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lord love rocket

How Many Nights Do You Get It Than?

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Since I started this Stargazing thing I have been surprised at how few opportunities you get to stargaze. The amount of days I have been looking forward to get the scope out to find that the night is covered in a thick layer of cloud.

This hobbie is one which you cannot gurantee how often or when you can do it. Also it's one of those hobbies when you want to concentrate on a certain area you are unable to. For example I am desperate to see Saturn, however in this area it doesn't really appear until the early hours of the morning. Now this wouldn't be a problem most weekends cause I am a cabbie and work nights therefore when I finish a shift you think all would be ok for some viewing, however the last couple of weekends all I can see is cloud.

Also just got myself some filters and am desperate to see the moon under a moon filter (was finding I was getting blinded by the intense white from the moon when last looked) however when I have been up to see it has been to cloudy or simply the moon isn't coming up until to late for me.

Anyhow, must say I really enjoying it and spend most days thinking about getting it out (the scope that is)

Finally to my question, on average how many nights a month do you think you get to do some good stargazing?

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This summer/Autumn has been very bad for viewing.

Winter is here now and those clear crisp nights will appear.

These last 2 weeks have been good I've managed 5 nights so all is not lost.

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Lord Love

It's a problem - I spend most of my timing reading AN and dreaming about stuff.. maybe once a month at the moment?

Since I got the Scopebuggy though, I can get wheel scope out of my garage, not have to align it, and do a good session and be packed up within 5 mins. It has transformed my observing.

philip

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You have hit on one of the big issues with astronomy in the UK and the reason that many of us invest in a small scope as well as a bigger one - the small one can be setup quickly so at least you can get some viewing in during the gaps in the cloud. Smaller scopes are generally less affected by adverse seeing conditions as well.

With regard to objects that we want to view being available when we want to view them - well that's just the universe for you !. Newbies can get quite a shock when they find out that Jupiter won't really be well positioned for viewing for several years for example and Saturns rings will not be presented well for viewing for quite a while as well.

Just as well there is so much good reading to do on astronomy !.

John

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But bear in mind a grab and Go scope doesn't have to be small.

Mines a 16" dob but since putting wheels on it it takes me about a minute to be outside. With a dob there's no hassle of setting up your tripod or wedge, and there's no polar aligning.

A grab and go scope is one you will use the most no matter what it is.

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I generally just do whatever's at my zenith (or in the AN Sky Tour) and take a que sera sera attitude..

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To date my large scope ( until recently the ONLY scope ) has only been used for a total of about 6 hours since I owned it - thats about 1.5 hours per month and most of thats been looking at cloud. Thats why I bit the bullet and bought a grab and go scope and spend most of my days imagining what the view might be like when I get a chance to use the big one. :) :) :D

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Hi - the weather in the UK is one reason why binos are great - you can just whip 'em out in jiffy! I've probably had the scopes out for about 4-5 nights over the last two months. It's just not cloud cover that's a problem, it's hard to justify staying up til all hours if you have to get up at 6AM to get to work! So that leaves cloudless nights on Fridays and Saturdays as prime observing time.

It can be a bit frustrating.

Ed

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This is the main reason why I've ordered some big binos - to take advantage of the times I've had clear nights during the week when I'm away.

I'll be able to take the binos with me during the week and I sometimes end up in some very dark places parked up for the night. It'll be nice to have some decent aperture with me at all times.

Also at home, they can be left set up on a tripod and out the door far quicker than most 'scopes with practically no cool down time needed to take advantage of those 'will it, won't it clear?' nights.

I have a 12" dob but it can be an effort to get it set up in time for those breaks in the clouds during weekend. It has to be taken out in 2 pieces and I have to make sure the mirror's cooled to ambient before I take it outside - if it looks like it will be worth it, I'll put the OTA in the unheated back porch an hour or so before I assemble it outside. It doesn't take long and it's certainly quicker than an EQ mounted 'scope but you have to plan ahead.

I'm off work this week and have been able to take advantage of the last 2 clear nights - 2 clear nights in a row is a first since I got the 'scope a year and half ago. Usually when I've had time off work, it's cloudy for the whole duration. It's my birthday today so I consider the last 2 nights a birthday gift from the cloud gods :)

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I managed 4 hours last night trying out some new eyepieces. I managed just an hour tonight. WOW! was it cold.

