Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 04:23 PM EDT
Contributed by: Astronut2
Do you keep track of how many nights you observe? If you keep a log of your observations, you simply have to count up the number of nights you observed.
With my first telescope, I did not keep a log. I was to busy trying to find my way around the night sky. Finding something would leave me so amazed at the sight of a cluster, I would round up anyone I could find to have them look at it also.
The same was true with my giant binoculars (25 X 100). I was having to much fun looking at nebulas, planetaries and planets to keep track of my observations. It wasn't until I purchased a 10" DOB telescope that I started logging my nights of observing.
I purchased the scope in August, so the five nights I used it seemed fairly good to me. You had to lug it out, set it up and wait for it to get dark. In 2010 I logged thrity nine nights. Some were very long nights as I worked my way through the Messier list.
In 2011 I finished the Messier list and started looking for more things to look at. Only twenty nine nights under the stars. In 2012 I found the obsering list from the Astronomical leaque and went crazy. The Moon list allowed me to observe when the Moon was up, even when it shared the sky with the Sun. The Carbon star list allowed me to observe at night even if the Moon was up. The Hershsel 400 list suffered due to a lack of Moonless nights with good weather and good seeing. Seventy two nights was not to shabby but still a lot less than I had hoped for.
Using Guy Attewll's Astronomical calendar, on sale through the Astronomical leaque, I am able to know day by day and hour by hour, when the Moon will not be up. Now I can use the dark of the night to work on the Herschel 400 list.
It looks like I will be logging hours as well as nights in 2013. Now if only I could do the same with the weather and seeing conditions.