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I've just got my new scope and am finding it difficult to stay up until midnight every night before it gets dark. Even then light pollution means it's never really black.  I'm eager to get going but thinking it may be autumn before i can put some hours in. Do most amateur astronomers just take the summer months off?

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There is a lot to see observing Moon.  

Edit: Many observers become Luna  tics.  :rolleyes:

Edited by L8-Nite
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Hi There,

We observe when we can, clean our kit, spend more on new kit, sell some old stuff. Moan about the long days in readiness to moan about the cold, eyes sticking to eyepieces. Get together with like minded folk, its a brilliant past time. But summer allows us to spend more time on SGL.

Hwyl!

Edited by damnut
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Hi staffop,

I try to get the scope out as often as possible regardless of the season, since the UK weather is so unpredictable I don't like to get too picky. I try to use the summer nights to practice auto guiding and experimenting with different exposure/ISO settings. I find taking numerous shorter exposures and stacking them can reveal a good level of detail. For visual, there a still a number of targets out there bright enough to get through the light pollution and twilight blue. Obviously if you wait till autumn they will stand out better in the eyepiece.

:smiley:

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Hi. I live even further North than you and it never really gets truly dark at this time of the year, but I still like to get the scope out when the sky is clear. Apart from the Moon there are lots of nice double stars out there which are still visible

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Saturn at the moment is good.

As your scope is new you should get out whenever you can to practice with it. Use binoculars to find a bright star - you may not see it with the naked eye, then try finding it with the scope, and get sharp focus.

Get out during the day, focus on distant objects and practice moving between them.

What scope do you have? Tell us, we can give you more ideas.

The more you practice the more things will fall into place ready for the Autumn.

Neil.

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Saturn at the moment is good.

As your scope is new you should get out whenever you can to practice with it. Use binoculars to find a bright star - you may not see it with the naked eye, then try finding it with the scope, and get sharp focus.

Get out during the day, focus on distant objects and practice moving between them.

What scope do you have? Tell us, we can give you more ideas.

The more you practice the more things will fall into place ready for the Autumn.

Neil.

My situation is also slightly complicated by not really being able to look easterly due to our garden (and north and south are compromised as well to be honest). This was fine for Venus/Jupiter and i can see Ursa Major fairly late but any other suggestions would be great. I've a 500mm FL 4" refractor - still prevaricating over which EPs to upgrade to to enhance viewing as well

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The late nights can be overcome if and when you decide to start imaging, as you can setup, get started and then go to bed and hope for the best.

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The late nights can be overcome if and when you decide to start imaging, as you can setup, get started and then go to bed and hope for the best.

Is it OK to leave my scope out overnight - i worry about the cold/wet? It's a skywatcher 102 refractor, not sure if that makes a difference....

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I leave my Skywatcher Evostar ED80 and ST80 out overnight all the time. My only real worry is rain, so I am an avid consumer of forecasts! The kit has been dripping with dew many times before and has been fine, although I use dew heaters to prevent the optics themselves from misting over as that would be the end of observing/imaging.

As for the cold, the image below was from last winter, when it got so cold the secondary on my Dob froze over completely, but it still gave nice views of Jupiter!

IMGP4010 S

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I leave my Skywatcher Evostar ED80 and ST80 out overnight all the time. My only real worry is rain, so I am an avid consumer of forecasts! The kit has been dripping with dew many times before and has been fine, although I use dew heaters to prevent the optics themselves from misting over as that would be the end of observing/imaging.

As for the cold, the image below was from last winter, when it got so cold the secondary on my Dob froze over completely, but it still gave nice views of Jupiter!

Great, not heard of a dew heater before (bit that's the case for most things astronomical) - will check it out1

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Every summer i promise myself that i will do some observing but i never do. This year ive been doing some solar observing during the day, but as for night observing.............nada.

It will be mid/late Sept before i drag my scopes out again.

When Orion arrives back in the east, you know its observing season once again.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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Hi Staffop,

You can get dew strips to heat almost anything, basically they are small heaters that keep the dew off the optics so that you can continue viewing. I once had a complete layer of ice over my 10" Lx200.

If you have any sort of sct\mak, the meniscus or corrector plate attracts dew like flies to doggy doo!! Your 4" frac will have come with a dewshield, you can make a longer one out of a thin foam gym mat!!

Dew Tapes http://www.firstlightoptics.com/dew-prevention/astrozap-dew-heater-tapes.html

Great guide here ;--- http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-resources/dealing-with-dew/

Hwyl!

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Last night my 6"/F5 and I spent a happy hour and a half with Saturn (lovely view at times, banding on the disc and Cassini Division popping out), M13 (wow - even in the light summer sky), cute little M97, M57 (possibly my best view of the Ring thus far), Albireo, Double Double, Coathanger.....all obvious and easy 'targets' but none the less rewarding for that. I went to bed an elated boy :)

So in answer to your question - Summer observing? Dang right! Lots of lovelies to be seen.

I was almost out tonight but high cloud put paid to that - pity, I was hoping to see the Dumbbell for only my second time...still, there's always tomorrow...or the night after...or...

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I guess I'm fortunate on the summer account. It's 1am, pretty dark, clear and still 30ºc :smiley: Being a little lower, I can also get reasonable views of Sagittarius etc and most nights are clear, although a light cloudy mist does take over the sky from time to time. The worst thing about the summer is that I just can't stop sweating and getting to sleep until the early hours does take its toll. Thank goodness for the siesta :p

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I guess I'm fortunate on the summer account. It's 1am, pretty dark, clear and still 30ºc :smiley: Being a little lower, I can also get reasonable views of Sagittarius etc and most nights are clear, although a light cloudy mist does take over the sky from time to time. The worst thing about the summer is that I just can't stop sweating and getting to sleep until the early hours does take its toll. Thank goodness for the siesta :p

30deg at 1 ayem? You lucky lucky thing :)

ps I'm still hunting M101, no luck yet! Easy from city skies eh? ;)

Siesta time is cocktail time here! 

