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I am just about to start using my first telescope:D. Anyway I was wondering taking notes on what I see (I am that has notes for everything, I have notes for every lesson at school and teachers wonder why I use so much jotters :L). What I want to ask is how do I take notes eg. what kind of things should I take notes on? Would it be a good idea to make sketches. I am planning on the planets and the moon. Also if I was to observe the sun then what should I look at then? Would it be a good idea to have 1 notebook per object or just 1 for everything?

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Whatever you do don't look at the sun in a regular telescope - it will burn your eyes and you'll be left permanently blind. You need a special solar scope for that or appropriate filters. Solar observing can be very expensive.

Planets and moon are great and making sketches can be very rewarding if you're into that. Read Carol Lakomiak's column in Sky at Night magazine for tips on drawing and the type of notes she makes - it's very interesting reading. Hope that helps :icon_eek:

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Thanks for that. No I will not be looking at the sun throught my telescope any time soon. My friend does something with card, I think so he was going to show me how to do that. I shall go and have a look at that column now.

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there is something called baader solar film which is quite cheap. You make a holder for it and put it over the apparture of your scope full instructions are included with the film, follow them very carefully and you have a cheap way of looking at the sun.

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I also make loads of notes. What I do is list it by date, include equipment used, objects viewed, details on the planets or moon you can see, magnification used, any colours you saw, any shapes you saw.

The list can go on and on, also maybe a little sketch as well.

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I did the trick with card projection of the sun a long time ago, it worked quite well. You can only do this trick with certain kinds of telescopes (small refractors) and certain kinds of cheap eyepieces. You run the risk of cracking a lens of mirror in other kinds of telescopes, or melting part of the eyepiece.

If you do point your scope at the sun in a safe way (with a solar filter), remember to block off the finderscope as well - it can also damage your vision.

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Being a fellow newbie I started making notes too in my copy of Turn Left at Orion. Plenty of space on the page to make remarks about:

- date / time

- viewing location

- conditions: really basic 'E'xcellent / 'G'ood / 'F'air / 'P'oor ratings

- object

- view remarks e.g. can distinguish the cassini division on saturn's rings

- EPs used: useful when trying out different ones (kindly lent by fellow observers)

ok, not very scientific and probably better methods out there but I thought it would be really useful in terms of understanding what my scope is capable of and with what EP for certain objects and in different conditions.

it also helps for ticking off all the great objects recommended in your list/book

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I like to make notes too.

I record the usual stuff date, time, seeing cond, object.....etc but like to make footnotes too recording other stuff like:

How I am feeling, who's there, what happened and anything else that makes each night at the eyepiece different.

That way when I read my notes back I remember each session in a bit more lighthearted way.

I'm no "serious amateur" just a star gazer so if I trip over blundering about in the dark, or some prat turns up asking if I've seen Uranus ha ha. I write it down cause I like to have a laugh reading about it later.

Often find nights that went a bit wonky are just as much fun to read back later as ones with perfect seeing.

I am not saying It's the best way to record stuff but it works for me.

I only used to write down scientific based stuff but found my log a bit dull so this is how I make mine a bit brighter.

Plus I can't sketch for toffee. Heaven knows I've tried.

Regards Steve

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Hi Scotty, nice to meet you. :icon_eek: Basically i do what Steve (swamp thing) does. In addition to regular astro-notes, my logbook contains thoughts, moods, nightnightsounds like Wolves, Coyotes and Owls, and even the smell of the fog as it rolled up the hill.

If you'll mainly be observing planets and the Moon, i'd recommend making sketches to supplement the text notes in your logbook. For planetary observing it's fun to make a rough sketch with some surface detail, and also mark the placement of any moons you see. Write the time of the observation, and then check Stellarium afterwards to see which moons they were. If it's a lengthy session, make a few sketches and you'll be able to track the movement of the moons.

You can do something similar with observations of our own Moon. Make a very rough sketch of the entire disc, and mark the place of interesting features you see. Make side notes regarding their appearance, and then look them up later in the VMA and label them in your logbook. (The 14MB 'Expert' version at the bottom of the page is more than sufficient.)

:rolleyes:

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I do everything mentioned above. Good point made my Steve. On the Sky at Night recently they were looking at Patrick Moore's notes and his little side notes on things going wrong added interest.

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Okay so tonight I thought I try observing the moon which I did succesfully but my sketch went a bit wrong. My artistic skills leave something to be desired, although I saw alot of detail it failed to reach the paper. I wrote down all of the suggestions although not a lot went wrong. Well thanks everyone.

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... but my sketch went a bit wrong. My artistic skills leave something to be desired, although I saw alot of detail it failed to reach the paper.

You sound just like me when i first started out. :D

Don't be discouraged, frustration is perfectly normal for those of us who haven't had any art training. Eyepiece sketching is a skill, and it takes time to develop it, just like it took time to learn how to walk, ride a bicycle or drive a car.

Take a look at my lunar sketching tutorial and use it to practice with if you'd like.

(Check your PM inbox too, i'll send you an expanded version of the tutorial's text directions... hope it helps.)

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