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spaceboy

Frustration venting

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In need of a vent for frustration. Beginners please look away!

OK so I'm not wanting to give up on observing stellar treats but I can't help but feel the night sky has me up against the ropes so often that its only a matter of time it lands a sucker punch and I hit the canvas. (Can only hope I actually then get to see some stars.)

I recently downsized my kit in the hope that having less kit gathering dust and more reserves in the kitty would help me keep my spirits up. Sadly it does in no way change the fact that every time I get out under the stars, I wonder why the hell I bother setting up.

I have been observing long enough to know that the skies can play tricks on you and while it may appear clear out its not always truly the case. Only trouble is I'm not currently seeing an end in sight. Each and every time I go out I'm seeing the same results at the eyepiece. Washed out views with the all famous pale tinge of orange to it. (despite not having the usual orange sky glow to the unaided eye) This is the case even at mid to high magnifications. Up the mag too much I go from suffering bleached views to mushy views. Put it this way, its so bad that I find myself constantly checking ep's and mirrors for fogging.

The plan to downsize my kit was also with the intent to move more towards lunar, planetary and double star observing due to  large apertures seemingly going to waste under Birmingham skies. But would you Adam and Eve it?? The part lit moon no longer seems to adorn my clear skies unless it hugs the horizon hidden behind neighboring roof tops. In fact I can't even remember the last time I looked at the moon through a scope?? I won't even get started on the planets!! Yes I did get a look in on Jupiter the other night and thankfully the GRS was on show but this was soon scuppered by tree branches. By the time it finally cleared this perfectly placed single tree, I was so cold and tired I had to throw in the towel.

Solar observing has been my only saving grace. Yeah sure I still suffer those darn clouds and poor seeing but I'm not freezing my but off, or ducking and diving the glare of St / neighbors lights in the hope to preserve night vision to see an even more detailed washed out sky. I just simply go out and relax. I admit it can get a little boring looking at just one star as apposed to having the entire heavens to pick objects from but the one thing that solar offers is consistent views. Aside from seeing, transparency and cloud solar is not effected by man made light pollution.

I am peeved at the moment but I'm hoping a little frustration release relieves me of any further downsizing. I just wish the moon would show itself once in a while. Does the moon follow a similar cycle to the planets by any chance?? IE: sometimes lower, sometimes higher as the years progress?? I assumed the moon being bound to us stayed fairly consistent in its traversing of the night sky?? It sure as hell seems to like being high in clear skies when it's fully lit.

Has anyone else noticed a somewhat consistency in washed out views? I wonder if these LED lights are having a larger impact than first thought? I admit the orange sky glow isn't observed as often as it once was but the views in the eyepiece seems to me at least to reveal a LP increase. 

 

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Can't help but agree - Saturday was my 2nd time out this year due to the weather!  Yes, even when 'clear' the transparency has been bad, lots of moisture and nothing of the 'crisp winter / Spring evenings'..

Then Saturday 25th March came - the last evening of early darkness for a while, and it was beautifully clear.  Wind was blowing a bit, but I had hours of fun.  Bagged 7 Messier objects, and imaged 5 of them :)  Really helped my motivation and enthusiasm.  And that was the day after I got back from India, so jet lag was a bit of a problem.  

Having the option of a quick portable setup is good, but i guess you have to remember that you will probably only be getting that out if the weather is 'iffy' or time is too short, either way, probably not the best for a satisfying evening of 'Astronomising'.  

Not sure if there is a moral in this, but holding your breath for a clear patch doesn't help I'm afraid, just breathe and plan ahead so you are ready for it when it comes..

PS: looking at your signature list of equipment, you could either continue downsizing, or open a shop ;-)

cheers

Mike

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LED lights are for cost and they do reduce light pollution, but what is light pollution? The reality is that it is light going where it is unwanted and polluting the sky. In our case it is the old orange glow over a distant town. Now it is less loss upwards but that likely means more light downwards, and we are sat in that pool of light which is likely a bit more intense and is also white. To our eyes it more resembles being sat in the living room with the light on. So yes things will be more washed out.

