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Not cut out for astronomy?


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Get a good pair of Binoculars, and a reclining chair, an  electric blanket, battery powered that is, a warm Woolly hat, and a Flask of Hot Toddy.

Lay back and drink in the Milky Way. A bIno. support system will take the strain from your arms.

Oh!, you'll need an alarm clock too, as you're likely to fall asleep as you'll be so comfortable lying there  :grin:.

There is a little bit of jesting here, but most of it is quite feasible. 

Ron.

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As amazing as this hobby is I would hope you stick with it. I am new to this myself and live in Minnesota and it gets really cold. I was out last night and it was really cold but I put on lots of clothes in layers and warm boots. The skies were dark and clear, I had the best night I have ever had. I saw the double cluster for the first time, that alone made it worth it. I stayed out for about two hours and it was worth it.  Maybe try pocket warmers etc.  In the long run only you can decide if it is worth it. I have only had my scope for about six weeks but am out every chance I get.  Hope it all goes well and you can stay the course!

Godspeed,

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Great thread started here Paul: there's gonna be times all of us simply cannot be asked!!!! It's a scary thought and one that has worried me once or twice this last summer that I might lose interest for a long time. Being a hobby, it needs to be fun, or what's the point in going out in the cold, I agree. It's a very personal thing whether your enthusiasm outweighs the physical discomforts involved or whether the time needed is spent on something of more interest. There are loads of options to overcome the cold if the desire is there, and lots of good suggestions of other stuff to get into like AP.

I like the binoculars suggestion, or any grab and go arrangement that suits. There's nothing wrong with a nice 30 minute jaunt around the galaxy! There should be no stress in this: the universe is not going anywhere. Even if you came back to it after a break of many years, its going to be the same..........unless Betelgeuse goes Supernova.........you gotta get outside for something like that!!! I sincerely hope you get enjoyment out of it when it does work for you.

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Hi Paul, maybe do solar observing with the telescope and get a good pair of binoculars for night time use? If you get involved planning the night's observing that will maintain your interest. Plan not to stay outside too long for any one time and the advantage of binoculars is the rapid set up/take down. Keep an observing log you can update when you go back inside that again will help maintain interest. Cultivating rolls of insulation is optional but does help.

Best of luck.

Cheers,

Steve.

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As a young boy I use to work a Saturday job at Bejams (now Iceland). The freezer storage room was at subarctic conditions and H&S was almost none existent.  The only way to remain comfy for hours was many thin layers.

Therefore the cold really never bothers me, just the early morning wake ups for work.

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A bar of chocolate seems to help with the cold. Probably just phycological. But might be worth a try.

At least you can get some early viewing in at this time of year. Anyway, who says that you have to be out for 4 hours at a stretch?

I'd aim for a balance between attempted length of observing and time taken to get dressed! The more of a pain it is to actually get out there. The less likely you are to stick with it.

My observing (limited thus far) is confined to 1 hour stints driven by work and family rather than the cold. I find that planning your hour in the comfort of a centrally heated house with an objective for the session and a few nice to haves targets if you get time, helps get a feeling of achievement from relatively short sessions.

Good luck.

Paul

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I'm not built for our (UK) climate. I have 6% boby fat. I complain when it's below 20c. I dress up in everything to stave off the cold. I still get VERY cold. The love of astronomy drives me on. When i'm packing up i'm shivering like a $£%^*%$. As has been said; wear way too much. Brink a flask. Two, if you catch my drift....Other than that? Practice some sort of dance every now and then. This winter i'll try skipping.

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Quit your moaning people, and suck it up. 

You should try sitting for hours on end and not being able to stand up and do a bit of a dance to get the blood flowing to the lower half of your body.

:grin:

Actually, that believe it or not is a bonus for me. I cant feel the cold from my toes up to my knees. It could also be a bad thing.

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My problem is that i hate layering up on clothing. I always have and always will. If i wear a long sleeve top in winter, i will never wear a t-shirt underneath. I dont like wearing jackets or coats of any kind as i find them too restricting in the wheelchair.

