Learning the language of observations
Posted 01 December 2012 - 10:17 AM
I'm guessing that learning to sketch also helps one learn and I intend to explore that at some point as well but right now am thinking more about the language.
Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:21 AM
The Web, while being free and accessible, is also the resource cluttered by the most noise. Much of what's on the Web is either an umpteenth rehashing of information that, along the way, has lost much of its accuracy or, even worse, is just plain wrong. The good news is that, if one is willing to invest a little time in reading articles and books written by knowledgeable observers, it doesn't take long to develop an ability to sift the wheat from the chaff. There are many excellent Web sites offering accurate information and useful advice, including several published by regular contributors to Cloudy Nights.
If there is an astronomy club in your area, I'd encourage you to visit their next meeting. Talking with other amateurs is a great way to learn how the language is used. Conversations--both in person and online--offer opportunities to ask questions of knowledgeable folks. They also reveal that astronomy, as a subject, is so vast that it's practically impossible for one person to be expertly-versed in all aspects of the science or hobby. There is always something new to learn. And along with new topics of discussion comes new jargon to help us communicate.
Who knows, perhaps you or someone you know will someday coin a phrase that expands the language of amateur astronomy.
Bill in Flag
Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:52 AM
I did meet some of the folks from the St. Louis Astronomical Society at a recent star party that happened to be planned at my nieces' school, a happy coincidence and I met a couple of very knowledgeable folks there!
I've had a blog since 2003 and have decided to redirect it from it's previous focus of homesteading and permaculture to my current exploration of astronomy. Here's the most recent post, based on my question above. I'll be adding more as I document and learn: http://ourtomorrow.b...asic-skills-...
Posted 01 December 2012 - 08:42 PM
Posted 01 December 2012 - 09:23 PM
Posted 01 December 2012 - 09:54 PM
The Herschel Astronomical Abbreviations are good to know. They have already been linked to at the astronomylogs site above. Simple and efficient and devised by William Herschel whom many consider the greatest observer in history.
Posted 02 December 2012 - 07:08 AM
Posted 02 December 2012 - 08:17 AM
So make up your own language of observations, create a few new ones.
Posted 02 December 2012 - 08:42 AM
Don't think anyone suggested star dust or unicorn sprinkles though the latter might be taken the wrong way.
Funny thing, we jokingly refer to Capella as the Disco star . How do we go about getting that one officially renamed?
I've also found a few personal observation logs online and have read through their descriptions... FirstSight is correct... all of his suggested words are used often.
Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:08 AM
Posted 02 December 2012 - 07:37 PM
I've been doing this 45 years and I just sort of evolved in my note taking. I can't really say how I picked up the language. It just happened over time. I never really cared how scientific or compliant it was with anything, they were my own words so I've always been happy with them. Over the decades the words I use have sort-of fallen in line with others, to a point. I still don't worry too much about it.
My descriptions appear every month in the Las Vegas Astronomical Society Observer's Challenge and they don't seem out of place with anyone else's that I can see. It wasn't because I was trying to comply with a standard though.
I wouldn't worry about it. Just go with the flow and let your language develop over time. It will come out in the wash. If it's English, people will understand it, at least here in the U.S. and anywhere else where they speak it!