The website report forms at www.nlcnet.co.uk have now been activated and hopefully will be well used over the coming NLC season! I've included a separate form for negative reports this year - as was suggested here during last year's season.
In recent years we have had some difficulty confirming isolated reports of low, faint, nebulous 'NLC' in less than perfect conditions. I'd therefore like to recommend that any possible sightings of this kind are examined extremely carefully with binoculars and, if it's at all possible, observers obtain a time-lapse record or sequence of still images.
Looking forward to the first reports coming in, im interested to know if this is the only site thats actually dedicated to observing and reporting NLC, its nice to be able to contribute to science, who uses the reports here, are they sent to some organisation that documents and store the data, or is it just for anyone to look at and learn about nlcs?.
I don't know if it's the only website dedicated to NLC but going on the report made by Tom at the NLC 2006 meeting, there was over 100000 hits from over 100 countries, so this was three years ago and things have only gone up since then. I think it may well be the most widely read page on the subject but it is of course the BEST!
Regarding the science, the observations which are submitted on the "parent" page, the NLC Observers Homepage, are collated and sent to the BAA for archiving.
Where the data actually goes is actually a really good question. That is more difficult to answer as by their nature NLC have a huge natural variability which makes working on them quite difficult. Most of the amateur material tends to be long term trend related and is used in reviews from time to time. Tied in with specific scientific experiments by universities etc this can be used to look for atmospheric behavior patterns and changes.
There is also a great deal of experience and knowledge held by some of the contributors to the forum, this is freely shared with anyone who has an interest in NLC, at a casual or more scientific level.
Keep on watching the skies and keep on reporting....
Indeed, as you say plenty of people rip off stuff without a moments thought and don't give due credit but the problem is enforcing any sanction. I for one can't afford a lawyer to chase people.
With an open forum like this there is always the risk of that happening and if one is not prepared to accept that then it is easily solved by not posting pictures.
To give an example, I have had experience of this directly myself. A banner picture on another NLC page was one I took in 1986. When I contacted the page owners they were apologetic but the last time I looked it was still there with no credit. That's the way it goes....
But my point still is, what can actually be done about it? Do you have any specific proposals for this forum or the web site?
I have absolutely no idea about other photo sites but the fact they suggested the same non-posting principle indicates that this is the only foolproof way of avoiding people feeling that they've had their efforts pinched rather sad as that may be.
(As you say the internet is a minefield as a whole lot of teens and twenty-somethings on networking sites are going to find out in the near future when all their personal postings come back to bite them!)
I'm sure Tom as administrator would put up a notice if you feel strongly about it.
Does anyone else have feelings or thoughts on this issue?
Perhaps it would be an idea to re-direct further thinking about this onto one of the general boards so we don't clutter up the 2009 activity board.
I dont think I will worry about my photos being pinched, there are plenty of better pics to use! but i would feel quite upset if i do ever take a really decent photo and then see someone has stolen it and not even creddited me, But i like taking pics and sharing them so i will continue to post any NLC pics here! Would it be very difficuilt to just add a notification saying something like all photographs are copyrited to the photographer and should not be copied, ok so it wont stop someone if they really want to use a photo, but maybe it might make some people think twice
I had these thoughts quite often, and since my website is online for 9 years now, there has been a lot of stealing and "self service" of the photos. The only way to avoid it is to not publish pictures, or ruin them with an incredible large copyright notice. We just have to deal with it.
I am not sure to what you refer with these "academics in the background". If the images are published in an academic background they will definetely not steal them. If they steal and someone finds out they are really in trouble. If they use just the information, that there were NLCs on a specific night, or even just statistical data, there is no way to mention everyone who contributed.
I think there is little danger that someone "academic" will steal anything from this board, and if some kiddies hotlink the images on their JappyMyspaceWhateverpage you cannot really stop it. Not even with a watermark.