What is the BAM600?
The BAM600 is a list of 600 observing targets for the Southern Hemisphere, covering all different types of targets and catering to various telescope apertures and observer experience.
How did it come about?
John Bambury is one of the “Core Volunteers” with 3RF Australia (Three Rivers Foundation in Australia) who do a lot of outreach astronomy. In addition to this 3RF Australia regularly hosts small and large groups of observers from the US to Australia with annual astronomy tours known as The OzSky Star Safari.
As most of the US visitors have a very short observing time down here (7 nights per trip), John decided it would be beneficial to them if he put together a comprehensive observing list. Basically he wanted to do something similar to the Herschel 400 for Southern Hemisphere observers and for the US visitors who came to Australia.
John put the list together himself by incorporating several of the known common lists (eg. Messier, Caldwell, etc.), and also added a lot of targets he had observed himself over many years and also by consulting with some of his observing colleagues on some of their favourite targets in each target category, which were not part of the "common" lists.
In 2009 The Astronomical League (AL) added the list as a “Supplementary” observing list to their Southern Skies Telescopic Observing Program list, but at that time offered no awards or certificates for completing the list.
Many of you at different times have used the list as your reference for OzSky or other Southern Hemisphere trips. Obviously with 600 targets it takes a couple of trips of hard core observing at different times of the year to complete. We know a couple of past attendees have completed it; and presumably some people would be very close to completing it.
In 2024 the Astronomical League upgraded the status of the BAM600 list and will now issue an official Certificate to anyone who completes the list.
How to Use The List
You can observe the list in whatever way suits you to fit in with your available observing time. Most people will take a couple of years to work through the list.
A good way to start off might be to sort the list and allocate targets to each “planned” observing night based on “best month to observe”, setting your observing program for each night to observe targets rising towards the zenith from the East.
By doing it this way you will always have the targets on your program for the night well placed and you should be able to work through them all systematically.
Definitions and Abbreviations
BN = Bright Nebula
CS = Carbon Star
DN = Dark Nebula
EG GC = Extra Galactic Globular Cluster
EN = Emission NebulaGal = Galaxy
Gal CL = Galaxy Cluster
GC = Globular Cluster
MS = Multiple Star
OC = Open Cluster
PN = Planetary Nebula
SR = Supernova Remnant
Star = Star
VS = Variable Star