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Observation Diary


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Does anyone keep an observation diary or record?

What do you write (or draw) in it? Sky/weather conditions? Aims and objectives of the nights session?

Is it worth a total novice only using binoculars bothering with one?

Cheers

Stevo

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Speaking as a total novice using only binoculars I would say yes it is worth keeping an observing log.

I record the following:

Location, Start time, Duration, Conditions (Weather and Sky), where LP is good and bad, Equipment, Targets, successes and failures, events (stellar and terrestrial), companions etc.

It make for interesting reading.

I tend to take a notebook into the field to keep rough notes and then make a fair copy when I get home.

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Quite a few keep a log, it helps prove that certain things have been completed, thinking of the Messier List here which is the obvious one.

If paper based, and you have the ability, many will sketch what they see. Section for this on SGL.

For computer based logs I suggest that you have a look at:

Free Astronomy Software

The site has programs for recording Messier and Cadwell objects, TUMOL and one for the Cadwell objects that I forget the name of. (TCOL ?)

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I would say a log is definitely worth it. Mine includes rough planetary sketches, notes about the seeing conditions, and a list of brief descriptions of what I saw in the session.

A log is invaluable if you have a poor memory like me. You can also go through the log to see which messiers or doubles you have seen so far.

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Thanks for the advice everyone.

Think I will start an obervation log with just a note book. The rough notes written up later sounds good. Not sure about the drawings though. Not a very good drawer, just a doodler.

Cheers

Stevo

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I bought a voice recorder to record with one press of a button what I was seeing and when then can write up later

That's a blummin' good idea. I usually write up my report the following morning, over breakfast.

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Does anyone keep an observation diary or record?

What do you write (or draw) in it? Sky/weather conditions? Aims and objectives of the nights session?

Is it worth a total novice only using binoculars bothering with one?

Cheers

Stevo

Yes, yes, yes!

I've kept one since July '08 - a spiral-bound A5 plain notebook. Only half way through, despite using it practically every time I observe. I write what I've observed, with relevant details about the evening (time, conditions, instruments used), and a description of how it appears. When the mood takes me, I make a sketch too.

Very educational to keep a record - it will further your observing skills greatly.

Andrew

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