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General Observing Forum Guidelines

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#1 Glassthrower


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Posted 29 July 2007 - 03:11 PM

Is "General Observing", a little too vague for you?

Are you having a difficult time determining which forum to post your observation in? Perhaps these guidelines will help.

Let's start with the forum description :

General Observing - A forum for observing experiences involving satellites, meteor showers, aurorae, atmospheric phenomena and other observations that do not neatly fit into existing observing fora. Also encouraged are: discussions of meteorology, home weather stations, and the effect of weather on amateur astronomy

If your observation contains any of the above mentioned phenomena, then it is welcome here in this forum.

In addition, "atmospheric phenomena" may also include the following things which are not specifically mentioned above :

Zodiacal light, gegenschein, noctilucent clouds, solar haloes, sun dogs, sun pillars, moon haloes, moon dogs, moon pillars, green flashes, crepuscular rays, rainbows, moonbows, fogbows, bolides, and common weather related events such as tornadoes, funnel clouds, and various precipitation events (hail, snow, rain, etc).

Observations of the lunar surface which are posted in GO will be moved to Lunar Observing. Likewise for other planetary bodies such as Jupiter and Saturn - these will be moved to Planetary & Solar System Observing. Observations of stars, star clusters, nebulae, and other deep sky objects will be moved to the Deep Sky Observing forum. There is obviously some overlap between GO and Solar Observing, and some topics may be appropriate for both. Generally speaking : sunspots, prominences, coronal ejections, and other solar activity related to the solar disc itself, will be moved to Solar Observing. Solar-related events that cause interaction with the Earth's atmosphere that produces visible effects not limited to the solar disc, are appropriate here. I realize this leaves a "grey area", and it will be up to the moderator's discretion to determine which forum is most appropriate for certain solar observations.

When posting observations of satellites, please observe the following guidelines as laid out by our own Preston (LivingNDixie) in the Satellite Observing thread which is now part of General Observing :

1. No classified orbit elements.
2. No excessively speculative discussions of anything classified.
3. No images of anything that could be classified.

In the case of this forum, a satellite shall be considered "Classified" if it is listed as such by any governmental agency. The Moderators will do their best to watch for such cases, but if a user finds one, please advise a moderator by hitting the "notify a moderator" button at the bottom of the post. We will use the "Heavens-Above" link and/or Celestrak link databases to verify the status of a satellite's orbit.

Although the intrepid web surfer may stumble across information on the web that is considered "sensitive" or "classified", that information has no place on Cloudy Nights. While re-posting such information found in the public domain may not be "illegal" in a technical sense, it is unethical and may expose Cloudy Nights to legal risk. Such material will be deleted without warning or explanation. The observer has no way of knowing, in many cases, whether a satellite observed is "classified", and it is acceptable to discuss such observations, IF the above rules are met and the discussion is limited to the observation itself and does not extend to speculation about the sensitive elements of the satellite itself.

Lastly, if you saw something in the sky and have no idea what it is - then post it here. We will help you figure out what it was that you saw, and if appropriate, we will move it to the proper forum where it will get the discussion it deserves.

Clear skies!

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