Mind you, anytime is cocktail time in my casa :D

Steve

Edited by ghostdance
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I'm heading out again, Steve. I just turn into a ball of sog when I come in doors (no air-conditioning at night).

When I lived in the city, I don't recall ever spotting M 101 with the 4", but when I travelled out about 20 minutes away, the 10" snarred the galaxy. This makes me think that M 101 will be tricky to pick up but should be do-able with a 6" in not overtly aggressive light polluted skies. Look forward to see how you get along, Steve :smiley:

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Good luck out there Rob. I'd love to see Sagittarius, but the closest I've come thus far is the head of Scorpio. Too many darn chimneys. Time for the birth of the Bike-Backpack-and-Go!

Typically it's cleared up a bit here, but too late for scope time.......so I'm binning for awhile with my 7x30s.

The quest for M101 continues! But not tonight :)

Steve

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I've just got my new scope and am finding it difficult to stay up until midnight every night before it gets dark. Even then light pollution means it's never really black. I'm eager to get going but thinking it may be autumn before i can put some hours in. Do most amateur astronomers just take the summer months off?

As previous posters have said, lots to see. It is nice to get out on summer nights, certainly milder than winter. Skies are lighter except for an hour or 2, and recently when clear the milky way and summer triangle (vega, Altair, deneb) with Cygnus has been quite vivid and bright here. Lots to see, doubles, thousands of stars, the Ring, Dumbell and Veil nebulae, in the west to north west and overhead across to ursa minor. Couldn't find Comet Lovejoy, but Double Cluster is back and saw Andromeda on the rise last week. All lovely. And saturn + globulars still about in south and zenith. And the moon. Also lots more I have no idea about. Also the semi-urban wildlife is still pretty active, only problem is dodging the late night drunks who seem to be about more on summer nights :)

Sensing the light return in the north east, and realising just how briefly the sun is below the horizon.

But my first summer too, and have certainly found one or two nights a week until 2 or 3 in the morning can quickly catch up, especially with work in the day. Anyway the nights are drawing in now, it'll be autumn soon...

Sent from my HTC Desire 500 using Tapatalk

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The last couple of years I've gone out in the depths of summer and still managed to see wonders - this time of year is your only chance to locate M6 and M7 for example, and Saturn is well-placed right now.

This year's been a lot busier with a change of job, so staying out until midnight hasn't been feasible - for this reason I've taken tie out since early May, but I find the August nights are some of the best for observing, so I'll be back out there regularly in a month's time. Having said that, if the forecast is right, I'll be off to the park tonight for Saturn.

Paul

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I've just got my new scope and am finding it difficult to stay up until midnight every night before it gets dark. Even then light pollution means it's never really black.  I'm eager to get going but thinking it may be autumn before i can put some hours in. Do most amateur astronomers just take the summer months off?

No way!

It gets harder, later, and you don't get proper darkness, but it is so worth a trip out into the wild. Find somewhere with a low southern horizon, and trawl through the joys of Sagittarius. Honestly, that bit of the sky is fantastic, as there is so much going on. M7 and M6 in Scorpius which you should be able to get - just - on a clear night as they poke above the horizon - M22-25, M17-18, M28, M8, M20 - there is so much stuff going on in that patch of sky. 

Yes, it's harder - but it rewards the effort:

post-28380-0-01161100-1398355223_thumb.p
And that's excluding the globular clusters around the bottom of the tea-pot; on a clear night they're well worth the effort too,
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On the topic of dew - being an imager I leave my camera outside for several hours, sometimes all night. To protect my gear I usually wrap it loosely in a thin fabric, like bed sheet fabric or so. Keep it in place with rubber bands. The stops the worst moisture from entering the camera. And dew heaters for the lens.

Sent from my phone using Tapatalk

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No way!

It gets harder, later, and you don't get proper darkness, but it is so worth a trip out into the wild. Find somewhere with a low southern horizon, and trawl through the joys of Sagittarius. Honestly, that bit of the sky is fantastic, as there is so much going on. M7 and M6 in Scorpius which you should be able to get - just - on a clear night as they poke above the horizon - M22-25, M17-18, M28, M8, M20 - there is so much stuff going on in that patch of sky. 

Yes, it's harder - but it rewards the effort:

And that's excluding the globular clusters around the bottom of the tea-pot; on a clear night they're well worth the effort too,

I've planned a trip to the Brecons this month so look forward to checking these out - fingers crossed for a clear sky (or good seeing at least)!

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Just realised you are also in Cardiff. Try Saturn, as I mentioned earlier. This was taken last weekend.

post-30409-0-15099600-1436435004.jpg

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You don't necessarily need to be up very late EVERY time you observe - mix it up a little. For example, you might want to sacrifice a decent night's sleep once a month for a good session past midnight.

It starts to get very interesting after that time, because of the part-night lighting schemes across the UK. Even in the village I lived in once that had no street lights, I would notice a discernible difference in sky quality past midnight - a combination of a cooled, less turbulent atmosphere and everyone turning off lights...

If I could do away with sleep, I would...too many interesting things to do 24 hours a day! :) (plus having to bring in the bacon, manage a family, blah blah blah....)

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