In mid-2001 a coworker asked me to go stargazing at Columbus with him. He had just bought an LX200, and we looked at Messier objects. This was fun to do so I bought a 10" Meade Starfinder and began logging these objects. After a while someone said I should turn the list in and receive an Observing Program award. I didn't know there were "Observing Programs." So, I turned it in and after some "recommendations," Amelia Goldberg gave me my first observing award, Messier Award Number 2000.
Master Observer Steven Powell
I enjoyed participating in these programs and sometimes I brought them on vacation. The Binocular Messier was completed while on vacation in a park in New Mexico and the Constellation Hunter Southern Hemisphere #8 was completed while on vacation in New Zealand on a cruise ship going to Tanzania. What better thing to do on a cruise ship?
As an Electronics Engineer by profession, I wanted to do the Radio Astronomy program and completed award #13—gold level. This one is nice because most of it can be done during the day.
The Herschel 400 was saved for last because I didn't have the equipment to complete it. I wanted to use the club's Celestron C14 but after an evening struggling with alignment, I decided to purchase a new Celestron C11 and an iOptron CEM60 mount. Then it went smoothly.