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Glenn Chaple's observing basics: Observing logs

January 2005: Covering 35 years, my astronomy logbooks document a lifetime of astronomical adventures.
Occupying the shelf of a bookcase in my study is a set of blue three-ring binders. These are my astronomy logbooks. Covering 35 years, they document a lifetime of astronomical adventures. An entry March 27, 1971, describes my first sighting of the planet Mercury. Another entry excitedly recounts a total solar eclipse viewed from Prince Edward Island July 10, 1972. Even rarer celestial events are recounted through notes and drawings: Mars occulting (passing in front of) the bright star Epsilon (ε) Geminorum in April 1976; a battle-scarred Jupiter after its bombardment by Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in July 1994; and, of course, last June's transit of Venus.

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