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How do you track your observations?

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#1 Zaish

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 05:57 AM

Hi,

 

This may not be the appropriate forum, please let me know other wise.

 

I currently use a folder structure to manage anything I save from my session. My goal is to observe something over time and to reference it in any future session. This method doesn't work for me and I am seeing what other options are available.

 

I generally like to record the below items.

 - Camera

 - Telescope

 - Camera setting used

 - Object

 - Date and time

 - Saved png or tif of the object

 

Ideally, I would like to find some sort of program to store this in, and have the ability to have multiple png open at the same time for comparisons. Astrobin comes close to what I would like to track, but this seem to be focused more on the astrophotography side. 

 

For those who like to track or document things over time, I am interested in knowing what method or programs you may be using. 

 

Thanks!



#2 alphatripleplus

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 06:36 AM

Moving from EAA to Astronomy Software & Computers for a better fit.


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#3 Knasal

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 07:19 AM

Can you use an app like Sky Safari? It would make that very easy.

 

Kevin


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#4 AaronF

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 07:34 AM

https://www.cloudyni...tracking-notes/



#5 GaryShaw

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 08:12 AM

Sky Safari 6 Pro gives you the ability to make a pretty thorough record of your observing session, including extensive lines for custom comments, but then fails to give you any way whatsoever of arranging the info or printing it out. Your observing records are forever locked within an iOS-only application. 
 

Better to set yourself up with an easy custom database using FileMaker or another database. With FileMaker anyway you can format observing info exactly as you want to see it and you can include multiple images, Star charts, images, tables, etc. You can easily create observation planning lists to get organized for your observing session and that information can carry over into your observation report. 
Gary



#6 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 08:19 AM

Sky Safari 6 Pro gives you the ability to make a pretty thorough record of your observing session, including extensive lines for custom comments, but then fails to give you any way whatsoever of arranging the info or printing it out. Your observing records are forever locked within an iOS-only application.

 

I believe observations, observing lists and sessions can be exported and they are accessible using LiveSky.

 

I log my observations in Sky Safari and use LiveSky to back them up and link them between devices.  When I am observing, I can easily see previous observations of an object.  

 

Jon


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#7 Chris K

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 08:36 PM

Sky Safari 6 Pro gives you the ability to make a pretty thorough record of your observing session, including extensive lines for custom comments, but then fails to give you any way whatsoever of arranging the info or printing it out. Your observing records are forever locked within an iOS-only application. 
 

Better to set yourself up with an easy custom database using FileMaker or another database. With FileMaker anyway you can format observing info exactly as you want to see it and you can include multiple images, Star charts, images, tables, etc. You can easily create observation planning lists to get organized for your observing session and that information can carry over into your observation report. 
Gary

If you're looking for a low-cost alternative to FileMaker Pro, check out Tap Forms.



#8 Zaish

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 08:42 PM

I haven't thought of using Sky Safari, are you able to store any png files when using eaa? FileMaker seems interesting and I will need to look into it more as well. 

 

Thanks for your suggestions and also the link to the other thread. 



#9 EmeraldHills

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 05:47 AM

AstroPlanner. It was designed from the ground up to do exactly what you're asking. Last November/December, before I started observing in earnest, this question was fundamental to me. I must have tried out a dozen options in the field. For my money (and, more importantly, for my time), nothing came close to AstroPlanner.

 

https://www.astroplanner.net/

 

I use SkySafari as my planetarium program. But because it doesn't permit the uploading of images, it wasn't a good fit for me - for exactly the things you're seeking here.



#10 GaryShaw

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 07:10 AM

I haven't thought of using Sky Safari, are you able to store any png files when using eaa? FileMaker seems interesting and I will need to look into it more as well. 

 

Thanks for your suggestions and also the link to the other thread. 

Sky Safari 6 Pro stores nothing and doesn’t really work for observation reports. It will save all your gear, the date, what you observed and gives a single ‘Comments’ field but no other customization. Not sure what you mean about saving png’s from EAA sessions as those all go automatically into a ‘Sharpcap Captures’ folder on your desktop. 



#11 Tempus

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 07:27 AM

As a strictly visual observer, I use nothing but spiral bound notebooks. They allow me to log unrestricted and include whatever info I deem appropriate. I can even include a small sketch. Can I quickly find an observation from last year? Probably not as fast as a digital search but I can still find it.



#12 lphilpot

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 08:15 AM

When I did my Herschel 400, I used a small Olympus digital voice recorder (before smartphones), then I transcribed that into SkyTools. A few years ago Phyllis Lang (developer of Deep Sky Planner) imported all of them into DSP. I've not done a lot of loggin since then, but if / when I do, it'll probably be recorded first on my phone then transcribed into DSP. It appears to be easier to get the logs out of DSP than SkyTools if I should ever need to.



#13 Knasal

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 12:07 PM

Sky Safari 6 Pro stores nothing and doesn’t really work for observation reports. 

Categorically false. 



#14 astrohamp

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 01:07 PM

For my EAA observing records I take a screen grab (ctrl/Print-Screen) of my control/viewing monitor.  Paste in Windows Paint and save the jpg using file name acronyms for particulars.  Object name first so I can more easily re-organize the file to show repeat viewings for comparison. 

