What do you record?

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What do you record?

Postby pipusmar » Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:03 pm

Hello :-)

I've not long moved to an area with a darkish sky. Very exciting! I read about people recording what they see. When I lived in Greater London this would have been very easy - as you couldn't see much!!

But how do you decide what to record when you can see a ridiculous number of constellations? Do you write down everything, every night? The brightest ones? Please could people shed some light on this perplexing but exciting area!

Thanks so much,

Clare
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Re: What do you record?

Postby Graeme1858 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 3:07 am

Welcome to the forum Clare

People record what they see in all sorts of ways. Some compile a monthly blog of their astrophotography and viewing, some keep a log of what they see each night. Some can trace their viewing back to 1971! I just jot down in a diary the objects I view when I get the telescope out or viewing with some other telescope so it's useful to keep track of what I've seen. I'm out in the garden just visually observing much more often though but I don't tend to record it.

Regards

Graeme
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Re: What do you record?

Postby Aratus » Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:08 pm

pipusmar wrote:Hello :-)
But how do you decide what to record when you can see a ridiculous number of constellations? Do you write down everything, every night? The brightest ones? Please could people shed some light on this perplexing but exciting area!


That's a good question. You need to have some idea about what you are going to look at before you go outside. If you are new to the hobby, then identifying constellations is a good place to start. Beforehand pick a constellation you don't know from a planisphere or star map. Learn to recognise it, notice its relation to other constellations, and then go outside and find it. If you have learnt a new constellation, then that is something to put down in a log. Once noted, you probably wouldn't mention seeing it on future occasions, unless there was a special reason to.

You can look at the constellation through binoculars and make a note of anything interesting or unusual. You can look at each star through a telescope noticing any colour, or if the star is a double star. Any faint fuzzy patches can be investigated. After you get back inside you can try to identify what you have seen. That can go down in the log.

Alternatively you can go through a star map and make a list of objects to find and observe. You can jot down your description of each object. With a goto telescope you can get through dozens of objects in one session - if you wanted to.

The 'Sky at Night' magazine is full of observing suggestions.

It is easier to record your voice while outside in the dark rather than actually writing notes. I use an old tape dictaphone, but there are plenty of digital devices that will do that.

There is a well tried formula for a log entry. Some idea of the sky conditions are useful. Is the sky transparent or is there a degree of haze? The temperature and wind conditions. Make a note of whether the moon is brighening the sky. Are there other problems, like light pollution? Is the sky clear or broken cloud. Make a note of the timing of each event. The telescope and magnification used etc.

Any unusual events add a bit of interest. I once was nearly run down by a heard of cows! I've been visited by various wild animals. The nocturnal antics of a pet cat once added to the fun. Strange meteor sitings are worth noting. Flash-bulb bright fireballs. Ones leaving glowing trails. Exploding meteors. Intense coloured meteors. Flaring or tumbling artificial satellites. On a couple of occasions police helicopters have taken an interest in my infra-red image! They all go into the log! :geek:
I use an 11" reflector (Celestron CPC 1100) and a 3" refractor, (Sky-Watcher ST80) mounted on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI 120MM, ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 1300D for imaging.
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Re: What do you record?

Postby pipusmar » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:00 pm

Thank you both Graeme and Aratus.

I've been using a pair of binoculars and a digital sky map up until now, and this has enabled me identify some constellations. I realised the only one I recognised previously I had totally the wrong name for. THE SHAME.

As well as ruining your night vision, the sky map is quite overwhelming - can't complain as it got me started without having to buy books etc, but having received a copy of '50 Things To See Through a Small Telescope' for Christmas, I can put my phone away now, and focus on one thing at a time. How helpful are the turny circle sky maps? Are they a genuinely useful tool.

Hoping to go out this evening as it's due to be clear between 22:00-24:00, fireworks depending. Hopefully I won't meet any angry cows...
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Re: What do you record?

