How to Observe and Record Your Findings

So, you've got a telescope and you're the proudest person on the planet. But how do you remember all those fantastic objects you've found? And maybe you're still getting the hang of things with your binoculars, but have made a few discoveries for yourself worthy of show. You have to record your observations! Every night I observe, I take out a small notepad, a red-filtered torch (cover it with cellophane to protect your eyes) and a pencil to write. Below shows the form I use to record information, and it's easy enough for anyone with any instrument - even your eyes.

Time (GMT):
Seeing Conditions:

I find it easiest to fill out the first seven fields before viewing the object, then write your observations at the eyepiece (in the case of a scope). That way you can't possibly forget a single detail or the size and shape of what you're viewing. Be as brief as you like with your observations, but the more you draw and write the more understanding the reader will have. I try to add colour to my drawings once I'm back inside, especially for strining objects like Mars.

There you have it folks, that's how it's done (or how I do it, anyway). Now get out there and start viewing!

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