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toftm

How do you document your gazing sessions?

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Now I'm starting to get a little more confident out with the scope, setting & finding targets I've started to understand the importance of taking notes (however simple). Helps confirm I'm seeing what I think I am back in the warmth! Great way to learn

My question to you all is what things do you take notes on? Do you sketch? Simple? In depth? Couldn't care less?

Like everything else I am sure people have varying opinions on the matter :D

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I don't keep a journal of my sessions but am currently making my way through the Luna 100 and mark the items off as I go, also keep a tally of the Messiers objects I have observed.

Perhaps I should be more methodical but I enjoy what I do and that's the whole point of the hobby.

Edited by Astro Imp
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Many on here do like to keep a log book referencing targets, conditions, circumstances and so forth in a methodical format. Perhaps allowing for thumb nail sketches to accompany notes. I think that it is good to keep an account of observing experiences. My own notes are a little 'loose' in diary format and not greatly coordinated, but it remains a record of each occasion non the less.

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Loose sounds familiar! I tend to boarder on loose scrawl...

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I tick off a list like Astro Imp and am working through the 666 Deep Sky list along with another list for double stars. If I find something ver interesting I will highlight it. The most sketching I did was of Mars last year, it helped find more detail and identify features later.

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I started keeping track of my observations very recently and found it useful. I think it is a personal thing though, and you should do it if and only if you enjoy doing it. 

I started because I found I somehow forgot part of my previous sessions, or saw objects I was not aware. 

Generally, I keep track of the session (seeing, transparency, temperature, location, date (of course), targets, used magnification, notes). 

I also keep a registry for each major catalogue and report those ones I saw and the used magnification.

Other people use to sketch their targets. I am terrible at drawing and too lazy for it. I admire them a lot though as to me it seems a very useful thing to do.  :rolleyes:

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Being a professional  scientist I used to document everything :grin: .  When observing in the field I make pencil  records in a small notepad (observing conditions, objects, magnifications, eyepieces/barlows/filters used, the resulting views etc) and than, at home, transfer everything into my Digital Logbook (Word file). Weird? Maybe... but it's a part of my hobby. I have a separate notepad for sketches as well. I also established a  simple  Ecxell database where I collect the data on the Messier, Hershel 400, Caldwell etc. objects observed. What is good everything is searchable and easily available. All this info helps a lot for planning my observing sessions, for making decisions on buying new gear and of course for sharing my experience in astroforums. I tried to use my smartphone app like StarLog to log everything instantly, but gave up because it's just wasting a lot of valuable observing time, so I continue using this app just for object verification.

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An A5 spiral bound notebook. It's great to look back at years before and include some drawings and observations. It's like fishing and bringing home your catch !

Nick.post-6974-0-71166800-1427435978_thumb.jp

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I now use a dictaphone at the scope. I can describe what I see without stopping observing. Then I write up my log & update my spreadsheet some time later.

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I probably spend too much time documenting things. Everything goes into a book (date, time conditions etc), and then typed up as my writing is terrible. I tidy up my drawings and keep a spread sheet with basic info as well as the fully typed up version. Variable star estimates are also submitted to the BAA and AAVSO. If I had neat hand writing and could draw tidy pictures at the ep I wouldn't bother typing it all up too.

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Hi, I keep an electronic record of each observing session and add photos, articles etc. that are relevant to what I have seen. It makes a good record to look back through although this years is now at 71 pages. I also include photos of equipment used and lists of new Messier objects seen in the year and details on the number of nights observing and with what equipment. It allows me to do year on year comparisons.

Cheers,

Steve

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Like some others, I write a Word report noting the usual factual details and my impressions of the session. I also note any other relevant details but, overall try to keep it short - no more than one page.

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Nice to see its such a personal subject, at the end of the day enjoyment is the key! Great replies guys

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I started keeping a log when I was a boy. It was a bit sporadic with sketches of the sun and planets.

I found it a couple of years ago after not looking in it for maybe 30 or more years. I loved reading it. Some I remember some I don't.

A trip down memory lane if not exactly a scientific journal! :)

For that reason I'd recommend a hand written note book and just sketch and waffle. Don't make it a chore :) 

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I started keeping a log when I was a boy. It was a bit sporadic with sketches of the sun and planets.

 

I found it a couple of years ago after not looking in it for maybe 30 or more years. I loved reading it. Some I remember some I don't.

