TSP Telescope Observing Club

By Mike Hotka, Longmont Astronomical Society


Welcome to the Texas Star Party’s Telescope Observing Club. The purpose of this club is not to test your observing skills by throwing the toughest objects at you that are hard to see under any conditions, but to give you an opportunity to observe 26 showcase objects under the ideal conditions of these pristine West Texas skies, thus displaying them to their best advantage.

The regular observing program is “Smoke and Mirrors”.  You need to observe 26 objects of the 45 available to get your pin, but if you are using a smaller scope and have a little trouble with some of the objects, just mark it as “tried” and move on, and you will get credit for the object.

That’s it, just observe the objects on either list. Any size telescope can be used. All observations must be made at the Texas Star Party to qualify. All objects are within range of small(6″) to medium(10″) sized telescopes, and are available for observation between 10:00PM and 3:00AM any time during the TSP.

Each person completing this list will receive an official Texas Star Party Telescope Observing Club lapel pin. These pins are not sold at the TSP and can only be acquired by completing the program, so wear them proudly.

To receive your pin, turn in your observations to John Wagoner – TSP Observing Chairman any time during the Texas Star Party. I will be at the outside door leading into the TSP Meeting Hall each day between 1:00 PM and 2:30 PM. If you finish the list the last night of TSP, and I am not available to give you your pin, just mail your observations to me at 1409 Sequoia, Plano, TX 75023, and I will see that you get a pin.

Pins for previous years’ lists are becoming scarce. If you want to complete a list for a pin, download the list from the TSP archive and then contact John Wagoner to see if pins are available.  Good news… the pin for 2004 is back!

Good luck and good observing. Now, let’s get out there and observe!!!

P.S. If you would like to see some of your favorite objects on a future TSP program, or have any ideas for a new program, let me know during TSP or email me at john@wagoner.org

P.P.S. This year’s program was put together by my dear friend and expert observer, Mike Hotka, of the Longmont Astronomical Society and formerly of the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas. The program has something for everyone from naked eye, to binocular to small telescope to large telescope. While you are at it, check out Mike’s new book “Exploring Amateur Astronomy, Goal Oriented Observing”, available from Amazon both in paperback and Kindle.

TSP 2019 – Smoke and Mirrors

Download this year’s observing list (Adobe Acrobat(PDF) version)

Or download this ZIP file containing this year’s program (and prior years) in SkyTools(STX), SkySafari(SKYLIST), Excel(XLS), and plaintext(TXT) format


Pins for previous years’ lists are becoming scarce. If you want to complete a list for a pin, download the list from the TSP archive and then contact me to see if pins are available.

Check out our Observing Program archives for previous year lists!