Observing Data Logsheet
ASTRONOMICAL LEAGUE
A FEDERATION OF ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETIES
A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
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To promote the science of astronomy:
By fostering astronomical education;
By providing incentives for astronomical observation and research;
By assisting communication among amateur astronomical societies.
ASTRO NOTES
Produced by the Astronomical League
Note 3: Observing Data Sheet
Introduction
It is fun to observe the heavens, that is why many of us are amateur astronomers! However, in
order to make scientifically useful observations or to compare your own observations over years
of observing, it is important to record your observations in some permanent form. You might use
a bound or looseleaf notebook to maintain your records. Whatever format you use, certain
standard information must be recorded.
The form shown latter on this page is one way to organize that information. It is only a
suggestion, but you are free to make copies as you need for recording your own observations.
A few comments follow on certain of the data fields.
Date and Time
Since most astronomical observations are made at night, they can span two calendar dates. This
can lead to confusion in your records. There are several ways to avoid this confusion: use
Universal Time as reported by radio station WWV and others; specify both standard calendar
dates, e.g., January 25-26; just be careful of your observation time and report it properly in civil
time, noting the date change after midnight. Just pick a method and use it consistently.
Astronomical Seeing
Many observers forget that the telescope's optical path includes a column of atmosphere equal in
diameter to the telescope objective. The air within this column is constantly moving, changing
density and composition. These factors combine to degrade the observed image. Some estimate of
these "seeing conditions" should be included in your observing report: the "seeing" may be
important when interpreting your observation at a later date.
The form includes two provisions for estimating seeing: transparency and steadiness. Various
observing programs may specify a particular "seeing scale." Be sure to indicate the basis of your
estimates. If transparency is the faintest naked eye star visible, enter it as "5.5 mag." If steadiness
is on an arbitrary scale of 1 to 10, 10 best, enter it as "7/10."
Field Size and Orientation
You should include an indication of scale in any sketches or drawings you make. The angular size
of the eyepiece field is often convenient for this. You should also include two perpendicular
directions in any field sketch: north (or south) and east (or west). Two directions will indicate any
field rotation caused by star diagonals or secondary mirrors.
Observing Log
Object:
Right Ascension:
Declination:
Constellation:
Magnitude:
Size:
Date:
Time:
Seeing: Transparency:
Steadiness:
Temperature:
Telescope:
Eyepiece/Magnification:
Filters:
Notes:
Finder Chart:
Field Size:
Observer: ________________________
UTC/civil
UTC/std/ds
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