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Observation Log on the Web
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Observation Log on the Web
It's always nice to keep a log on your observations. First of all, it helps a lot on systematic observation projects like to finish all Messier objects within a year or two, or to track the change of a sunspot over a week, etc. Secondly, it helps you to record the problems and solutions during your observation. Thirdly, records over many years of recurent events like meteor showers, will be good to let us see the trend and even to help to make predictions on future events. I am not going to list on and there are simply so many good reasons to keep one. Finally, it's always nice when you read your observation log over again after say several years, you will see how you develop your skill, and it will bring back good memories.
My observation log
Conventional methods like to write on a log book is good enough, computer softwares are also nice, however, most of them will only limit yourself as the only audience. Yes, you can always bring your log book to your friends, but you cannot always do that.
Now, people love to write blog which is a short form of weblog. I have started a blog for myself since May 2004. I found it very handy to record my daily life, my ideas and even to keep track of a "To Do" list for myself.
Until one day after I've taken some solar shots, and as usual, I uploaded the image to my astronomy website, edited the HTML to show the detail on the image, I asked myself, why I'm still doing all these work? I knew that my personal blog can do all these things without all those ftp and vi commands and those kind of things! So, I started my own observation blog on Jan 2005. The first thing I did was to migrate all those old record to my observation blog. This was so easy and I managed to finish it within a few hours. Then, I started to use my observation blog more often.
An observation blog has a big advantage over paper based observation log - you can share it instantly with any one through the Internet! Also, it is multimedia, you can include sketches, you can include photographs, and you can include sound track or even video clip there. This is absolutely powerful. At the same time, it's also very user friendly.
To me, I used the service from www.blogger.com, which is a free service. You can do what I said above, you can keep several different blogs as well. It supports "label" in which you can sort your observations accordingly. For example, in my observation website before, I don't know if I should put "Venus transit" in the category of solar or planet. But with the "label" concept, you can simply apply two labels to this kind of observation. What makes it even more powerful is that, it has a search function so that you can enter any keywords there basically to find relevant stuff.
Other than as an observation record, I also include my log for repairing my equipments, like my LXD55 here:
If I wanted to check out my past observation on the sun, I can use "label" and on clicking the label "sun", I will be directed to a page like this:
and that will show up all the records which I labeled as sun. Like I mentioned above, I can put video clip on my blog as well like this one:
During cloudy nights, I can plan my observation, review my observations, or to write down my ideas about how to use my equipments in my observation blog. It's just so easy but powerful, and so I encourage every one of you to join in and share your observation via your observation blog.