Recording Data

The following information should be recorded within your log book as soon as possible after each observation:

• name and designation of the variable

• date and time of your observation

• magnitude estimate for the variable

• magnitudes of the comparison stars used for the estimate

• identification of chart and scale used

• notes on any conditions which might effect seeing.

I've read about observers who memorize dozens, even hundreds, of observations from a night of observation, then record their information later or even the next day. I recommend that you record your observations as you make them. Develop good habits now so that you don't have to break bad habits later.

After recording your observations, you may then wish to report your variable-star estimates to one of the recording organization such as VSNET, BAA VSS, or the AAVSO. You'll need to report your estimates in the proper format. Each organization uses a slightly different format and it's important to use the correct one. They're usually straightforward and simple. Visit each organization's Web site and become familiar with their reporting procedures. See Chapter 14 for a list of some of the organizations and their Web sites.

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