The Day After

After getting home from work the next day, spend a little time with your equipment and see how it endured in the open. If your observing site is in an open dusty area (the infield of a baseball diamond), make certain that no dirt or grit has blown into any of your eyepieces or telescope optics. If so, clean the affected surface carefully using the compressed air in your optics cleaning kit. At the risk of belaboring previous points, it must be firmly stated again that the optical components of your oculars and telescope will not tolerate even the tiniest scratches in glass surfaces. If you do not know what to do or do not have the proper equipment for the job, it is better to leave dirt or dust in place on the lens and if it becomes intolerable, have it professionally cleaned.

Honestly evaluate how the telescope performed the night before. Are the images as bright as you might have expected. Did the telescope see down to its magnitude limit? How was the resolution? Could you split double stars close to the scope's Dawes limit?

One of the most important things you need to do in observing is to keep a log of everything you see. Important things to note are included in this excerpt from my log from the night of April 18,2003.

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