Re: (IAAC) Skill level categories
Hi, Carl - and great question!
Those categories in the Observing Form are NOT meant to characterize your
observing log as good or bad - in fact many of the most thought-provoking
logs are posted by people who describe themselves as "beginners".
Rather, it was based on the fact that, with time and practice, observers
can gradually come to *see more* in the same objects than they did at the
start... And because of this, an observing log written by an experienced
person might contain many details that (most) beginners would have to
strive mightily to see - or, frustratingly, not be able to see at all.
So for example, a person seeing M31 (The Great Andromeda Galaxy) for the
first or second time might describe it as "a beautiful stretch of haze",
whereas someone who has seen it many times would write several pages of
description about it and its constituent objects in a night: each view
of the great galaxy is correct! But each has its own perspective.
(To decide whether you're a beginner or intermediate, consider how long
you've been doing AND LOGGING deep-sky observations - if it's under one
year, "beginner" probably makes sense. I consider myself Intermediate.)