Recording Cometary Observations
Why Record Your Observations?
Recording observations is important for two reasons:
- It gives you a permanent record of all the great times you had observing.
- Recording scientific details of an observation can help researchers.
Very few, if any, astronomers remember everything that they have observed through the years, and for that reason alone it is wise to keep a record of your observations. Many experienced astronomers have commented on how much they enjoy looking through their log books and recalling the many precious memories that are contained there. It is truly worth the effort to write down your observations.
How to Record Observations
There are several methods of recording observations that range from plain, everyday text to using complex abbreviations that use less space. One of the most practical ways of recording observations is to have a template form completed ahead of time that contains all of the known data, like the object's name, number, location, size, magnitude, and so on. You then simply write down your description of the object in the space provided, and then use the time saved to explore other treasures in the night sky. The template can also include an area to make a drawing.
Here is an overview of several ways to record observations:
- Plain everyday language in a logbook works just fine, and with that style you can easily share your adventures with family and friends.
- Abbreviated plain everyday language can still be understood by family and friends but will save a little time and some space in your logbook.
- Complex shorthand will save time and space but will be hard for others to understand. This works for serious observers who want to accomplish a lot.
- Template forms are very handy and time-saving, but may be larger than a compact observing logbook.
- Audio recordings made with a recorder work very well for certain types of observing projects, but this method is not the best for long-term storage of information.
Drawing at the eyepiece
Drawing at the eyepiece can be a very rewarding experience for all the same reasons as making notes. The added bonus of a drawing is that it will clearly show what you saw to other people who may visualize a text description differently than you.
How To Draw Comets
A good way to learn more about comet drawing methods is to do an Internet search, where you will find several pages devoted to astronomical drawings. Many of them feature actual comet drawings that you can try to emulate. There are also several good books available that cover astronomical drawing techniques in whole or in part.