If you are getting the orange glow then look at one of the "old" LP filters, it should remove at least the Na aspect from anything and being a narrow section of the spectrum it may not impact much elsewhere in spectral terms.

The only sort of real answer is drive to somewhere, but that also in reality means somewhere to go to that is suitable. And without an observing club and so a patch of land it gets difficult. Can you get lottery grants to purchase a bit of ground and build an observatory ?

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I don't have a car, and even if I did there is no dark refuge in Holland I think. I was just thinking back to the fine skies I saw in Nepal and more recently in Somerset - sadly I get nothing like that here in NL. Also the main planets are situated in northern summer until next decade, so not good! Since I sold my scope I have had a string of clear nights, but of course the new scope is only coming later this week and the new mount is probably landing the week after :(

I got completely demoralized with my city skies and gave up on this for a few years, but I'm going to have another go with a bit more aperture. Then there is always the plan to retire to rural Portugal...

I can't figure out the Moon - it seems randomly high and low in the sky from month to month, but if i recall correctly it follows a 19 year cycle so if I live to 360 I guess I'll figure it out eventually. Doesn't it orbit in the ecliptic, so that would imply full moons in summer are low and full moons in Winter are high? With half moons being obviously inbetween... I'm sure if the pattern was that simple I would have noticed it by now.

Edited by Ags

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Nick, i really feel your pain, i bought the 120Ed and i can hardly see any DSO from home, no fault of the scope at all, just to much LP from the factory on the hill and all the houses that are being built, if i go Luna and planet only then the 120 was a waste of money, over kill for what i use, hang in there, the moon will climb again for good views

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Sometimes I think this sort of thing is all about your mental approach. If you are feeling down then this sort of thing will get increasingly large in your head. On those occasions when I can't be bothered, I don't bother. I see it as a chance to do something else. When I can be bothered I go for it no matter what the circumstances. Yes, like you I have a lot of LP to contend with and even though it gets frustrating, I persevere because I enjoy it so much. Sometimes, I find the challenge of finding fainter objects from home and sketching them really rewarding. I even push myself even further and try to find things with my smaller scopes (e.g. 100mm frac). This gives a different view. 

If determined you can create screens and just observe close to the zenith. E.g. you are unlikely to run out of NGCs to chase in UMa. For a while at least, then move onto some other high constellation.

Every now and again get to a darker place like we did at the PSP at the weekend. OK not the best and actually a lot of local LP as it was not a dedicated site but I still managed to bag and sketch around 20 new NGCs just in and around the pan.

If you have a small frac then getting to see the planets or moon even when low is just a case of wandering to the other side of the building or a local field etc if you have one.

Solar is an all saving grace I agree and really enjoy it myself. So keep at it. Really nice to sit in the garden or at work at lunchtime and in the warm sun sometimes with family nearby. So what if the insecurity lights go on then!?

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I am about to solve this problem in the South East, I need to send my mount back for repair so expect superb conditions for the next week to 10 days in Essex!

Edited by JOC
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Locally, the skies aren't bad... Even with my (short) sight: To Mag +5? :)

However, almost every day local skies have a *yellowish* hue from the
spread of aircraft contrails! At dawn you can count up to twenty of them
criss-crossing overhead. My earliest recollection of astronomy (c.1964)
was for far BLUE-R daytime skies and clearer nights? (Rose tint aside!) :(

Flights.jpg.e11c5a016cc95253bf758b8a6e357bb4.jpg

A also sit in the LEA(?) of a hill. I'd swear clouds FORM directly over my SE horizon
(Off-shore breeze too) when I set up for Solar Observimg in the earlier mornings! :p

TBH, now that I'm almost exclusively seeing the skies via cameras (CCD, video etc.),
I rarely check check beyond presence of brighter stars. I merely open my door and
a neighbour's "security" light triggers anyway! I guess I'm just resigned to this... :o

