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Grumpy Martian

Are you comfortable standing when observing?

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Posted (edited)

I have just come to realise that I seem to be swaying more when standing at the telescope eyepiece when observing recently. This was not always the case. Perhaps it is because I am getting older. (59 last week, no one sent me a Tak for my birthday. The tears have now dried up lol). Some years ago I had a Meade LX 90 8 inch. If any of you are familiar with this telescope you will understand what I am going to describe. With this scope I could put the fork part of the telescope mount on my stable garden table top. This enabled me to sit very comfortably while viewing. Looking back I can remember it being a far more comfortable viewing experience than sitting on a stool next to the telescope in the middle of the lawn. 

This is prompting me to research what telescope/mounts there are available for table top viewing. 

Edited by Grumpy Martian

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There are special observing seats with adjustable height.

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I must admit, although I love my dobs, and will often spend all night freezing my nik naks off at a dark site, they are not always comfortable to use.

I experience a wide range of viewing positions as different equipment comes for review. Just the other night I was literally on my hands and knees looking almost back up over my shoulder, not the best. 

If it gets really bad, you could think about EAA, electronically assisted astronomy. This way you can do your viewing from a very comfy chair, see 10X more detail, and explore the sky in a whole new way. Is it the same as viewing it with your own eyes? No. It's better!

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I had the problem of wobbling at the eyepiece. I tried leaning gently on the mount but that just made the mount shake. Then I dug out a monopod and used it as a kind of stick to lean on and that helped a bit. Then I got a sky watcher observing chair. The chair looks awful, and feels rickety and poor quality but actually it is functionally perfect.

I have my eyepieces pointing almost straight out these days, just up from horizontal so I look slightly down from horizontal. I set the seat so I am sitting up straight and looking forward in a normal (for me) position that doesn't need any effort to hold.

I also got an extension pillar for my eq5 but it's a lot of extra weight and bulk and so isn't used so much.

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I like to keep my tripod all the way down and rotate the diagonal depending on location of EQ mount, that way I can sit most of the time.

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When doing visual (occasionally) I use a perching type chair .After the back probs I can't stand still for long or odd angles for long.

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You could look into a Nasmyth or Springfield design that keeps the eyepiece in about the same place as the telescope is pointed in different directions.

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I've started to get a wobble on just this year. I've found eye positioning more difficult and I'm not able to observe for very long at a time, so I'm thinking observing chair too. I previously tried sitting on a low wall in the garden and stability was greatly improved, but the wall couldn't be moved with the scope 🤣

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Another vote for observing chairs.   I made one and it transformed the whole visual observing experience.

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Standing... 

Never tried it. 

There are many benefits to observing from a seated position. 

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Height adjustable drummer's stool. Can be bought very cheaply and does the job well. 

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I literally hate standing when observing now that I have got used to sitting. For the reasons of comfort, stability, concentration, ability to sketch and lots of other reasons, I sit. I made my own chair as a test/prototype about 7 years ago and it still works a treat. I have redone the seat bit since but still use the same 'chassis'. I also use a low canvas seated stool and anything else in the garden rather than standing.

 

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I'm still standing, mostly. I do sit when doing solar observing, usually. I've not really analysed these preferences much - they just seem to me to be the way I like to do it :smiley:

Might change when / if my knees get more dodgy :rolleyes2:

 

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Quote

I'm still standing

Sounds familiar 😄

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Standing is no fun and uncomfortable, besides it is hard to steady yourself.
I use a small ladder with four legs and wide rungs--not perfect but it is better than standing.
Before I had made a chair in wood in the same style as the commercial one but it was too much trouble to adjust it

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It's about whatever you find most comfortable rather than one being better than the other. I've got an adjustable observing chair, purchased off ABS for £15, that I use with my dob. That extra bit of comfort allows me to be more focused on what I'm observing which can make a noticeable difference in what I'm able to see. 

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Eye muscles are relaxed when sitting and not hunching over a scope. This does improve how you see. 

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Well, I much prefer standing to sitting while observing.

And guess what... I am also comfortable with straight through finders on Dobsons.

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14 minutes ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

Eye muscles are relaxed when sitting and not hunching over a scope. This does improve how you see. 

Seconded. 

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I'm lucky that I can observe most objects with my telescopes while seated in an ordinary plastic patio chair.  I just have to wipe off the dust and bird doo before using it.  I really like having the arm rests to further steady myself against.  Perhaps that's why I have never had issues "hovering" above long eye relief eyepieces.

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Both seated or standing, to settle on a lingering observation of a target, it is nice to get comfy and perch on an adjustable observers chair. Once relaxed and retaining good posture, all muscles including facial muscles relax. Low level targets with a dobsonian, an adjustable chair at its lowest setting is required, no stooping or bending to gain the eyepiece. There are periods when I seldom use a chair, if changing eyepiece / filter repeatedly, positioning on a succession of objects at short interludes,    there is a breeze by which supporting the dobsonian is required, or it is so darn cold (usually wind chill) that a quick look is all I can do. I tend to adopt a slight straddled position for stability. With binoculars to, I will stand slightly straddled to sweep across the sky or sit using a monopod on a bench, or chair.   

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Funny story about plastic patio chairs... 

A few yrs ago on holiday in Portugal a group of us were all poolside for happy hour and one guy sat down in one and it completely exploded under him. He was a slim guy. 

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1 hour ago, VNA said:

Standing is no fun and uncomfortable, besides it is hard to steady yourself.
 

For everybody or for yourself ?

I find it just fine currently :smiley:

Surely this is going to vary person to person ?

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37 minutes ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

Funny story about plastic patio chairs... 

A few yrs ago on holiday in Portugal a group of us were all poolside for happy hour and one guy sat down in one and it completely exploded under him. He was a slim guy. 

Yeah, the legs don't do well on smooth, slippery surfaces.  They do just fine on concrete and lawn, though.  I have had them sink in the lawn after a heavy rain made the ground muddy.  I literally had this sinking feeling while sitting in it.

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Trouble with sitting in the dark is that getting up, the seat can get knocked, forgotten about and tripped over.

So I stand. Also too fidgety and restless to sit. My viewing is moving about the sky, rather than in-depth study.

Having written all that, a small table & chair for studying charts, putting cups of tea on etc has its uses.      

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