • Sun and Sunspots
  • Moon and Planets
  • Asteroids
  • Galaxies, Nebulae and Star Clusters
  • Stars, and Stellar Photometry and Spectroscopy
Celestial Mechanics Study Newton's Laws of Motion, and how the physics of the universe works with others.
Collecting Astronomy Collect the old, different, or unusual items that make astronomy interesting.
  • Antique Astronomy Books
  • Sun Dials and Clocks
  • Journal Articles
  • Convention Memorabilia
  • Antique Telescopes
  • Star Charts and Maps
  • Paper Currency / Coins
  • Special Event T-shirts
  • Stamps
  • Postcards
  • Meteorites
Comet Hunting Search for, and possibly become the first to discover, one of these elusive objects and
possibly have it named after you.
Computer Astronomy Use the computer as a tool to better understand the sky and the universe.
  • CCD Image Enhancement
  • Planetarium & Educational Software
  • Calculate celestial events
       with your own programs
Deep Sky Observing Observe the Messier, Herschel, or other lists of galaxies, star clusters, and other objects. Report the results for certificate* recognition.
  • Messier Objects (*UACNJ, Ast. League)
  • Herschel Objects (*Ast. League)
  • Double Stars (*Ast. League)
Ham Radio Communicate with celestial objects.
  • Bounce signals off the moon, or meteor trails
  • Determine earth atmosphere meteor entry altitudes and velocities
Historical Research Learn about observations made in the past. Study about, or even do original research on,
  • Early astronomers (both men and women) and their work.
  • Telescope Makers, and the equipment they made.
  • New Jersey Observatories and discoveries (Rutgers, Princeton, public, private, etc.)
Light Pollution Get involved with the problem of light pollution, the poor or improper lighting that causes difficulty with night driving, degrades home security, and of course, ruins our night skies.
Lunar Eclipses Observe and/or photograph the passage of the Moon into the shadow of the Earth from your own back yard.
Moon & Planets Observe the Moon and planets and report the data to the various divisions of the American Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO).
Occultations Observe the eclipsing of a star or planet by the Moon or an asteroid, record the timings and report your results to the International Occulation Timing Association (IOTA).
Photometry Electronically observe and measure light variations in stars and other objects. Results may be reported to the International Amateur-Professional Photoelectric Photometry organization (IAPPP) or the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO).
  • Stellar Variability
  • Lunar Transients
  • Solar Variations
Radio Astronomy Observe the Universe in the Radio Spectrum.
  • Solar Events
  • Jupiter Eruptions
  • Map the Milky Way Galaxy
  • Detect Sudden Ionispheric Disturbances (SIDs)
Solar Eclipses Travel the globe to observe, photograph and record data about these most spectacular, awe inspiring, and probably the most beautiful of celestial events.
Spectroscopy Observe and analyze the make-up of the Sun and stars with your own equipment. (UACNJ Spectroscopy Certificate available).
Sunspot Observing Record the changes in sunspot activity and report your results to ALPO.
Telescope Making Grind your own mirror, make the mount, or build your own observatory. Enter your creation at the Stellafane telescope making convention.
Variable Stars Visually observe stellar light intensity changes and report the data to the AAVSO.

Maintained by BDM --- --- Page last updated 3/28/99