I notice that tonight's "Stargazing Live" (Cox et al.) will be from Australia! <wg>:evil4:

Edited by Macavity

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1 hour ago, Moonshane said:

Sometimes I think this sort of thing is all about your mental approach. If you are feeling down then this sort of thing will get increasingly large in your head. On those occasions when I can't be bothered, I don't bother. I see it as a chance to do something else. When I can be bothered I go for it no matter what the circumstances. Yes, like you I have a lot of LP to contend with and even though it gets frustrating, I persevere because I enjoy it so much. Sometimes, I find the challenge of finding fainter objects from home and sketching them really rewarding. I even push myself even further and try to find things with my smaller scopes (e.g. 100mm frac). This gives a different view. 

If determined you can create screens and just observe close to the zenith. E.g. you are unlikely to run out of NGCs to chase in UMa. For a while at least, then move onto some other high constellation.

Every now and again get to a darker place like we did at the PSP at the weekend. OK not the best and actually a lot of local LP as it was not a dedicated site but I still managed to bag and sketch around 20 new NGCs just in and around the pan.

If you have a small frac then getting to see the planets or moon even when low is just a case of wandering to the other side of the building or a local field etc if you have one.

Solar is an all saving grace I agree and really enjoy it myself. So keep at it. Really nice to sit in the garden or at work at lunchtime and in the warm sun sometimes with family nearby. So what if the insecurity lights go on then!?

I think getting out to darker sites is the way forward, i am really looking forward to Usha gap star camp next month...........very dark skies up there

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3 hours ago, nightfisher said:

If i go Luna and planet only then the 120 was a waste of money, over kill for what i use

I don't agree Jules, the 120 is not necessarily a deep sky scope, and will give you real resolution/detail benefits versus a smaller scope on the moon.

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4 minutes ago, Stu said:

I don't agree Jules, the 120 is not necessarily a deep sky scope, and will give you real resolution/detail benefits versus a smaller scope on the moon.

A very valid point........120 over 102 is going to win almost every time

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It is a shame about sky quality and it can be really vexing, but whatever the quality there is always something to be observed even if we can't compete with other areas of the world with consistently clear/dark skies.

I think where it gets particularly difficult is if you have experienced really good dark skies I imagine it can become much harder to enjoy lower quality skies. I've never known anything except for mostly cloudy weather, poor seeing, and constant light pollution, so I see it as normal to sometimes have a run of a month with no clear night whatsoever followed by a clear sky impacted by poor seeing and light pollution. I just enjoy other things when it's cloudy and all my scopes/set ups are able to work on an opportunist basis - i.e. quick and easy to set up with no planning required, taking the opportunities when they come.

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I find a pair of smallish bins on a light tripod useful when I can't be bothered or it's a school night. I have them set up in the study, ready to take outside whenever it's clear. It takes seconds to put the setup outside, and that way you don't feel pressured to spend a lot of time out there - most of the time I take no longer than 30 mins. That way you don't get cold and don't run out of targets.

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Thanks for all your comments guys. I will note that my frustrations are not that I'm not getting out under clear skies but more so that every time I do the skies washed out in the eyepiece. I don't remember it ever being this bad apart from the time Iceland had the volcanic eruption. Yes I see dso's but I can honestly say hand on heart that I'd rather be in bed getting a nights sleep than seeing what I do. Faint and fuzzies were never more than a smudge under my skies and I have always enjoyed them none the less. BUT this past year there is a noticeable drop in contrast even to the point I began to question my kit -

- in desperation to find reason. I'm assuming my age plays a part but if anything surely views would get darker not brighter with an aging dilated pupil. I have though as previously mentioned by Macavity noticed an increase in aircraft overhead so I wonder if this is the culprit? I can't say 100% there has been an increase but since the A380 has been flying out of BHX I look up almost every time something goes over head, which is a lot. I noticed with the DIY PSP thread there was mention of contrails lowering sky quality even at a dark site so I imaging the impact at a LP suburb is going to have a drastic impact.

