1. Do the following:
a. Explain to your counselor
the most likely hazards you may encounter while
participating in astronomy activities, and what you
should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and
respond to these hazards.
It should go without saying that
Scouts should review the merit badge pamphlet for
this requirement as all the required knowledge and
recommendations will be found within the contents of
the Merit Badge Pamphlet for this requirement. It is
strongly recommended that Scouts make notes of their
findings by either marking their pamphlet or making
notes on their Merit Badge Workbook for easy
reference when explaining their findings to the
counselor and/or class.
b. Explain first aid for
injuries or illnesses such as heat and cold
reactions, dehydration, bites and stings, and damage
to your eyes that could occur during observation.
Most of the injuries and
illnesses listed in this requirement are recurring
throughout a Scout's journey through rank and merit
badges. Newer Scouts may need to spend more time
than more advanced Scouts on this requirement.
Scouts who are first class and above should find
this a review of common first aid ailments and
responses. Regardless, do not take this requirement
for granted as most counselors will still want to
validate that you remember and understand the
details of this requirement. Be sure to follow the
Boy Scout Motto and "Be Prepared" to explain your
knowledge for consideration of completion on this
c. Describe the proper clothing
and other precautions for safely making observations
at night and in cold weather. Then explain how to
safely observe the Sun, objects near the Sun, and
There are two parts to this
portion of requirement 1c. Both parts can be found
by reviewing the Merit Badge Pamphlet. It is
recommended that Scouts make notes of their findings
and be prepared to share their results during the
class. The first part of the requirement deals with
the clothing and equipment necessary for cold
weather and night time observations while the second
part of the requirement specifically deals with the
methods and equipments for safe observations of or
around the Sun.
2. Explain what light pollution
is and how it and air pollution affect astronomy.
This requirement can easily be
prepared for through the reviewal of the Merit Badge
Pamphlet. All the necessary information and
explanation can be found in the pamphlet for
preparing for completion of this requirement.
Finding the information however is only a part of
the requirement. Scouts must actively be ready and
successfully explain what is asked for in this
requirement during the class in order to be
considered for completion of this requirement.
3. With the aid of diagrams (or
real telescopes if available), do each of the
It is preferred that Scouts
having their own binoculars and/or telescope (if
practical) bring their equipment for use and
demonstration during the class. Please note that it
is the Scout's responsibility to manage and maintain
their personal equipment and any damage or loss of
these items is strictly the Scouts responsibility.
a. Explain why binoculars and
telescopes are important astronomical tools.
Demonstrate or explain how these tools are used.
Half of this requirement can
easily be discovered and understood through the
reviewal of the appropriate section of the Merit
Badge Pamphlet. Scouts should be sure to have
reviewed this section and be prepared the best way
they can to explain their findings. If the Scout
does not have a set of binoculars, there will be a
pair for demonstration purposes available during the
class to fulfill the second part of this requirement
b. Describe the similarities
and differences of several types of astronomical
telescopes, including at least one that observes
light beyond the visible part of the spectrum (i.e.,
radio, X-ray, ultraviolet, or infrared).
Scouts will find all they need to
know to complete this requirement by reviewing the
Merit Badge Pamphlet. The Counselor for the class
will assist in further understanding through sharing
of knowledge to ensure the Scout has a complete
understanding in order to complete this
requirement. The Counselors known expertise for
this requirement should NOT be a reason Scouts
minimize the importance of researching this
requirement. Scouts still need to show that they
have a basic understanding through their preparation
work in order to be considered for completion of
c. Explain the purposes of at
least three instruments used with astronomical
While there are many more than
three instruments used with telescopes, Scouts
should be prepared to share their understanding of
at least three as the requirement states. The
Counselor will help facilitate and explanatory
discussion with all Scout participants in the class
to complete this requirement. Active participation
in this discussion is required and only Scouts who
have come prepared AND actively participate in the
discussion will be able to complete this
d. Describe the proper care and
storage of telescopes and binoculars both at home
and in the field.
While the Counselor will cover
important point for this requirement in the class,
it is the Scout's responsibility to review the Merit
Badge Pamphlet ahead of time to have a basis in
which they can share their understanding of this
requirement. Only Scouts that actively participate
in the discussion AND show they have reviewed the
materials prior to the class will likely be able to
complete this requirement.
4. Do the following:
a. Identify in the sky at least
10 constellations, at least four of which are in the
b. Identify at least eight
conspicuous stars, five of which are of magnitude 1
Because the class will take place
during daylight hours, this requirement will be
difficult for Scouts to complete at or during the
class. Scouts should come to class with notes,
drawings, sketches, or other documentation showing
that they have observed the night skies and
identified 10 constellations along with at least 8
stars of which 5 are of magnitude 1 or brighter
(check you Merit Badge Pamphlet for explanation and
guidance). The easiest way to do this is to record
the date and time of the observation and describe
the location of the constellation or star as it
appears in the sky.
NOTE: Stars and
Constellations move about the sky depending on time
of year and time of night they are observed, so the
tracking of date and time of the observation is
crucial. Many online resources are available to aid
in the identification of these stars and
constellations through out the year. Drawing the
constellation as it appears during your observation
in the sky may be helpful as well. It must also be
noted that just saying you have done these two
components of requirement 4 will NOT be enough to be
signed off during the class. You must provide some
sort of supporting documentation to the counselor to
show that you have worked on and met the
expectations of these components of Requirement 4a
and 4b A.
c. Make two sketches of the Big
Dipper. In one sketch, show the Big Dipper's
orientation in the early evening sky. In another
sketch, show its position several hours later. In
both sketches, show the North Star and the horizon.
