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Early morning observation

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I'd like to do first steps towards an early morning observation, maybe also simple astro-photo. I see main benefit related with better seeing in comparison with evening, when air is warmer and unstable after the day. But how to prepare for that? I expect a dew, so shouldn't do it without system of heaters. I work on that together with my friend. How do you prepare your stuff, do you set it up in evening and wait for the morning, or before the observation? Can you give me some advises?

I have other questions, but they depend on answer for the first one.


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Early morning is a great time as all things being equal it is dark/really dark. First I think you have to ask what you want to observe, I would leave imaging for a second or third session as it will complicate things considerably.

Just observing. Do your homework, and be prepared with a small list of targets of higher mag with a secondary list of harder targets depending on your aperture. Take a good look at the phases of the moon as dso is deeply effected. Unless you want to look at the moon of course.

It is sometimes wonderful to cast around the heavens with a let’s see what happens attitude which can lead to amazing things, but mostly I get lost and frustrated then end up looking at my ring bound, laminated sky atlas and compare it to Stellarium on the lap top. That’s part of the prep, the atlas is free on the web but hours of printing and laminating is part of the deal. Stellarium is free too.

Depending on your target, later is not always better. I did a session recently where I gambled on a comet getting high enough in the sky to view before a weather front came in at 2am. Went out early, saw the comet, fog rolled in by midnight, if I wasn’t out at 23:00hrs then I would never have seen Africano.

Keep getting out there, the experience you will build is invaluable. I have been doing this less than two years, and if I can, just dream what you will see. Just post it on here so I can have a go.



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i just cant do this i get up early 6am mon to fri so i cant wake up 3 or 4 am to do viweing. even late night by 2am iam just too tired. it takes me both sat and sun sleeping in to reset my body.

but if u can great.

i guess if you have a job that u start at 10 or 11am then that may be different


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I know how you feel. My schedule is 4am to 1pm. On the days I work, viewing is out of the question. 

When they change the time again, maybe a few minutes before bed.

But on my days off, I wake up at 2am just like work days so when it's good viewing, I get out.

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Morning observing can be very rewarding - though it's not something i generally do. I was able to see some surface features on mercury once with an 8" scope at 5am (An exceptionally cold still day with the slightest haze) On that occasion the scope had been in the house overnight so dew wasn't a problem for me. As a rule, I don't like mornings because your observing session is limited by it getting light whereas at night the longer you mess about the darker it gets :)

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