15 hours ago, nightfisher said:

Nick, i really feel your pain, i bought the 120Ed and i can hardly see any DSO from home, no fault of the scope at all, just to much LP from the factory on the hill and all the houses that are being built, if i go Luna and planet only then the 120 was a waste of money, over kill for what i use, hang in there, the moon will climb again for good views

Its funny you say that mate as the one scope I would keep over all others is my 120ED. Out of all my scopes the ED gives me the most aesthetically pleasing views. The skyglow is still there but the stars are just so clean that the separate far better from the background sky than they do in my other scopes. Sure I get similar clean stars in my ST120 but CA creates its own mini purple skyglow around stars making the ED the keeper. 

1 hour ago, JoeP said:

I find a pair of smallish bins on a light tripod useful when I can't be bothered or it's a school night. I have them set up in the study, ready to take outside whenever it's clear. It takes seconds to put the setup outside, and that way you don't feel pressured to spend a lot of time out there - most of the time I take no longer than 30 mins. That way you don't get cold and don't run out of targets.

As mentioned I have an ST120. This is my goto, grab and go scope which for low mags anyway, can be outside observing in a similar time to my 15x70s which now reside to gather dust. I admit that I'd much rather sacrifice aperture for portability as there is far more chance I'm going to go out into a cold garden knowing I can come straight back in when I've had enough. 

I plan on making a dewshield for my 200P today in the assumption that I am also falling foul of stray light. I shall report back when I next get a clear night if this has made any improvement. Also is there a impractical length to a dew shield? I know its said that 2- 2 1/2 the aperture in length is ideal for restricting dew formation but mother than it becoming a windsock is there a limit to the length? I know fellow member Jules had a gigantic one on his MAK at one time.

 

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If it wasn't worth it, there would be no frustration.

:happy9:

Adversity inspires; loss of interest is fatal.

Too rhetorical? I agree.

:happy11:

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I agree with the last post.

I share the frustration with UK weather and LP and am finding myself resorting to narrowband imaging more and more. I did a talk at a local junior school on astronomy. One lad asked me why do I do it (astrophotography). I thought for a moment and replied 'because it is difficult'. 

 

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At my "dark" site i.e. the in-laws which is about 10 miles outside Horncastle it just doesn't seem to get very dark anymore.

Recently the village replaced the old sodium lights with LED ones and although the LP in the garden is worse, even walking a mile or two away from the street lights and looking up at zenith it still doesn't seem very dark.

I am not sure where the LP (if it is LP) is coming from as it is all around...There is distant glow from Lincoln and from Horncastle but other than that it is just smallish villages dotted along the way.

When I started taking this stuff seriously in 2012 I am sure it was way, way darker.

The other thing is that the MW isn't in an ideal spot at the minute so maybe it is the fact that not being able to see it makes it appear worse.

Saturday night was great though...Still not really dark but a gentle breeze to eliminate the mist and decently clear skies...

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3 hours ago, spaceboy said:

Thanks for all your comments guys. I will note that my frustrations are not that I'm not getting out under clear skies but more so that every time I do the skies washed out in the eyepiece. I don't remember it ever being this bad apart from the time Iceland had the volcanic eruption. Yes I see dso's but I can honestly say hand on heart that I'd rather be in bed getting a nights sleep than seeing what I do. Faint and fuzzies were never more than a smudge under my skies and I have always enjoyed them none the less. BUT this past year there is a noticeable drop in contrast even to the point I began to question my kit -

- in desperation to find reason. I'm assuming my age plays a part but if anything surely views would get darker not brighter with an aging dilated pupil. I have though as previously mentioned by Macavity noticed an increase in aircraft overhead so I wonder if this is the culprit? I can't say 100% there has been an increase but since the A380 has been flying out of BHX I look up almost every time something goes over head, which is a lot. I noticed with the DIY PSP thread there was mention of contrails lowering sky quality even at a dark site so I imaging the impact at a LP suburb is going to have a drastic impact.

