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Organizing the Chaos

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#1 rugby

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 06:09 PM

Years ago I  passed the 300 mark observing Struve pairs. I organized them by constellation in a series of binders. All descriptions and drawings were hand rendered.

Now I have far too many pieces of paper with hastily written observations to add to the collection. Its time to use some kind of database to organize everything. I am constantly re observing pairs seen decades ago.

Can anyone describe how they keep records of observations. I am particularly interested in what program you are using and the kinds of information described.

I can produce a database if I keep it simple. Is there anything I can download to make the job easier.


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#2 jaraxx

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 06:40 PM

My quick try:

 

1) Geography Questions:

    Location of Observation (where you were)

    Observation date(s). Maybe a field for time? I wouldn't but....

    How good was the sky? Bortle / whatever description you wish

 

2) Gear Questions

    Instrument Used

    Magnification (Maybe two fields, one mag required to split, the other mag w/ best view?

    

3) Object ID

    Name(s) or Name 1 / 2  or "Common" name or whatever

    # Stars in system

    # Stars observed

    - Edit: Constellation

4) Notes: Whatever you wish

    And /or sketch

 

Good Luck!


Edited by jaraxx, 10 September 2019 - 06:42 PM.


#3 nightofnit

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 07:20 PM

This is something that I have struggled a little bit with over the years. I have thousands of observations of double stars which I keep in a simple spreadsheet, one line per observation. Each line is generally a visual impression and an estimate of separation and PA. But, now what? When I view each binary again, sometimes years later, the description is pretty much the same, which is nice, but I'm not sure what the value of this database really is. I'd be interested in what others do with their double star observation data.


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#4 Pawan

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 10:14 PM

I use SkyTools as a database and enter comments. It keeps track of the dates, comments, etc. It makes it very easy to find out what I have not observed so far.

#5 JDFlood

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Posted 05 October 2019 - 06:27 PM

If it suits you Microsoft OneNote might be appropriate. I have hundreds of articles, papers... from all hobbies and personal info (policies, sales receipts, manuals... etc.). I have one notebook for astronomical literature (thousands of pages) by category, one in each constellation with hundreds of charts, then one on observing. You can embed photos, drawings, scribble. All devices synchronized automatically, phone, iPads, PC, all is indexed so you can search. I have completely eliminated paper in my life. 


Edited by JDFlood, 05 October 2019 - 06:30 PM.


#6 rugby

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 06:57 PM

Thanks JDFlood sounds like a great idea



#7 Sagitta

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 02:08 PM

I use Excel spreadsheets that I later embed in an Outlook appointment.



#8 Robert Zebahl

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 07:10 AM

For the documentation I use a program written in Python by myself, which also has to be used for the generation of static web pages. However, this is of little use to you.

 

Otherwise there are a few programs written for the management of observations. Here the format is somehow fixed, which I often didn't like very much. For example, eyepieces had to be explicitly defined, which were used for an observation. The magnification is enough for me.

 

So I think a spreadsheet is a good choice. A friend uses spreadsheets very intensively for a larger project. Maybe you are also interested in contributing your observations including sketches to our double star project. So-called CSV files, which can be easily generated from a spreadsheet, are accepted as the sending format. This is just a suggestion before you make your final decision.

 

My own observations basically contain the following information:

  • date & time
  • location of the observation
  • conditions (e.g. Bortle, SQM-L, NELM, Seeing)
  • telescope
  • magnifications & filters
  • visibility of the object (direct, indirect, not seen)
  • description & sketches


#9 inZet

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Posted 28 October 2019 - 07:02 PM

but I'm not sure what the value of this database really is. I'd be interested in what others do with their double star observation data.

 

It has sense for you, to keep records what you observed, when and how.

There's little but some scientific value too.

PA and separation estimation is better than none.

Color impression is better than no information.

How many times people say "But Struve saw the double as yellow-blue, but Herschel reported dirty white-light gray-blue". Why not to add your color impressions, too?

 

Gianluca



#10 blakesphere

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 11:26 PM

I keep a list on my personal/company web server using a web authoring tool. It documents each pair attempted, over 1600 so far. Separations come from Haas's book unless otherwise stated. That list grew too big so I cut it in half. Over time I'm updating the list to include the WDS discoverer designation.

 

constellations A-H

http://computer-ease...es/dsliflst.htm

 

constellations L-V

http://computer-ease...ies/dslist2.htm

 

I snuck in some javascript code so the lists can be sorted, filtered, easily searched.

 

It's a work in progress but the line items have hyperlinks to my blog (managed by blogger) with a detailed observing session record. Sometimes the evening blog entry has a sketch or photo.

 

I also use SkyTools heavily. I don't keep detailed logs though; the blog is for that. But in SkyTools I use the Log indicator which helps with filtering and list generartion. I keep track of on the web site and in SkyTools the targets to revisit to split or to return to as it is a binary with detectable motion.

 

cheers,

Blake


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