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Journal/Observation software


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So i'm looking for some software to make like a journal or obsavation "data base".

I've looked at bit at Observation Manager, and i seems okay, just a bit of stuff that needs getting used to. But i've also considered using Notion or OneNote to "copy" the way Observation Mangager does it, but then it would not really be converable for openastronomylog. What does you guys use? Do you use handwritten journals or some software?

I'm really bad at using handwritten journals, as i can't really sketch, so i take pictures with my phone instead when possible. Hense it would be nice if it could be for phone (android) or pc, as i can just transfer my pictures.

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I use an option in Skysafari to make a list of observations on a certain date (or even just a list of items to observe, but doesn’t have to be on the same day). I use this as I can control my goto mount via Skysafari, and log items seen after slewing to them via goto. No need for pen or paper, and it logs it all in the Skysafari app, which can then be exported as a csv file I believe if you want to log it elsewhere too, although I don’t do that. Below is an example form a session I did on the 18th September;

06D0B060-C29E-4F13-956F-EF45ECB0BD1B.thumb.png.df41ee8bac453d50ace94a30712ed7bb.png04ED96C8-5CBB-4ED9-B28E-06C42793ADA7.thumb.png.fa73d8735ce2f3763c6c23e11c795056.png

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How much detail you want to log in is up to you. I just keep it pretty simple with equipment and EP used.

Sorry, meant tosay you can use it on an Apple device or Android too (phone or ipad/tablet).

Edited by Knighty2112
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1 hour ago, Knighty2112 said:

I use an option in Skysafari to make a list of observations on a certain date (or even just a list of items to observe, but doesn’t have to be on the same day). I use this as I can control my goto mount via Skysafari, and log items seen after slewing to them via goto. No need for pen or paper, and it logs it all in the Skysafari app, which can then be exported as a csv file I believe if you want to log it elsewhere too, although I don’t do that. Below is an example form a session I did on the 18th September;

06D0B060-C29E-4F13-956F-EF45ECB0BD1B.thumb.png.df41ee8bac453d50ace94a30712ed7bb.png04ED96C8-5CBB-4ED9-B28E-06C42793ADA7.thumb.png.fa73d8735ce2f3763c6c23e11c795056.png

Can you save pictures you take yourself as well?

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I use a spreadsheet in Google Drive with separate tabs for binaries and DSOs. There’s another tab for anything else like planets and comets. The nice thing about cloud is that I can access it from my desktop, tablet or phone. At tonight’s astronomy club we were comparing favourite coloured double stars as I shared the sheet with another member of the club.

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Hi,

I used to use One Note but right now I use  AstroPlanner. It is paid for software (PC/Mac). It is great for planning and recording your observations, multiple catalogues, user shared plans etc.  It is a deep product, even has built-in scripting, but once you get the hang of it is very powerful. 

The attachments show the four main 'tabs' of the interface. The Objects (spreadsheet), observation log, FOV and Sky View.  I use it to record my EAA sessions. I do use the beta version (currently beta 14) as I prefer the UI and it has some great features.

Another option (again paid, I'm afraid) is Deep Sky Planner 8.  There is a YouTube video from Doug at Emerald Hills Skies where he shows how he is using the product.

I hope you find something that suits your need.

Pete

AstroPlanner-Plan.png

AstroPlanner-obs.png

AstroPlanner-FOV.png

AstroPlanner-Sky.png

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22 hours ago, k_martensen said:

So i'm looking for some software to make like a journal or obsavation "data base".

http://www.agle.no/astro/

For those imaging: Homemade solution if you code. Maybe a little overkill for most. MySQL+PHP. Everything that ends in a picture is put here. They are only deleted if I succed better inn a new session with the same equipment. Anyway, I keep a handwritten logbook in my observatory. 90% for own use, but a little polish is added for friends and family. Nowadays, nobody visits oldfashion websites.... If you click on a picture in the grid, a new window appears with details on scopes, capture times etc. I also drop a line with things I may do different on this target later, that be choice of scope, camera, exposure time etc.  If you click on the leftmost picture, a fullsize in moderately compressed jpg appears. Under the Admin tab (password protected) there is links for uploading and registrating new pictures and edit or add info on pictures already present. I can also take a copy of the DB and download it, or restore from a newly uploaded backup. Lastly there is a section on future targets (still in development) ordered by month, and with details and thaughts on size, gear and time on night. This page is simple, just a table with a small image on the left (300 px wide) and additional info on the right. My add a screenshot if any is interested.