Postby Aratus » Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:11 pm

IMHO there is nothing quite like a good book detailing each constellation, which you learn in the house, and then go out and find in the sky. Any map you take outside will always need some kind of light to see it by.

A planisphere is useful to a certain point. For a star map it is small but it does show clearly which constellations are visible at any date or time. This is the one I use. . .
https://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/david-chandler-night-sky-planisphere.html

It is designed to be used with a dim red light. It is double sided. The front details overhead, with the reverse detailing the constellations in the south of the sky. I still use it occasionally to get my bearings.

Yes, stay away from the cows! :D
I use an 11" reflector (Celestron CPC 1100) and a 3" refractor, (Sky-Watcher ST80) mounted on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI 120MM, ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 1300D for imaging.
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Re: What do you record?

Postby The Man with the Corrugated Iron Roof » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:59 pm

I record anything I see through binoculars or a telescope and any meteors I see. I also take photos and record anything that produces an image in focus but only post my best and/or most interesting messages to my gallery.

You might like to check this out: https://sungazer127mak.blogspot.com/2018/
How can I be one with the universe when we don't know what 96% of it is.

About Me: https://www.amazon.com/Philip-Pugh/e/B0034NTCJK

My blog: http://sungazer127mak.blogspot.com/

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/philippughastronomer/
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Re: What do you record?

Postby pipusmar » Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:32 pm

Thanks for your suggestions everyone.

Tonight was the first clear sky in a very long time! So I set up the new to me telescope to see what I could see. Which it turned out was not a lot! I will try and find someone to help me with set up and have a go another day.

Not to be deterred, I took out my trusty Celestron G2 Upclose binoculars, and my Sky At Night sky map. I took some notes of the stars and constellations I could see, just the main ones, as there were so many it wasn’t realistic for me to note them all down. I used the sky map for some names, an app for a few others. I also draw some constellations I didn’t know well to identify when I got in. For instance, I could identify Orion’S belt, but there was a little group of stars below I could easy identify, but I could draw in. I’ll attach a picture once I’ve written things up.

I made notes on the names of stars I could identify but also made some diagrams of constellations. It was a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to doing some more the next night is clear.
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Re: What do you record?

Postby Aratus » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:10 pm

pipusmar wrote: So I set up the new to me telescope to see what I could see. Which it turned out was not a lot!


What was the problem?
I use an 11" reflector (Celestron CPC 1100) and a 3" refractor, (Sky-Watcher ST80) mounted on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI 120MM, ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 1300D for imaging.
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Re: What do you record?

Postby pipusmar » Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:33 pm

Focussing. I’m going to have another go, hopefully this evening. I’ve discovered you can make the tripod higher, which will help. I didn’t realise you could extend as I opened outside in the dark, and the release clips are in the inside edge of each leg.

All the instruction for this particular telescope seem to relate to using with an electronic guide, but I figured and learn to focus it on something big like the moon before playing with the fancy add ons. Is this realistic?
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Re: What do you record?

Postby Gfamily2 » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:05 pm

pipusmar wrote:Focussing. I’m going to have another go, hopefully this evening. I’ve discovered you can make the tripod higher, which will help. I didn’t realise you could extend as I opened outside in the dark, and the release clips are in the inside edge of each leg.

All the instruction for this particular telescope seem to relate to using with an electronic guide, but I figured and learn to focus it on something big like the moon before playing with the fancy add ons. Is this realistic?

Yes.
Use the lowest power eyepiece (the one with the most mm) and check you can get good sharp focus. Sometimes the sky isn't steady enough to be able to get really crisp images with high power eyepieces, so don't try to push it too high. Also, the lower magnification means you have a wider field of view, so it's easier to find things in the first place.

Setting up and taking down the telescope indoors a couple of times is good practice, partly because you can see what you're doing, but also because you are more likely to drop or damage something if you are putting it away when it's cold and dark and you're tired and you've never done it before.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak, Raffle winner of SW ST80
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
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