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Seanelly

It's going to be a long, cold winter

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    I'm a Canadian who has breezed through sixty southeastern Ontario winters. I spent countless hours outside as a kid playing in the snow, tobogganing, playing hockey, and still go to the local rinks to have fun with all the enthusiastic kids zipping around. I walk my dog faithfully on the trails behind the house for an hour almost every day after work, longer on the weekends, sometimes with snowshoes, almost always with a camera. But this new astrophotography hobby of mine just might get the better of me this winter. I've had my rig for only six weeks, and it's been a tough go from the start, the crappy weather not helping. Below is the worst example yet:

    Here in Ottawa we woke up to 22cm of snow on Friday (Nov16). Friday evening I got an Email saying the programmable shutter release and the AC power adapter battery kit for the DSLR I ordered from Amazon so I can finally start some serious long-exposure imaging had been delivered to my house with a photo of the package at the door. Somebody else's door. I spent the next half hour reaming out an Amazon rep and his supervisor for trying to brush it off and have me call back on Monday if I had not recieved it yet. Saturday morning an honest member of our neighborhood showed up at the door with my package.

   Saturday night I grabbed a beer and was outside in the snow and -5C for two hours, partially getting set up, but mostly trying to find out why the illuminated reticle of the polar-finder in my HEQ5 mount suddenly quit working, and then having no luck with that trying to estimate from memory where to position the mount at polaris from the coordinates on the Synscan. The third time I got lucky because after another 3-star alignment the scope moved and tracked very well, so I then acttivated PHD2 guiding on the Pleiades. With a numb finger I then activated the shutter release that I had already programmed and tested on the DSLR earlier in the house. Nothing happened. I hit the start again and again. I swapped out the brand new AAA batteries for more new ones, but...$22, made in China. So with very cold fingers and very nasty cuss words I packed up my gear, grabbed the beer I hadn't even touched yet, and went back in the house.

    After twenty minutes of stowing things away and stripping off layers of clothing, I threw myself on the den couch with a sigh. I twisted the cap off my beer and brought it to my lips. It was frozen. It's going to be a long cold winter.

Edited by Seanelly
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I guess everyone on SGL will have similar stories ... which doesn't make your frustrating evening any better, but just know that we do understand the frustrations this hobby can produce and that you will get through them. It is amazing the number of times that bits of equipment/software that won't play ball on a cold night suddenly become eminently debuggable next day.

To quote the book title: Tough Ttimes Never Last, Tough People Do.

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That's nothing, cold wind blowing in from Russia at moment and latter in week warm air coming up from Sahara. ??

That's if the forecast is right. ?

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I feel you're pain. This can be a very frustrating hobby, but when it comes together the joy is overwhelming.

Steve

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I'm told that solving 'little' problems like this is all part of the fun of practical astronomy!!!!!

Have fun!

 

Annie

 

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27 minutes ago, Mognet said:

And there was me thinking that frost on the scope was bad ?

I think I prefer the familiarity of frost over cold dew, which gets into everything.

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14 hours ago, oldannie said:

I'm told that solving 'little' problems like this is all part of the fun of practical astronomy!!!!!

Have fun!

 

Annie

 

I can't wait for the fun to begin! (I'm a determined, patient guy, so eventually it will come.)

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14 hours ago, sloz1664 said:

I feel you're pain. This can be a very frustrating hobby, but when it comes together the joy is overwhelming.

Steve

I feel it just around the corner. (I ordered a better (I hope) programmable shutter release for the DSLR. Of course, the one that wouldn't work is fine now in the house, but I'm not taking the chance of going through that again.)

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19 hours ago, Demonperformer said:

I guess everyone on SGL will have similar stories ... which doesn't make your frustrating evening any better, but just know that we do understand the frustrations this hobby can produce and that you will get through them. It is amazing the number of times that bits of equipment/software that won't play ball on a cold night suddenly become eminently debuggable next day.

To quote the book title: Tough Ttimes Never Last, Tough People Do.

Well spoken. As it is said, misery loves company, haha. But I am in no way deterred from my goal of producing satisfying images that I can be proud of and share. In my long, arduous research of equipment, I believe I got what I need to do it (I'm real partial to globular clusters, which is why I got a fairly lengthy focasl ratio), so in the end it's up to me to get it done, slowly but surely. And it definitely has been a slow go, though I'm still probably in the meaty part of the learning curve, haha, and the progress has been relatively steady. Also, once I get my teeth into something, these kinds of setbacks only make me more determined. I believe I'm tough enough! (I ordered a better programmable shutter release; of course the faulty one works now that I'm back in the house, but I can take a hint when I get one and I'll keep it as a backup after I test it again for summer use.)

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A good idea. I'm no electronics expert, but I understand the cold can make things not perform as they should. That would explain why it works inside so summer usage may well be ok.

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On 19/11/2018 at 05:07, Seanelly said:

Saturday night I grabbed a beer and was outside in the snow and -5C for two hours, partially getting set up, but mostly trying to find out why the illuminated reticle of the polar-finder in my HEQ5 mount suddenly quit working, and then having no luck with that trying to estimate from memory where to position the mount at polaris from the coordinates on the Synscan. 

Been there, done that. But without the beer. When it gets colder, it's good to have a large piece of construction styrofoam to stand on, to keep your feet off the cold ground.

Regarding the power adapter, that's a good investment: one less battery that can fail. But I never got those programmable shutter releases to function properly in the cold. It does help some if you at least program it indoors; the liquid crystal display is a lot less liquid at -15 C.

It amazes me how they keep making this astro stuff using indoor parts. The synscan hc also gets sluggish when the temperature drops.

Edited by wimvb

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I’d keep the beer in the fridge next time so that when it all works you can celebrate with one ?... good luck and let’s hope it does 

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54 minutes ago, Laurin Dave said:

I’d keep the beer in the fridge next time

-5° seems pretty fridge-like to me ...

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33 minutes ago, Demonperformer said:

-5° seems pretty fridge-like to me ...

But in a fridge the beer remains unfrozen.... and drinkable! :) ?

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