The observatory's logbook serves two functions: to inform any user of the
state of the instrument and whether there have been any problems or
irregularities. If these were not recorded, it will be more difficult to
identify the error and fix it. The other vital function is to keep a record of
all additional information about the observation itself, such as
anything that is not written in the data file, but will or might be of
importance for the interpretation.
What we should do:
- record the times of starting the system, and also when the system is
- record any irregularity of the system, e.g. when the antenna go stuck,
or the display did not continue to work ... in the case of such an
irregular behaviour, it is best to keep note of the slightest detail!
- record all your actions to the system. Write down the time and what you've
done, whether it's the move to another position or the change of the
- if you find anything remarkable, unusual, irregular, or simply new or
noteworthy for yourself, write it down. If you want to comment your
joy about a spotless result or your dispair about interference, don't
hesitate to write it down ... it may later be helpful for your memory
- it is better to write down as much as possible: the power level when the
telescope reached the new source ... make a small sketch of the spectrum,
indicate interferences ... if "record" is activated, much of this will
be stored in the record file, but nonetheless it is good have it on
paper under your eyes ... to see what values you get later in the observation
- add your comments and explanations ... like "missed the sun again"; write
down your impressions and thoughts ... even if you one hour later find out
that you did something wrong or your interpretation wasn't correct ...
you might have forgotten all that when you look at the data the next day!
but then it is too late to exactly reconstruct what you had been doing!
- when you try out something or run a test, record what you do, why you do it,
your thoughts and findings
- paper is patient: better write too much than too little.
- any piece of information not recorded will be lost forever!
- you might think: "Oh, I'll remember that later" ... but then someone comes
and disturbs you with other matters ... and you may then no longer remember
it accurately ...
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last update: Feb. 2010 J.Köppen