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(IAAC) Re: [WebbSoc] Some thoughts on the society's recent problems



Owen Brazell:
>Unfortunately the online webb guide already exists in the form of the IAAC
>run by Lew Gramer. I do not think we could do much except duplicate effort...
By "IAAC", Owen is referring to the Internet Amateur Astronomers' Catalog
of Visual Deep-Sky Observations, or 'netastrocatalog'. The Web site is:
    http://www.tiac.net/users/lewkaren/netastrocatalog
It is true that the IAAC is designed as a Web-browsable archive of deep-sky
observations. However, it is really designed to be used as a "how-to" guide
for observers at all levels: thus we do not filter observations based solely
on the observer's experience or quality of observing conditions. (After all,
a beginner may learn best from other beginners, and most of us "learning to
see" the deep sky do not get to live in the high desert of Arizona...)
However, there would certainly be scope for a "best of" deep-sky observation
Web page at the Webb Society site: one edited for interest, brevity or quality
of content, and perhaps arranged conveniently by object with helpful drawings
or visual-like images - in other words, an on-line version of the Webb books!
Such a site could certainly draw observations from the IAAC archive (I lay no
proprietary claim to any data on that site, nor wish to in the future). But it
could also draw on other sources as well, such as Jim Shields' "Adventures In
Deep Space" or Doug Snyder's "PN Observer's" pages.
I'd also highly recommend that, political and regional differences aside, the
Webb Society consider drawing on (and sharing?) the observations contained in
the various publications of the (US) National Deep Sky Observers' Society, as
well as the prominent national deep-sky groups of France and Germany.
Thus as the premier deep-sky observing society in the world, the Webb Society
could fulfill the crying need for a single central, carefully edited Web site
of worldwide deep-sky observations. And other than the time of editing (which
might be significant, but could be farmed out to several members), the cost
of such an enterprise would be fairly minimal. (One decision which would have
to be made however, would be whether to limit access to this site to Society
members or not... There are strong arguments on both sides of this question.)
Clear skies,
Lew Gramer
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