Edited by Rallemikken
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I have not started observation notes yet. But I would like to start one and am interested in what you guys normally note down. Sketching is too much for me though.

As for the journal system, @k_martensen, as you mentioned notion, why not try Obsidian or Logseq. They are free and have the similar functionality. I used Logseq myself for work related notes. I am sure you can customise a good template for your observation notes.

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32 minutes ago, starhiker said:

I have not started observation notes yet. But I would like to start one and am interested in what you guys normally note down. Sketching is too much for me though.

As for the journal system, @k_martensen, as you mentioned notion, why not try Obsidian or Logseq. They are free and have the similar functionality. I used Logseq myself for work related notes. I am sure you can customise a good template for your observation notes.

Hi there, i'm a newbie to a structured approach and while it's not the be-all and end-all of things recently i've found it helpful to check what the Astronomical League look for in observing notes for different categories of objects - for any object its always location, instrument, magnification and sky quality but then there are helpful prompts per different object type for observing and recording characteristics/qualities in a repeatable way. 

E.g Planetary Nebula: https://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/planetarynebula/planetneb1.html

E.g Double Stars: https://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/dblstar/dblstar1.html and  https://www.astroleague.org/files/u220/double star log sheet.pdf

What i've found helpful from this are two things - 1. make notes on sky quality in a structured and repeatable way (descriptions like "steady", "steady and clear", "very steady", "pretty dark") even when recorded with moon phase info lose a lot of meaning months after the fact whereas the AL scheme for sky quality is very simple and easy to use and keep note of and 2) use specific prompts to remember to note certain things (size, brightness variation, elongation direction, central star visibility, colour, etc) - i have quite a few "dim smudge" notes that are meaningless once memory has faded whereas i could have been prompting myself to note all sorts of specific and comparable qualities (even recording negative qualities - things i couldn't see) if i'd set off on a better footing.

Cheers

 

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21 minutes ago, josefk said:

Hi there, i'm a newbie to a structured approach and while it's not the be-all and end-all of things recently i've found it helpful to check what the Astronomical League look for in observing notes for different categories of objects - for any object its always location, instrument, magnification and sky quality but then there are helpful prompts per different object type for observing and recording characteristics/qualities in a repeatable way. 

E.g Planetary Nebula: https://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/planetarynebula/planetneb1.html

E.g Double Stars: https://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/dblstar/dblstar1.html and  https://www.astroleague.org/files/u220/double star log sheet.pdf

What i've found helpful from this are two things - 1. make notes on sky quality in a structured and repeatable way (descriptions like "steady", "steady and clear", "very steady", "pretty dark") even when recorded with moon phase info lose a lot of meaning months after the fact whereas the AL scheme for sky quality is very simple and easy to use and keep note of and 2) use specific prompts to remember to note certain things (size, brightness variation, elongation direction, central star visibility, colour, etc) - i have quite a few "dim smudge" notes that are meaningless once memory has faded whereas i could have been prompting myself to note all sorts of specific and comparable qualities (even recording negative qualities - things i couldn't see) if i'd set off on a better footing.

Cheers

 

 

Thanks a lot for you suggestion. They are really helpful. I checked the website of astroleague for observation lists before, but clearly the hints for making observation notes were ignored.. I will go back to have a better read.

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1 hour ago, starhiker said:

I have not started observation notes yet. But I would like to start one and am interested in what you guys normally note down. Sketching is too much for me though.