Its funny you say that mate as the one scope I would keep over all others is my 120ED. Out of all my scopes the ED gives me the most aesthetically pleasing views. The skyglow is still there but the stars are just so clean that the separate far better from the background sky than they do in my other scopes. Sure I get similar clean stars in my ST120 but CA creates its own mini purple skyglow around stars making the ED the keeper. 

As mentioned I have an ST120. This is my goto, grab and go scope which for low mags anyway, can be outside observing in a similar time to my 15x70s which now reside to gather dust. I admit that I'd much rather sacrifice aperture for portability as there is far more chance I'm going to go out into a cold garden knowing I can come straight back in when I've had enough. 

I plan on making a dewshield for my 200P today in the assumption that I am also falling foul of stray light. I shall report back when I next get a clear night if this has made any improvement. Also is there a impractical length to a dew shield? I know its said that 2- 2 1/2 the aperture in length is ideal for restricting dew formation but mother than it becoming a windsock is there a limit to the length? I know fellow member Jules had a gigantic one on his MAK at one time.

 

Just want to make it clear, having gone to great expense and some trouble to get the ED120 I won't be parting with it, I sort of feel a lot of members on here are just waiting for me to sell it and start the "what scope" thread again. This all comes about because I speak my mind and state due to local skies and LP I find I did not need a 120ED, its like using a Bentley to deliver the daily papers, but I have it and will be keeping it. Sorry to go of topic

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5 hours ago, nightfisher said:

its like using a Bentley to deliver the daily papers, but I have it and will be keeping it. Sorry to go of topic

I thought that was the whole idea behind ALL of your "what scope" threads. :icon_scratch: Otherwise what was the point in letting your TAL 100RS, TAL 200K, Skymax 102, 150, 180,, Explorer, 130p, 150p, 200p, Vixen VMC 110L, 80m, etc, etc, etc go  :blink:

Edited by spaceboy
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3 hours ago, nightfisher said:

 This all comes about because I speak my mind and state due to local skies and LP I find I did not need a 120ED, its like using a Bentley to deliver the daily papers, but I have it and will be keeping it. Sorry to go of topic

Can't agree with you Jules. You love lunar observing and imaging above all else. The 120ED will give you better results than a 100ED/TAL 100RS, whilst having much lower cool down time but probably similar performance to a 150 Mak.

You seem to hold some sort of resentment towards having the 120ED which I don't understand.

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53 minutes ago, Stu said:

 

You seem to hold some sort of resentment towards having the 120ED which I don't understand.

From my take this thread is taking a fast downhill turn, last time i agree about poor skies, maybe i should not speak my mind.

No i dont have any resentment toward owning the 120ED, its a very good telescope, think i will take a break from here

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Not going downhill Jules, just an open discussion trying to understand your thoughts.

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I think most of us have considered throwing in the towel at some stage with regards to astronomy, due to the weather. I dont think anyone actually has. Ive considered selling up and only  keeping my bins. That was never going to happen really. I havent had the chance in about 2 yrs to get out (bad health and bad weather). Feb/Mar this year havent been too bad. Quite a few clear nights (all night), but i just havent bothered. Not much going on in WL Solar observing either.

I'm starting to get the urge once again to go out observing,so i'm sure over the next few weeks i will make an effort. Normally i would be putting my gear away for the summer at the end of May, but this year i will keep it close at hand.

One or two clear nights in a row (or even in a week) really relight the fire to go out observing. 

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I went through the doldrums for most of last year to be honest. The 1st couple of months of this year were poor for observing as well but my enthusiasm has gradually returned and I feel much more enthusiastic about the hobby now. I've been through this "cycle" before so I thought that things might pick up again.

The Sun has an 11 year sunspot cycle. Maybe astronomers have a sort of motivation cycle as well ?

Edited by John
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