Lately I have been including the Astrospheric prediction for Transmissibility (Ta for average) and Seeing (Saa for above average) in the file name as well. SharpCap creates image and has capture particulars. Guiding graph included in the display to show conditions while the planetarium display confirms object selected.



#15 EricSi

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 04:28 PM

AstroPlanner. It was designed from the ground up to do exactly what you're asking. Last November/December, before I started observing in earnest, this question was fundamental to me. I must have tried out a dozen options in the field. For my money (and, more importantly, for my time), nothing came close to AstroPlanner.

 

https://www.astroplanner.net/

 

I use SkySafari as my planetarium program. But because it doesn't permit the uploading of images, it wasn't a good fit for me - for exactly the things you're seeking here.

Have you used Sky Tools? I took a look at their web site, and I was thinking about buying the visual observing version.



#16 Zaish

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 07:11 PM

Thanks for the all suggestions and feedback. 

 

EmeraldHills, this may be what I am looking for. AaronF posted a thread where you mentioned it, and I started to look into it. I also like astrohamp suggestion on how to save the settings. I'll also have to take a look at SkyTool and DeepSkyPlanner. 



#17 EmeraldHills

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 08:16 PM

How rigid and organized are you?  Sky Tools seemed... a bit ... too rigid for me. Too many processes for the way my mind works. It wanted me to think like a computer programmer. What type of personality are you? : )

 

Have you used Sky Tools? I took a look at their web site, and I was thinking about buying the visual observing version.



#18 EricSi

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 03:18 PM

How rigid and organized are you?  Sky Tools seemed... a bit ... too rigid for me. Too many processes for the way my mind works. It wanted me to think like a computer programmer. What type of personality are you? : )

Thanks for the reply.

 

As fate would have it, I *am* a computer programmer, so thinking like one shouldn't be a problem for me.   smile.gif

 

But a good programmer should know that things do not always fit into neat little boxes, and being flexible enough to handle the cases where they don't is important.....


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#19 EmeraldHills

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 08:26 PM

It's worth a try then -- if you're a computer programmer. : )


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#20 lphilpot

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 09:49 PM

I did virtually all my H400 logs in SkyTools 3, whether at the time of observation or after the fact. Although I have ST4 now, I've not done any logging with it. It wasn't hard to enter the logs in SkyTools. At the time I personally wished for a bit more keyboard-friendliness (control tab order, hotkeys, etc.) but it worked. That may well have improved with the newer version. My biggest challenge was getting the logs out of ST3 into a form I could keep regardless of software. Took a bit of effort but I got there.



#21 Zaish

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 05:44 AM

It may be me but, I cant seem to find a trial version of ST4. I also work in the development space but I try to follow the KISS principle for any hobby I do. Though, my setup doesn't seem to follow that :) 

 

I couldn't help but notice the price difference between ST4 vs AstroPlanner. This is definitely not a cheap hobby :)



#22 lphilpot

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 06:29 AM

There is no trial version, only a 30 day refund period I think

#23 BrettG

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 07:45 AM

I use SkySafari Pro, mostly because I am deep into the Mac universe - I have it on my MacBook and iPad.  I take the iPad to the scope to control the Nexus II with it, and enter as I observe.  Works for me.

 

I also have Parallels so I can run some Windows software on the laptop, but nothing astronomical, yet.

 

I've been looking at StarryNight (probably not necessary, as SSP is likely better for me), and SkyTools - but I cannot justify the cost of SkyTools without actually seeing it action.  And a 30-day refund window is great  - but with the weather the way it is, I could go at least 30 days without observing!  :)

 

{And I am another programmer chiming in here too, lol.gif }



#24 lphilpot

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 08:38 AM

but with the weather the way it is, I could go at least 30 days without observing!  smile.gif

Tell me about it... I had a week (more or less) of observing in the high semi-desert of SW Texas in early May. That was the last observing I've been able to do. Even when It's "clear", it's not really clear...  Yuck. The sun is shining now (an improvement!) but it won't be transparent.

 

J1ZhUz0.png



#25 EmeraldHills

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 09:28 AM

I bought SkyTools 4 then tried to do the refund. Speaking frankly, the vendor actually sent several messages to me with the apparent intention to try to convince me not to return it. I just tried to be gentle and humble, but yet firm --   It really didn't think like I wanted to think. At the end of the day, he finally refunded the purchase price, but, honestly, he grumbled about it. It wasn't at all a fun experience. I respect his development efforts greatly, but it left a super-awkward taste in my mouth that he made it into such drama, just to ask for a refund. AstroPlanner has worked great -- for a fraction of the cost - and the developer is sooooooooooo easy to work with. I asked on the forum once about a feature, and it turned out it wasn't yet developed. Within four hours, he had added the feature using his plug-in system. When he sent the update with the plug-in, I was floored. Who DOES that? It's no WONDER that AstroPlanner users are so loyal to him. To me, it does it all. Complete telescope movement and control, attached photos, observing list, super-easy exports, session planning, TONS of catalogues instantly available for every object in the heavens, and much more. I never looked back. Can't imagine using anything else. It instantly tells me that, since I re-started the hobby Dec. 20th, I've carried out 24 observing sessions, making 299 observations on 199 objects. Instantly. Love it.


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