As for the journal system, @k_martensen, as you mentioned notion, why not try Obsidian or Logseq. They are free and have the similar functionality. I used Logseq myself for work related notes. I am sure you can customise a good template for your observation notes.

I've only just barley opened Obsidian before, but i will give it a look, and if i get something good mixed together, i would be happy to send the templates to you if you want it :D

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25 minutes ago, josefk said:

Hi there, i'm a newbie to a structured approach and while it's not the be-all and end-all of things recently i've found it helpful to check what the Astronomical League look for in observing notes for different categories of objects - for any object its always location, instrument, magnification and sky quality but then there are helpful prompts per different object type for observing and recording characteristics/qualities in a repeatable way. 

E.g Planetary Nebula: https://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/planetarynebula/planetneb1.html

E.g Double Stars: https://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/dblstar/dblstar1.html and  https://www.astroleague.org/files/u220/double star log sheet.pdf

What i've found helpful from this are two things - 1. make notes on sky quality in a structured and repeatable way (descriptions like "steady", "steady and clear", "very steady", "pretty dark") even when recorded with moon phase info lose a lot of meaning months after the fact whereas the AL scheme for sky quality is very simple and easy to use and keep note of and 2) use specific prompts to remember to note certain things (size, brightness variation, elongation direction, central star visibility, colour, etc) - i have quite a few "dim smudge" notes that are meaningless once memory has faded whereas i could have been prompting myself to note all sorts of specific and comparable qualities (even recording negative qualities - things i couldn't see) if i'd set off on a better footing.

Cheers

 

Those are good points, if i end up making something myself, i will keep those options in mind in the instructions on how to use the journal :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you're using an app to make notes at the eyepiece (in my case, it's Sky Safari), I find that a decent predictive keyboard can be very helpful.
I normally prefer open source apps, but I've not found anything to touch Microsoft Swiftkey in this area. It learns very quickly from previous typing, so now I just need to type a capital "M" in my notes and it defaults to "Morpheus", and offers "9mm" or "14mm" as the next word. If you find that it is defaulting to some word that has a similar "swipe" to one that you use a lot, you can delete the interloper from the dictionary and it won't be suggested again.

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On 08/11/2022 at 10:08, starhiker said:

I have not started observation notes yet. But I would like to start one and am interested in what you guys normally note down. Sketching is too much for me though.

As for the journal system, @k_martensen, as you mentioned notion, why not try Obsidian or Logseq. They are free and have the similar functionality. I used Logseq myself for work related notes. I am sure you can customise a good template for your observation notes.

I looked a bit at Obsidian, as much as i'm a software lover and love markdown, for what i can see it was a bit too hard to do some of the stuff i wanna do, like insert images, and have it cloud synced. So i continued with Notion, and i've finally gotten to do a bit of stuff. I've only just got some set up, and not filled out yet, but here you can see what i've done so far (even tho the link looks wierd, it's a link to a notion page) https://delirious-tarsal-7c0.notion.site/Astronomy-Journal-0a8bb0939a994bf89e83ec2b121f8480

It's setup so that you can import it as a template your self. As it's not filled out yet, it might not be the best stuff to show how it actually works, but i will get to that soon, it's just hard filling out, as i've not gotten any obsavations in a long time due to sky conditions.

What i like about notion is, that you can have it on your phone, pc, tablet anything really and it's cloud synced, and it can work as a database, so when i make an obsavation entry, i can link it to a session entry and then the session entry will automatically show that it has the obsavation linked

Edited by k_martensen
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On 22/11/2022 at 09:05, badhex said:

I found this thread from a comment by @starhiker

Below is my approach to recently solve a similar problem, perhaps some of the info might help in your own quest. 

