Starry, Starry Night

Starry, Starry Night


This event will test students’ knowledge of astronomical facts and concepts relating to the earth, moon, solar system, celestial sphere, stars and constellations.   This season includes a focus on galaxies and nebulae, and telescopes.


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Event Supervisor: Susan Ogden
and Stephen Ogden



 event supervisor info
 Download the current rules here.  
 2018 Event Coach Workshop handout        
 Example scoring results from 2018 practice
 Sample test questions 2018
 Samplet test questions 2018 KEY
 Selected topics from workshop for 2018
 General glossary
 Glossary for Deep Sky Objects
 Galaxies, Nebulae, Clusters for visual identification
 Useful Online Resources 2017-2018
 2018 Star Charts
 Telescope Table
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Slide presentation from the Stars Workshop
You can find video of the workshop below
more event info be careful
 Event Coach Workshop recapbe sure you're using the latest rules
 See the Elementary Workshop List for this season
 Report problems at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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Are students expected to know the catalog number of galaxies and nebulae?

They are not required to know the catalog number, but if they know it and use it, rather than the object name, to answer an identification question, they will receive full credit.

What information should students study for Part 1 - Solar System, given that the focus this season is on galaxies and nebulae?

The students should be able to name the planets of our solar system in order.


Other facts that the students might find interesting, such as the number and names of moons, are not in scope this season.

The Orion Nebula is listed as M45 in the rules. Should it be M42?

That is an error in our current rules.  It should be listed as M42.

Will "1/2 moon" be an acceptable answer for 1st quarter and 3rd quarter in the moon phases?

The students will need to be more specific. The 1st quarter can be called "waxing half" and the 3rd quar-ter can be called "waning half".

What is included in "mechanics"? Does it include eclipses?

"Mechanics" refers to the way the bodies move in relation to each other, including rotation and revolution. The geometry of eclipses could theoretically fall under this topic; however eclipses questions have their own category in our classification.

Will coaches be allowed to see what the students were tested on during the practice tournaments to help prepare for the regional tournament?

Coaches will receive a score breakdown that lists the general topics and the number of points your team scored for each. For example, Eclipses: 5 out of 18 possible points; or Constellations: 14 out of 23 possible. Information or performance on specific questions will not be reported.

Will the kids be presented with a constellation to trace? How in-depth do they have to go?

As stated in the rules: "be able to identify these constellations and specific stars or star cluster [as listed], on a star chart of any month with no constellation lines visible."


Said another way, if we point to a specific star, or circle a group of stars that comprise a constellation, they should be able to name it with reasonable spelling.  Only the ones listed in the rules.


We won’t draw the constellation lines to assist them, and don't require the students to connect stars in a constellation pattern.  The students may draw constellation lines on the test if they wish.


Are the only images that students need know listed in the posted resources on the MSO website?

For galaxies, nebulae, and telescopes, the posted materials list every image that the students should know.  


What is the difference between "The Big Dipper" vs. "Ursa Major", and how does it relate to what the students should know?

Ursa Major is one of the constellations which the students should know.  The Big Dipper is an asterism, which is a collection of stars that has been given another name, and in this specific case happens to be a subset of the stars included in Ursa Major.  Some asterisms include stars from multiple constellations.

Students will not be given credit if they substitute the name of an asterism for the name of a constellation.