Merit Badge Requirements Merit Badge History
Astronomy Merit Badge Workbook
This Scoutmaster Bucky Merit Badge Workbook is based off the 2021 Scouts BSA Requirements.
Type your work on this page or download the Astronomy Workbook PDF.

Consider also using the Astronomy merit badge class preparation page for clarification and expections when participating in a Scoutmaster Bucky merit badge opportunity (online or in-person).

Scout's Name:
Requirement 1: Do the following:
Requirement 1a: 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.
Requirement 1b: 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.
Requirement 1c: 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 the Moon.
Requirement 2: Explain what light pollution is and how it and air pollution affect astronomy.
Requirement 3: With the aid of diagrams (or real telescopes if available), do each of the following:
Requirement 3a: Explain why binoculars and telescopes are important astronomical tools. Demonstrate or explain how these tools are used.
Requirement 3b: 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).
Requirement 3c: Explain the purposes of at least three instruments used with astronomical telescopes.
Requirement 3d: Describe the proper care and storage of telescopes and binoculars both at home and in the field.
Requirement 4: Do the following:

If instruction is done in a planetarium, Scouts must still identify the required stars and constellations outside under the natural night sky.

Requirement 4a: Identify in the sky at least 10 constellations, at least four of which are in the zodiac.
Requirement 4b: Identify in the sky at least eight conspicuous stars, five of which are of magnitude 1 or brighter.
Requirement 4c: 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.
Requirement 4d: Explain what we see when we look at the Milky Way.
Requirement 5: Do the following:
Requirement 5a: 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.
Requirement 5b: 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 table.
Requirement 5c: Describe the motion of the planets across the sky.
Requirement 5d: Observe a planet and describe what you saw.
Requirement 6: Do the following:
Requirement 6a: Sketch the face of the Moon and indicate at least five seas and five craters. Label these landmarks.
Requirement 6b: Sketch the phase and position of the Moon, at the same hour and place, for four nights within a one-week period. Include landmarks on the horizon such as hills, trees, and buildings. Explain the changes you observe.
Requirement 6c: List the factors that keep the Moon in orbit around Earth.
Requirement 6d: 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.
Requirement 7: Do the following:
Requirement 7a: Describe the composition of the Sun, its relationship to other stars, and some effects of its radiation on Earth's weather and communications.
Requirement 7b: Define sunspots and describe some of the effects they may have on solar radiation.
Requirement 7c: Identify at least one red star, one blue star, and one yellow star (other than the Sun). Explain the meaning of these colors.
Requirement 8: With your counselor's approval and guidance, do ONE of the following:
Requirement 8a: 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:
Requirement 8a1: Activities occurring there
Requirement 8a2: Exhibits and displays you saw
Requirement 8a3: Telescopes and other instruments being used
Requirement 8a4: Celestial objects you observed
Requirement 8b: 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 a log or notebook. Discuss with your counselor what you hope to observe prior to your observation session. Review your log or notebook with your counselor afterward.

To complete this requirement, you may use the Scout Planning Worksheet.

Requirement 8c: 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.
Requirement 8d: Help an astronomy club in your community hold a star party that is open to the public.
Requirement 8e: 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 observed.
Requirement 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.