 

Ohh that's quite an extensive notion page you get there, what i've just created is nothing like that, but it looks really good, and i might take inspiration from you

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1 minute ago, k_martensen said:

Ohh that's quite an extensive notion page you get there, what i've just created is nothing like that, but it looks really good, and i might take inspiration from you

I'm looking into making a duplicate of my notion site for @starhiker, I'm more than happy to make a duplicate for you too.

One of the things I have found with existing software is that there are tens of thousands of things in the object database which, whilst very thorough, doesn't really make it easy to plan a session without excessive amounts of filtering. If I'm looking for objects in a given constellation, I don't want hundreds of objects most of which I can't view with a small scope anyway, I want more in the region of tens of objects all of which are within reach of a small-medium telescope. 

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9 minutes ago, k_martensen said:

I looked a bit at Obsidian, as much as i'm a software lover and love markdown, for what i can see it was a bit too hard to do some of the stuff i wanna do, like insert images, and have it cloud synced. So i continued with Notion, and i've finally gotten to do a bit of stuff. I've only just got some set up, and not filled out yet, but here you can see what i've done so far (even tho the link looks wierd, it's a link to a notion page) https://delirious-tarsal-7c0.notion.site/Astronomy-Journal-0a8bb0939a994bf89e83ec2b121f8480

It's setup so that you can import it as a template your self. As it's not filled out yet, it might not be the best stuff to show how it actually works, but i will get to that soon, it's just hard filling out, as i've not gotten any obsavations in a long time due to sky conditions.

What i like about notion is, that you can have it on your phone, pc, tablet anything really and it's cloud synced, and it can work as a database, so when i make an obsavation entry, i can link it to a session entry and then the session entry will automatically show that it has the obsavation linked

Thanks a lot for sharing your notion page. I made a copy straightaway 😀 I will play about it and adopt some format from the screenshot of @badhex as well. There will be plenty of time to play about it before my next observation session, according to the weather forecast.....

I agree with you about the choice of software by the way. I realised notion could do better job for this, especially the cloud based style.

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7 minutes ago, badhex said:

I'm looking into making a duplicate of my notion site for @starhiker, I'm more than happy to make a duplicate for you too.

One of the things I have found with existing software is that there are tens of thousands of things in the object database which, whilst very thorough, doesn't really make it easy to plan a session without excessive amounts of filtering. If I'm looking for objects in a given constellation, I don't want hundreds of objects most of which I can't view with a small scope anyway, I want more in the region of tens of objects all of which are within reach of a small-medium telescope. 

I agree. I always like the customisable tool, though it might be a pain to manual input all data if not using existing software. But on the other hand, I am not interested in taking notes on the unnamed dim dot nor trying to observe anything below 11 magnitude from my garden.. So there won't be much I will keep record for.

Edited by starhiker
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6 minutes ago, starhiker said:

Thanks a lot for sharing your notion page. I made a copy straightaway 😀 I will play about it and adopt some format from the screenshot of @badhex as well. There will be plenty of time to play about it before my next observation session, according to the weather forecast.....

I agree with you about the choice of software by the way. I realised notion could do better job for this, especially the cloud based style.

Nice, i will proberly make adjustments here and there, but the link should never expire, so you can always go back and see adjustments, when i get a but further, i will proberly make a changes note when i make/change stuff in the formatting, so people following can see what i've done :D

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9 minutes ago, badhex said:

I'm looking into making a duplicate of my notion site for @starhiker, I'm more than happy to make a duplicate for you too.

One of the things I have found with existing software is that there are tens of thousands of things in the object database which, whilst very thorough, doesn't really make it easy to plan a session without excessive amounts of filtering. If I'm looking for objects in a given constellation, I don't want hundreds of objects most of which I can't view with a small scope anyway, I want more in the region of tens of objects all of which are within reach of a small-medium telescope. 

I would love a copy of yours when you get time and think it's at a state where you want to share it, i didn't even think about having a database with the objects that can be observed. I overlooked that part, as this was more like a old timers notebook in digital formate and more database like, but it could be a really good addition :D

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