 

A trip down memory lane if not exactly a scientific journal! :)

 

For that reason I'd recommend a hand written note book and just sketch and waffle. Don't make it a chore :)

I used to sketch the moon as a kid. Didn't record much else. When I hit late teens I decided that I didn't need to keep them and threw them all out. I wish I had kept them now.
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I used to sketch the moon as a kid. Didn't record much else. When I hit late teens I decided that I didn't need to keep them and threw them all out. I wish I had kept them now.

What a pity. I'm not sure why I kept mine. It just got put in a box when I was still with my parents and then it left home with me.

It was no work of art and I never sketched the Moon. I never thought my drawing skills were up to it.

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What a pity. I'm not sure why I kept mine. It just got put in a box when I was still with my parents and then it left home with me.

It was no work of art and I never sketched the Moon. I never thought my drawing skills were up to it.

I think that I had too much stuff 'stored' at my parent's house and a lot went 'missing'. Can't blame them as I still have some old stuff there and I moved out 25 years ago!

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Actually I never thought about writing down my oberservations (apart from some sporadic sketches of constellations when I try to memorize them), but after reading this post... Maybe I should try it out too ;)

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This is my preliminary log . It doesn't contain much so far, but give me some time, and I will write more  :rolleyes:

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I keep a log too in A5 format noting date, time sky quality, temperature, location, who I viewed with and what I viewed.

I then collate all the notes into an XL document with the NGC list. I have been known to do a bit of drawing too. There haven't been many updates of late though

Damian

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Bit of a disaster here :icon_redface: I like to sketch at the eyepiece and if considered suitable, are scanned and shown here, but what happens to any of the originals is a bit of pot luck. Some have been made on loose bits of paper that end up as coffee 'pads', shopping or what's-to-do lists. Some may stick around longer, hidden away in some corner, but eventually they all get chucked.

There's no precious or sentimental attachment. The sketches are not so much a record of my activities but more a means through which I am able to settle at the eyepiece and to ask questions from the given object being considered. I feel this allows me more time to get know the object.

I'm also not one for lists, ticking off objects as if to say, 'been there, done that'. I find returning to the same object will on many occassions reveal different aspects, textures and features; the viewing experience dependent not only on the physical conditions of the sky, the particular instrument being used but also on self.

Certainly, there’s no correct way for enjoying a stargazing session. Some nights it's a good idea to just run around the heavens, other times to pick an object and tweak as much detail as you can before boredom sets in; there is no right or wrong way.

But I do feel that regardless of keeping a log book or trying your hand at sketching, the key feature is to be a visitor, rather than a tourist; to slow down from time to time and spend some concentrated moments with the celestial object.

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Still a newb so I have experimented with all sorts and settled on an A5 spiral bound book and pencil, I try to sketch a circle of what I see (not actually that easy) with notes of eyepiece, constellation I am in etc. Nothing flashy

Mostly I was using that to check what I saw back in the warm and annotate the sketches, which definitely helps my with learning my way around the sky. Recently I found something in Cassiopeia that wasn't in my star atlas and it turned out to be Comet Lovejoy  :grin:

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I'm also not one for lists, ticking off objects as if to say, 'been there, done that'. I find returning to the same object will on many occasions reveal different aspects, textures and features; the viewing experience dependent not only on the physical conditions of the sky, the particular instrument being used but also on self.

Certainly, there’s no correct way for enjoying a stargazing session. Some nights it's a good idea to just run around the heavens, other times to pick an object and tweak as much detail as you can before boredom sets in; there is no right or wrong way.

But I do feel that regardless of keeping a log book or trying your hand at sketching, the key feature is to be a visitor, rather than a tourist; to slow down from time to time and spend some concentrated moments with the celestial object.

You made the point in an excellent way Rob. I agree completely with this. 

Although in my log it seems I list my observed targets, I am always happy to return on them. Certainly I don't live it as a competition or what so ever, but just a way to remind my self that "I have been there" and "what there is there". All of this, observing, imaging, sketching, logging should be a pleasure to do, and an enjoyable way to feel ourself connected with the universe. To me the main interest is observing, whereas logging is about taking down a memory into words so that I can remember, and see more the next time I observe that object or others. And by observing, I really mean looking at and feel the object together with the context where it lies.

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