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    Default Observing Log or Journal



    Do you keep a notebook or log of your observations?

    What kind - sheets of paper, a notebook, or a computer program?
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    Default Re: Observing Log or Journal

    Yes, I believe that by keeping an observation log, it helps you to be a better observer, because you have to pay closer attention to details in order to describe them. How you record those observations and what info you record is entirely up to you.

    For me personally, I take audio notes in the field with my phone's voice recorder. Once inside (or the next day), I will transcribe these notes and create what I call a StarLog, which I will post to my website and various other online places (such as here on AF). That way, if my computer crashes or a site goes down, I have multiple backup copies of it.

    Observation logs also allow you to keep track of which objects you've already visited. And if you do visit the same object again, you can compare notes to see how sky conditions affected your viewing (or how much your observation skills have improved).
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    Default Re: Observing Log or Journal

    During a session, I have a piece of paper and a pencil.
    My notes are horrible, but usually I can read it.

    After my session, I use a simple Microsoft Word document, and most of the time I'll post a report here on AF.
    Then I have different spreadsheets, depending on the objects. I use these to keep track if and when I observed the object, and I'll also add a color code if applicable(ex: carbon star color last time observed)

    My system may seem archaic to some, but it works for me.
    Jim



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    Default Re: Observing Log or Journal

    I log everything, and have done so since day 1 save for a couple of months with my binoculars shortly after I got started.

    Started with a spiral-bound notebook and a pencil, changed to a digital voice recorder and transcription, and have since settled on logging via Sky Safari on a dimmed down, night-moded iPad.

    I store my observations as reports here on the forum, in a cloud folder as individual reports in Word .doc format, and individual object notes in my Sky Tools 3 database.
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    Default Re: Observing Log or Journal

    I use a spiral bound note for observing notes and field sketches. The pencil/paper approach has a nice feel of it. It's relaxing. Observations and sketches are transcribed into Astroplanner to keep everything better organized. It's all a process.

    Observing notes don't need to be anything technical or overly detailed. It's a hobby not a job. You can record as much or as little as you want.

    I agree will AA, note taking makes you a better observer over time. You learn how to observe more detail beyond the 'faint fuzzy' description (not that there's anything wrong with that either - my first notebook was loaded with 'faint fuzzies'.)
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    Default Re: Observing Log or Journal

    I use Skysafari at the scope to take my observing notes "live" then transfer them to this fine FREE program the next day, Deepsky Astronomy Software - The best deep sky astronomy software
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    Default Re: Observing Log or Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by Avid Astronomer View Post
    Yes, I believe that by keeping an observation log, it helps you to be a better observer, because you have to pay closer attention to details in order to describe them. How you record those observations and what info you record is entirely up to you.

    For me personally, I take audio notes in the field with my phone's voice recorder. Once inside (or the next day), I will transcribe these notes and create what I call a StarLog, which I will post to my website and various other online places (such as here on AF). That way, if my computer crashes or a site goes down, I have multiple backup copies of it.

    Observation logs also allow you to keep track of which objects you've already visited. And if you do visit the same object again, you can compare notes to see how sky conditions affected your viewing (or how much your observation skills have improved).
    Thank you, Tom, for your perspective.
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    Default Re: Observing Log or Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by rickg18704 View Post
    I use a spiral bound note for observing notes and field sketches. The pencil/paper approach has a nice feel of it. It's relaxing. Observations and sketches are transcribed into Astroplanner to keep everything better organized. It's all a process.

    Observing notes don't need to be anything technical or overly detailed. It's a hobby not a job. You can record as much or as little as you want.

    I agree will AA, note taking makes you a better observer over time. You learn how to observe more detail beyond the 'faint fuzzy' description (not that there's anything wrong with that either - my first notebook was loaded with 'faint fuzzies'.)
    Thanks for your thoughts, Rick
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    Default Re: Observing Log or Journal

    Good morning all and thank you for your insightful replies.

    Been keeping a paper journal since junior high school; alas, the first log was lost somewhere along the way during changes of station as a Navy officer.

    Log 2 began after visiting Lowell Observatory in 1993 while visiting my parents who were vacationing in Phoenix. Went to Warwick's (book store) in La Jolla and bought a lined journal, because the ship's logs were journal books.

    Most of the drawings were done with a pencil, although I used a rollerball or a fountain pen with a fine nib for some. Sketching the planets, and the Shoemaker-Levy comet impacts, etc has made me a better observer, and leafing through its pages is a fond trip down memory lane.

    Best wishes for dark skies to all.
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    Default Re: Observing Log or Journal

    I also use a spiral bound notebook to record my observations. I used to transfer everything to Word, usually the following morning after an evening's session, especially when I was working on the M110 program a few years back. These days I do not transfer everything to Word, but keep it in the notebook.
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