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Humm..personally that depends on my mood and how tired I am. If I'm not working the next day and it's a nice night then you're talking a minimum of 3 hours.

Having said that, I usually prepare a list of targets and also keep coming back to visit old friends. If I meet my target of that night I turn the scope towards Jupiter, enjoy M45, look at some double stars and so on...

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For me it depends a) on how cold it is and B) how long it takes to set up the scope I'm using. If it's a cold winter's night I've had it after about 2 hours no matter how many layers I put on. If I'm using the dob, which takes no time at all to set up, it's about the same, but if I set up the refractor (equatorial with polar alignment and motors) I stay out longer . This of course assumes no dewing trouble, which is often the limiting factor for me as I don't have dew heaters.

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I usually try and spend a good 3 hours out, anymore than that if I'm out in the middle of nowhere I start to get so cold that it would be dangerous for me to stay out any longer (due to cycling home) so I pack up. At home, approaching 4 hours is usually when I pack up, depends on how tired I am really. When I started the hobby, I was lucky to get more than an hour due to studying.

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For me it depends on the seeing, how cold it is and whether I've got something on. I do my observing in my back garden and a session will last between 2 to 4 hours usually. I'm sort of semi retired and have some time on my hands but the weather isn't helpful. I can very easily lose track of time if I'm engrossed. Last week I was observing the moon following the guidance on Night 7, (I think it was) from 'Turn left at Orion' and lost all track of time. Brilliant experience wandering between the craters and ridges learning their names etc. 

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I'm a nube so can't really say beyond I've always taken my hobbies seriously (wife might say fanatically):  Windsurfing - golf - diving (ongoing).  But diving I do in warmer climes so goes well with star gazing.  (My diving base is infact Tenerife where my step daughter lives which of course has great potential)

But my home patio has little light so I have no excuse.  Can pop out as and when.  And the only thing that stopped me this morning was a great big light emitting yellow blob turned up  :huh:

That said I did wonder if the neighbours could hear the scope motors  :embarassed:

I guess on a good dark sky night I can imagine it being hard to stop  :smiley:

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I try to get out as often as I can, weather permitting, but I need to be finished by midnight on weekdays. I could be a little later at weekends but I don't want to push it too late. The view from the back garden is a bit restricted and I may wait a bit so that a particular object clears the trees bbut, again, I wont be too late and I've usually packed up by after midnight most good evenings. I need to be patient until the few weeks when particular pbjects are in my patch of sky.

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Quite a complex question but briefly, weather permitting:

  • I try to get out to a dark site about twice a month. It may not sound a lot but I cannot ask for me. I don't own a car, and what with work and other pressing compromises, my diary is filled. These sessions typically last 6 to 9 hours.
  • Come holiday times (I have about 3 or 4 months a year), I will do a lot more dark sessions, minimally doubling the quota.
  • I try to view from the city roof top four or five times a week. These sessions only bright targets like the planets, the Moon, clusters and splitting doubles. City sessions also allow me to do stuff I couldn't do at a my precious dark site sessions, stuff like measuring doubles and taking their PA, measuring crater sizes, features on Saturn or Jupiter etc.
  • I try to view the Sun everyday.

In total, then, an average year (like 2013) pans out like this:

Dark Site Sessions: about 45 to 50-ish a year.

City Sessions: About 200 a year.

Sun Sessions: About 300 a year.

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Anything from quick 30 minutes bino sessions to all nighters with scope (and binos) depending on the weather and how I work (three shift), plus I need to balance time with my wife and dog as well of course. Not to mention all the other hobbies and interests such as karate, parakarting, photography, videography, geocaching...

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I get out as often as I can given that the weather often stops me for days/weeks on end. it depends on family comittments of course. I stay out for as long as I can stand it given the need or otherwise to get up the next day for work. I have observed quite often for 5-6 hours, sometimes more, especially at star parties. make hay while the sun shines I say.

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Yep, not so easy here. There's wind , rain and great humidity to fight. Clear frosty nights are a bonus !

As this is my main pastime and being retired I try to observe whenever our weather allows. As we are on the edge of town it is a great treat to have a break or holiday in dark sky areas at new Moon.

I 'm over 100 recorded sessions this year, about 9 hours being the longest. There's so very much to see, each season brings it's own delights.

Luckily at home we face east and north and being on the edge of town there are often reasonable skies . Any clear night is a bonus,

Nick.

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Congrats on the baby being due!

I had my twins last feb, worked out well with Saturn being good viewing in the early hours ! I regularly found myself getting some good eyepiece time despite the upheaval

The trick is to have the scope ready not just the bottles for the night feeds, and then grab a quick 30 mins or so before the next feed is due or nappy! Always something to see !

Nick

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Congrats on the baby, my hobbies took a serious nose dive with babies, so be strong and take time out for yourself.

On how long, for observing,

It is usually about 30min  - Get dressed, get outside, bootup, hookup, setup and align.

1 to 2hrs depending on how cold - Work through list and playing about with Barlows and filters.

(ie. Wake up at 3am, to feed the baby :) then head out and am back in bed by 6am. Wife takes the morning run if I do the night work, so I can sleep in abit.)

For AP,

It really varies on the subject you are after and I don't do these on arbitrary evening, but plan these out in detail.

Take care with the little one.

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Congratulations on your baby! It's a good hobby when you've got kids, because it's just out the back door - long observing and dark sky visits are hard when you've got young kids, but quick sessions in the back garden, definitely.

For me a session will be 1-3 hours in the garden, or just a quick look with eyes or binoculars. Much later than midnight and the tiredness catches up with me, and I'm definitely finishing at midnight (ish!) on a work night. The weather determines the frequency - seems to me that roughly two-three nights a week are clear for some observing. That seems to be the rhythm of the weather systems coming through. But then it doesn't always work out or it's cloudy for months like last winter. So in practice I'm really happy if I get out once a week and anything else is bonus, and I'm learning to accept (!) when the weather's clouded out, it's a long game. Have fun!

Niels

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