Argonaut.

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For me, about once a month with the 8" Newt. About 3 times a week with the binoculars.

I think it's only seeing Sir Patrick Moore's great enthusiasm on the "Sky at Night," and keeping in touch with other enthusiasts on "Stargazers Lounge" that's kept me going with Astronomy this year!

Regards,

philsail1

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I'd say that I've had 20 or so nights out since I started the hobby in feb. I've missed a few in the last week though mainly cos I'm sulking til my HEQ5 pro comes back and cba to move the guide rings again so that I can image on the 6SE mount.

It's going to start clearing up nicely and over the next few months we should get plenty of viewing time in, so make sure you've got your warm winter clothes sorted. I've just been given a freezer suit http://www.tempex.at/en/kaelteschutzanzuege.php the all in one suit at the bottom, so I might start doing some visual stuff again.

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I've yet to experience it but apparently yes, as it gets colder the nights get clearer. summer is definitely the worst, next to no real darkness, like a permanent twilight.

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I've been doing pretty well with my setup. I maybe manage 2 hours a week on average (although the summer didn't do me so well), but one of the reasons for my choice of scope (80mm short tube) was to utilize it for other hobbies as well. It did gallantly as a spotting scope on holiday for observing battleships, and also when used by my mum for a bit of birdwatching.

I think I spend more time browsing the forums and reading up on the technology than I do actually looking at the stars, but I got into this hobby to learn new stuff and broaden my horizons (which it has).

Even when it's cloudy I still enjoy astronomy :)

Mark

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I think I spend more time browsing the forums and reading up on the technology than I do actually looking at the stars, but I got into this hobby to learn new stuff and broaden my horizons (which it has).

Well made point - me too. I threw a hissy fit a few weeks back because I had forgotten how little opportunity there is to view stuff and I had lost sight of the fact that since picking it up again I have learnt a hell of a lot AND met some nice people which was why I started again really.

Thanks for reminding me. :) :) :D

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Newbies can get quite a shock when they find out that Jupiter won't really be well positioned for viewing for several years for example and Saturns rings will not be presented well for viewing for quite a while as well.

Family, friends and non astro aware people are shocked when they find out that you can actually see Jupiter with the naked eye :-)

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Thanks for reminding me. icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

You're welcome Astro_Baby, and congrats on getting a letter published in Sky at Night magazine :thumbright:

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As a deep-sky observer who drives to a dark site to observe, I'm limited by 5 factors:

0. Darkness

1. Weather

2. Moon

3. Need for sleep

4. "Real life" committments

Number 2 knocks out nearly half of the month (even a low crescent Moon is a massive source of light pollution - I say we should blow the damn thing up!). Number 0 knocks out summer, when the sky never gets fully dark at my latitude. Number 1 is a particular problem if observing involves a car trip - you have to decide if it's worth a go (I have spent nights sitting in the car in the wilds waiting for an hour or two then giving up and driving home). Number 3 gets worse as I get older. Number 4 is to do with things like whether you have a family, social life, job, etc, and how much your astronomy matters in relation to them (tricky subject!).

I consider myself a pretty dedicated observer, but when you multiply all these factors together you get a fairly small number of nights available. I could have had two great sessions this week but 3 and 4 got in the way (boo-hoo). I had one night free for observing and felt ready to stay up all night - and it was cloudy. So it goes. The sky will still be there when the time comes.

I started a new observing notebook in February and so far I've logged 10 sessions - an average of about one a month. In those sessions I've observed about 70 NGC objects that I'd never viewed before. It's not as much as I'd like, but it's enough to keep me happy.

Andrew

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Family, friends and non astro aware people are shocked when they find out that you can actually see Jupiter with the naked eye

I've come across people who can't accept that there are other constellations besides those in the Zodiac :withstupid:

As for nights - only 3 this month, I'm afraid - hoping to make it 4 tonight. :)

A

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I bought my scope in september 08, I have used it 9 times, with a period of each session lasting 1-3 hours. :)

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I'd say trhat since getting my scope a couple of weeks ago, more than 60% of nights I could get outside to do some observing. :)

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17 sessions in August

13 sessions in September

8 sessions in October (that includes the one I'll have tonight)

Yeah, I know it sounds like a lot but I'm a deep sky and lunar observer.

We get to use our scopes all month long. :)

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