My usual winter observing clothing is shoes (i only have one pair),cotton socks,Jeans,a very nice warm hoody (Leinster Rugby),hat (again a rugby one),mittens that i can flip open to allow my fingers to do stuff and a snoodie (yes,a rugby one) that covers my neck and lower face.

Haha i look like a one man advertising campaign for Leinster Rugby.

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I've found that natural fibres beat synthetic ones hands down when it come to staying comfortable in the cold without looking like the Michelin man.

Merino or Cashmere is great if you can find it. The local charity shop is a great place to pick up decent woollens at a reasonable price.

Top your base layers off with a windproof layer, wear a decent pair of walking boots or similar and a good hat.

Invest in some of those hand warmers that burn Charcoal fuel rods or the ones that burn lighter fluid.

You do have to sacrifice on the sartorial elegance front by who is going to know - its pitch dark!

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I have to sympathise and empathise with anyone who feels the cold. I hate winter and suffer from chronically cold feet, hands and even nose throughout the year, even in autumn.

To be honest I am dreading winter observing too, but I'm also really excited about the clear winter skies. I will wrap up in layers, starting with a base and fleece under a winter jacket, plus hat. But it's my feet and hands that worry me most... Must find usable gloves and decent footwear.

Good tips about starting early and finishing early-ish in winter. I thought I would have to be out till 5am to see the whole range of objects.

I also worry about dew, condensation and keeping the equipment safe and dry.

Many thanks for starting the thread... It's helped me too.

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It's normal to not like the cold, it's just unfortunate that cold nights coincide with good astro nights this time of year.

Before you go out make sure you have eaten something before hand; all the layers in the world won't keep heat in if heat isn't being produced. Maybe have some of your favourite nibbles to hand?

You could also try planning to observe some objects that don't require your eyes to be be dark adapted such as the planets, moon, some bright double stars, clusters rather than galaxies. That way you can escape inside for a warm cup of something and pop out again when you feel you can brave it again without having to wait for your eyes again.

As others have said you haven't got to be out every night. Your astro gear is a long term investment in enjoyment. I was out having a look a Jupiter last night but that was the first night in months that I've had a chance. I loved it! All the times I wasn't using my scope didn't matter then, after that 1 hour (with an in the warm kitchen tea break in between).

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The answer is simple, get a solar scope and view the daytime star in the winter ....................

OOOOOOPS ................. Just noticed you're in the UK and may not have seen a star up in the sky during the daytime .........

I'm out of ideas

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Some people have more resistance to the cold than others. I'm with you, I suffer a lot if it's cold, and it can *really* put me off going out on a good clear night.

For me there are two things that help a lot. One is plenty of layers and warm clothes - include some good thermally insulating fingerless mittens - they're fantastic. The other ithing is, as others have said, get the gear set up as much as possible while it's still daylight. If it clouds over it'll only take a short while to bring it all in again, but if it doesn't you've got a head start. Also, that way, you get some of the fun earlier in the day :smiley:

Some of the other replies have some seriously good advice on warm clothes - I'm off to do some more research :smiley:

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I'm naturally blessed with a layer of blubber. About the coldest Dublin gets in any winter is about -4C. When you add a layer of warm clothing.................-4c is chilly but acceptable. 

About 2-3 yrs ago it got down to -13c and i tried it for a night or two, but decided it wasnt for me.

I dont think even with 3-4 layers of clothing,i'd stay out in those temps. 

Its 10C right now and i have my back door open and no heating on. I'm sitting in the kitchen. 

Its cloudy.

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I'm naturally blessed with a layer of blubber. About the coldest Dublin gets in any winter is about -4C. When you add a layer of warm clothing.................-4c is chilly but acceptable. 

About 2-3 yrs ago it got down to -13c and i tried it for a night or two, but decided it wasnt for me.

I dont think even with 3-4 layers of clothing,i'd stay out in those temps. 

Its 10C right now and i have my back door open and no heating on. I'm sitting in the kitchen. 

Its cloudy.

What does your telescope think on the winter temp tho?

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A Puffa jacket is the way to go. That said I love the cold, I drive around in the middle of winter with the windows open, its the summer I can't handle, its horrible. My idea of a holiday destination is Norway or Iceland. My wife took me to Poland for my 50th , the best Birthday present I ever had.

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