Record the date and time each sketch was made.
This requirement is pretty clear
on its expectations. Like in Requirements 4a and
4b, you will not be able to complete this
requirement during the class and preparation ahead
of time is the only way you will be able to have the
opportunity to be signed off on this during the
class. You will need to do as the requirement
states and make two sketches. It is vital to make
sure you record the date and time of your
observation for the counselor to validate the
accuracy of your sketches.
d. Explain what we see when we
look at the Milky Way.
This requirement is a bit of fact
and opinion. The Merit Badge Pamphlet is a good
place to start for the factual information of what
we see. Use this information to make your own
observation in the night skies and be prepared to
share your thoughts and interpretations during the
class of what you saw.
5. Do the following:
a. List the names of the five
most visible planets. Explain which ones can appear
in phases similar to lunar phases and which ones
cannot, and explain why.
b. Using the Internet (with
your parent's permission) and other resources, find
out when each of the five most visible planets that
you identified in requirement 5a will be observable
in the evening sky during the next 12 months, then
compile this information in the form of a chart or
c. Describe the motion of the
planets across the sky.
d. Observe a planet and
describe what you saw.
While most of the parts of this
requirement will be covered during the class, Scouts
are urged to arrive having reviewed the Merit Badge
Pamphlet and ideally having notes to reference for
completion of this requirement. As expected, active
participation in class discussion will be expected
in order to ensure completion of this requirement.
6. Do the following:
a. Sketch the face of the Moon
and indicate at least five seas and five craters.
Label these landmarks.
b. Sketch the phase and the
daily position of the Moon, at the same hour and
place, for four days in a row. Include landmarks on
the horizon such as hills, trees, and buildings.
Explain the changes you observe.
c. List the factors that keep
the Moon in orbit around Earth.
d. With the aid of diagrams,
explain the relative positions of the Sun, Earth,
and the Moon at the times of lunar and solar
eclipses, and at the times of new, first-quarter,
full, and last-quarter phases of the Moon.
Requirements 6a, 6c, and 6d will
be covered in the class, however Scouts are still
expected to arrive prepared to share their finding
for these requirements. Active participation in the
class will help the Counselor to determine those
Scouts that have prepared and warrant completion of
these parts of Requirement 6.
Requirement 6b will require some
pre-work prior to the class in order for
consideration of completing all the components of
this requirement. Scouts will need to make
observations for four days as the requirement states
and produce sketches of their observations. Please
be sure to give yourself plenty of time as some
night may be overcast and observation may not be
possible requiring more than four consecutive days
to complete this requirement. Non-observable nights
do not count in the completion of this part of the
7. Do the following:
a. Describe the composition of
the Sun, its relationship to other stars, and some
effects of its radiation on Earth's weather and
b. Define sunspots and describe
some of the effects they may have on solar
c. Identify at least one red
star, one blue star, and one yellow star (other than
the Sun). Explain the meaning of these colors.
Scouts will find the Merit Badge
Pamphlet to be a great resource with all they need
to prepare for completion of this requirement. It
is strongly recommended that Scouts utilize a Merit
Badge Workbook to record their findings and notes
for easier reference during the class when they will
be expected to share their results with the
Counselor and/or class participants. Only those
Scouts having prepared for this requirement AND
actively participating in the class discussion will
be considered for completion of this requirement.
Be sure to prepare for all components of this
8. With your counselor's
approval and guidance, do ONE of the following:
a. Visit a planetarium or
astronomical observatory. Submit a written report, a
scrapbook, or a video presentation afterward to your
counselor that includes the following information:
1. Activities occurring there
2. Exhibits and displays you
3. Telescopes and other
instruments being used
4. Celestial objects you
b. Plan and participate in a
three-hour observation session that includes using
binoculars or a telescope. List the celestial
objects you want to observe, and find each on a star
chart or in a guidebook. Prepare an observing log or
notebook. Show your plan, charts, and log or
notebook to your counselor before making your
observations. Review your log or notebook with your
c. Plan and host a star party
for your Scout troop or other group such as your
class at school. Use binoculars or a telescope to
show and explain celestial objects to the group.
d. Help an astronomy club in
your community hold a star party that is open to the
e. Personally take a series of
photographs or digital images of the movement of the
Moon, a planet, an asteroid, meteor, or a comet. In
your visual display, label each image and include
the date and time it was taken. Show all positions
on a star chart or map. Show your display at school
or at a troop meeting. Explain the changes you
This requirement will NOT be
covered during the class. HOWEVER, Scouts, who have
selected one of these options to complete for this
requirement, will have an opportunity to share their
work during the class for consideration by the
counselor for sign off. Please remember that any
and all requirements, for any merit badge are signed
off ONLY at the discretion and satisfaction of the
merit badge counselor that the requirement has met
THEIR interpretation of the requirement A.
9. Find out about three career
opportunities in astronomy. Pick one and find out
the education, training, and experience required for
this profession. Discuss this with your counselor,
and explain why this profession might interest you.
Scouts should review this
requirement and its components and be prepared to
discuss. It is strongly recommended that Scouts
bring any notes or supporting documents they may
have to help show the counselor that they have
prepared for completion of this requirement.