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recording what I see??

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Never actually bothered to record but it will depend on what you are observing.

If double stars then you will probably need a table of stars then as a final column have a cell that records the viewing data. Simple Excel or table in word should be adaquate. Google search for "colourful double stars".

Same for the Messiers, get a list of Messiers and add a column at the end and put your information in there. Wiki has a messier list that you can copy.

The RASC has a PDF for their observation certificate, it may be helpful to have a look at that for ideas. They also have observation PDF's for Messiers and a few others.

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Also have a look at the British Astronomical Association website: British Astronomical Association - Home as they have some notes on recording. Also the Sky at Night magazine usually has some observation record charts for the planets supplied on the cd that comes with it.

If all you are interested in is records for yourself then its up to you what you record!! but I would suggest:

Date, time, Your place of observation (long and lat), equipment used, magnification and filters etc, seeing (clarity of the sky) and any notes and drawings made. Photo's should also be recorded - most digital cameras put the date and time etc on the picture - you need to record the rest of the details.

Notes can be "copied up" into your observing log in the comfort of your own arm chair - but do it as soon as you stop observing, whilst things are still fresh in your mind.

For scientifically useful observations - join the BAA and the relevant section for your specific interests. They will guide you as to the records needed. And YES amateurs CAN and DO carry out really useful scientific observations!

Hope this helps.

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Theres a few doc's people have put up on here in the beginers section one for messiers and one for the moon you can also sketch what you see which I am starting to do myself. I have a note book I keep a log of all my viewing sessions including seeing conditions and any further detail I may not have seen from my last visit.

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I'm a total newbie at this, but I thought the same thing that it would be a nice idea to log what I see (like it hasnt been seen already by millions of people) :hello2:

I came across a nice little piece of software that you can download for free called astrobyte, it give you lists of things you might want to look for and a ready made spreadsheet for the different objects, i'm sure it is of no real use to a seasoned astronomer, but it is pretty much exactly what I was looking for.

Take a look - Astronomy Logging Software

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I have an online website and blog i use for observations/images. I wanted it to keep track of the Messier objects i have seen (and any images of anything). Entries are far and few between. I also tend to ramble a bit (shock horror). Hopefully with the new scope i will be bagging M's on a nightly basis (weather permitting).

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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Yes, i'd encourage keeping records, but not merely to keep track of which objects you've seen. My logbooks cover 10 years and contain some very fond Newbie memories, thoughts and feelings. Going back and re-reading them really takes me back. :hello2:

The only thing i regret is not copying the observations onto looseleaf paper and keeping them in a ring binder for easy access. Everything's understandably in chronological order, and it's impossible to compare notes with someone on a specific object without going through 6 logbooks to find all of my obsevations of it. Yeah, i could probably start to re-do them all, but there aren't enough hours in the day as it is. :)

Some basic things you might find helpful to keep track of:

Begin/end time of session


Transparency and seeing

Lunar interference

Objects observed

Equipment used

Descriptions of objects seen

Meteors and satellites

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If i was to log satellites seen.................that is all i would be able to log. In the early days of owning a scope i found them exciting and loved tracking them (easier with bins). Now when i see them all i say to myself is "will you get out of the way and stop distracting me".

Ive caught a few on camera. I think they add a certain something to images.

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LMAO Talitha. There is no hope for you. Now i MUST admit that the 2 Iridium flares i have seen in my life were about the most exciting things i have seen but i didnt chase them up on Heavens-Above.

To see not one BUT two of them within 30 seconds of each other without any prior planning, i think is a claim to fame. Not to mention absolute beginners luck.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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