Preparation for the quasi-observational round of the final stage of the National Olympiad

and how to "learn" the night sky
In this post:
General information
In contrast to theoretical and practical rounds, the preparation to which is rather clear (here you can find problems of past Olympiads and solutions to them), the quasi-observational round is more complicated. During the time period of 2011-2019, there were 3 types of quasi-observational round questions.
1
Astronomcal quiz
(2011-2017)
2
Planetarium
(2018)
3
Tasks in the Stellatium app
(2019)
The first, quiz type, has a significant drawback: to answer the questions you needed to know some particular facts (for example, the diameter of some telescope, or the year of some Kopernic's publication). This is the most likely reason why the presentation type was replaced.

In 2018 National level Olympiad was held in Kyiv. Thus, the quasi-observational round could be conducted in a planetarium. Unfortunately, there are not planetariums in all cities of Ukraine. Thus, as in 2019 National Olympiad was held in Zhytomyr, there wasn't any possibility to conduct quasi-observational round in a planetarium. However, because of all the described drawbacks of the presentation type round, juries didn't want to return to it. So the round was conducted in the Stellarium app.

Here you can find tasks of quasi-observation rounds of the Olympiads of the past years. To get an idea of what you can expect in the planetarium round, you can look through the observation round questions of the Moscow Astronomy Olympiad. Of course, this is far less effective than solving the tasks under the same "sky" in the same planetarium as participants did. However, this will give a good idea of what to be prepared for.
Getting oriented to the night sky
For getting a good score in the quasi-observational round you need to know the night sky map. However, this knowledge will be also very useful in other Olympiad rounds. For this I would personally recommend the next things:
Learning 3-letters abbreviations of the constellations
These are important to know as they are usually used in many sources even beyond the astronomy Olympiads.
Here you can find the list of all constellations names and their abbreviations.
Here you can find the list of all the constellations I would personally recommend to know for Ukrainian National Olympiad.
Learning how to recognize constellations
For this I recommend the next plan of learning:
1) Write down the list of all the constellations you want to remember (let's call this to be "C-List")
2) Open the Stellarium app
3) Turn the constellation lines on, and the constellation names on
4) Find all the constellation from the "C-list," try to remember where they are situated and how they look
5) Turn the constellation names off (leave only the constellation lines on)
6) Try to find all the constellations from the "C-List" without the "Search" function. If you can find the constellation, you strike it out of the "C-list." If not, find it with the "Search" function, try to remember where it is situated and how it looks.
7) Then, repeat all the previous steps with all the constellations left after the first striking-out. If you can find the constellation you strike it out of the "C-list". If not, find it with the "Search" function, try to remember where it is situated and how it looks
8) Repeat the striking-out rounds until you have no constellations left in your "C-list."

9) If you every day repeat steps 1-8 (each day you start with blank"C-list" with no constellations struck out), just in 4-5 days you will be able to recognize the constellations lines and will have the basic knowledge about how they are situated on the night sky.
10) When you can strike all the constellations from the "C-list" in one striking out round, you can start repeating all the previous steps, but now with constellation lines turned off. If you repeat these steps every day, just in some days you will get good skills of determining the position of the constellation, and recognizing it by its picture or stars around.
Knowing where the brightest constellation stars are situated
Personally, I recommend knowing the alpha, beta, and the brightest star (if it's not alpha or beta star) for each constellation. However, for Ukrainian National Olympiad knowing alpha star and the brightest star (if the star is brighter than 3rd magnitude) for each constellation for is more than enough.
Here you can find the list of stars, which, ty my mind, is enough to know for the Ukrainian National Olympiad.
For learning where they are on the night sky, you can use the plan similar to the one for learning the constellations:
You can learn their position with the same plan
  1. Write down the list of all the stars you want to remember (let's call this to be "S-List")
  2. Open the Stellarium app, try to find a star without turning the names and lines of the constellations on. If you managed to strike it out of the "S-List."
  3. If not, turn on the constellation lines and try to find the star again. If you managed to find it, leave the star in the list without striking it out.
  4. If not, find the star with the "Search" function, try to remember where it is situated and how it looks. Don't strike it out.
  5. Repeat the striking-out rounds until you have no stars left in your "S-list."
If you every day repeat steps 1-5 (each day you start with blank "S-list" with no stars struck we), just in a week, you will be able to recognize the stars on the night sky. You will also have a good knowledge of the relative positions of the constellations.
Getting to know the Messier catalog
The hasn't been any task on the Ukrainian National Olympiad where you needed to know the exact position of some Messier object. The skills of orientation where they are approximately situated may be useful. However, you probably will not need to know even the approximate position of some less commonly known objects.

Here you can find the list of numbers of objects of the Messier Catalog and the constellations where they are situated.

Obviously, you will not need to remember the position of each Messier object in Virgo. However, it's hard for me to determine the exact list of Messier objects you need to know for the Ukrainian National Olympiad. The only thing I want to say is that the position of Messier catalog objects I managed to learn only with the same plan like the one of learning constellations and stars. Just cramming the 110 object list probably will not work out.
Collection of astronomical objects photos
When the quasi-observational round was conducted in the quiz type, there were a lot of "What is the object on the photo?" questions. Today, you probably will not need to know this for Olympiad. However, if you really want to learn how different astronomical objects look like or if you just want to enjoy the aesthetics of the Universe beauty, here you can find the amazing photo archive collected by Shevchuk Oleksandr and the "Kolosok" magazine.
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2020
May heaven send us a path with the moon and stars!