This is the 3rd program in my series of 5 programs about brilliant and revered astronomers who share the distinction of having an Astronomical League observing award program named after him or her. The observing program, called “Arp’s Peculiar Galaxies-Northern Hemisphere,” was formed in 1997. Requirements involve observing or imaging one hundred of the 338 galaxies contained in the Arp Catalog of Peculiar Galaxies. This award program is intended for more advanced astronomers, since many of the galaxies are quite faint. A good atlas and a telescope with an aperture of 12.5 inches or larger is recommended. A second award program, “Arp Peculiar Galaxies – Southern Hemisphere,” was added in 2007. The challenging part of preparing this talk, though, concerns the man Halton Arp himself. Not only are the galaxies in his catalog peculiar, but Mr. Arp also has some very peculiar and controversial theories about quasars and redshift which, if valid, could totally derail the Big Bang theory. So, was Halton C. Arp a genius or a crackpot? You decide.
Janean Shane, native of Salina Kansas, was bitten by the astronomy bug in high school when her parents gave her a Tasco 3” reflector telescope for Christmas. With little or no available help or “mentors” at the time, her interest waned somewhat after she had viewed the moon’s craters, Saturn’ rings, and Jupiter and its moons and thought she had “seen everything.” Fast-forward to 2007, when Janean and her husband, Kendahl, joined the Omaha Astronomical Society. Janean credits the fun, help, and camaraderie of fellow club members for re-kindling a strong interest and curiosity about what-all is really “out there” to see. Participation in the Astronomical League’s variety of “Observing Clubs” is also a great motivator. Janean confesses that basking in the glory of wearing Observing Club award pins is fun, but she finds that completion of a Club’s requirements, just for the pin and certificate, is not really important. The enjoyment of just “dabbling” in the wide variety of topics covered in the various Clubs is reward enough!