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andrew s

Hobby killers

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Sky & Telescope had an article on astro hobby killers. So I was wondering what nearly killed the hobby for you?

For me it was working in the North East near Middlesborough where the industry at the time ensured a bright orange sky. Coupled with my poor eye sight I could never find anything beyond the moon and planets.

Regards Andrew 

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Spending 45 minutes setting up for an imaging session and not realising that all too often the sky was clouding over and there wasn't going to be any imaging! 🙁

My observatory brought the hobby alive again. 😀

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Got to be this horrible weather here in the UK. Really fed up with it. Makes me wonder even more why I cope with the stress of not being able to get out and observe.

 

Glen.

 

 

 

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Trouble shooting when something goes wrong .....  in the dark....

argghhhhh!!!!!...... that windows update,  argghhhhh!!!!!......  didn't have time to collimate and balance  the scope before I just polar aligned everything and got all the cameras working ...argghhhhh!!!!!......  USB cable comes out half way through a run.....argghhhhh!!!!!...........  are they ice crystals in the FOV.....  argghhhhh!!!!!......  

oh!!...as well.... use the 3 of the 'brightest' stars used to star align..... when you notice all the other stars have disappeared behind cloud.... game over....argghhhhh!!!!!......

Some nights all the above apply.    Dark skies at 6pm...... first image at 10pm.     Just a result of not having enough clear skies.

 

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I had a period of a year or two when I was thoroughly disillusioned.  Then I recovered - even bought some more gear!  Now it's getting frustrating again.  I don't really want to give up astro imaging but...

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33 minutes ago, Craney said:

Dark skies at 6pm...... first image at 10pm.

 

I can relate to that.  Very frustrating indeed

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I gave up in 2009 after spending a couple of months trying to image sh2-240.  At the time I felt that I had taken the best possible image given the local light pollution.  I tried to convince my wife to move house,  but with no success.

I got back into imaging last year, and I now realise that I had been wrong to stop.  I quickly realised that either the light pollution had changed, or perhaps I had simply been wrong about it back in 2009.  3nm filters have also much improved what I can do, and a new camera also seems to have made a big difference.

For the moment I am feeling highly motivated.  I suppose that as long as I can see a way of improving,  then I find it easy to put the effort in.  I'm also helped by the rubbish that features on our TV's these days.

 

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I almost gave up in 2008, when I realised that my first guide camera (It was a Phillips Tucam Pro II) wasn't able to see stars to guide on, the laptop that I was using going flat all the time as the power supply didn't like inverters and runnig a DC-DC adapter didn't work either as the input voltage was too low from a leisure battery.

A few years later I set about creating the alternative setup, using a SynGuider II and a Sky FII so that I didn't have to have wows of laptop battery going flat.   It worked great the first time I tried to use it - took a photo of the Ring Nebula and was guiding on Vega.     Only to find that when I tried to line up on anything else, guess what..... no stars!

Yep, almost gave up... again.

But went on a visit to Greenwich Astronomy in batley, (now closed down :() and bought a Starlight Xpress Superstar, then to PC World and bought a HP Pavillion laptop.   Over night, everything changed completely.  There was a 12v power supply for HP Laptops that I bought and it works great.  The battery on the laptop lasts for ages too.   Stars show up without effort in the Starlight camera.   Things are much much better now.

The only thing that gets me down is the weather now.  But at least it's not the gear that's letting me down anymore.

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I almost gave up in 2013 when I got my first 'serious' mount. Wanting to get into photography, I intended to buy a Skywatcher HEQ5 but fell for Meade's hyped LX80! After spending every hour of clear sky from February to August trying to get the darned thing to guide, I nearly gave up in absolute frustration. But a second-hand NEQ6  became available and I have enjoyed the hobby ever since. 

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I've never lost the interest but I did have a period of a few years without a telescope when our children arrived.

I'm glad that I realised long ago that keeping setups really simple with no technology / power / alignment needs was the way forward for me. I have owned a few GOTO setups but didn't really find that they did anything other than frustrate me.

And keeping with simple observing has proved the best way for me to enjoy the hobby as well.

The weather is probably the main "downer" now. Too much quality gear sat doing nothing for too long here I fear ! :rolleyes2:

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I bought my first telescope in 1965 (60mm frac) then a few years later a 6" f/8 Newt. By the time my first Son was born (1974) I lost interest and never returned to the hobby until I bought a 5" Celestron Nexstar SCT in 1999.

Becoming a member of SGL in 2008 really got me going -  I had the time because I retired in 2005.

I have periods of frustration which is weather related but I have my monthly Herefordshire Astro meetings which are good fun because you meet many like minded friends.

Recently I enjoyed observing the Mercury Transit and then going over to the IAS. 

So as long as I have some observing per month - including observing the Sun in Ha I am just about copping.

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I've gone many seasons without observing but have never thought the hobby is dead or that I've lost interest. I just need to get on with something else and know that sooner or later I'll be back. The key is to let my time and interest, money and space follow the hobby, not the other way around.

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I should have added that joining my local astro society has added a lot to my enjoyment of the hobby. A weekly "fix" of meeting other interested in the subject and learning more from expert speakers.

The opportunities to share the hobby with others (either experienced or new to it) has been a great bonus :smiley:

 

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Participating in other interests which happen to be outdoor related actually retains interest in this.

If just focused almost completely on this; when the weather is mostly terrible, when the best dark sky nights happen on a night preceding a full working day or a social commitment is scheduled, the sense of disappointment can often be frustrating.

Stubborn optimism, aspirational planning for the next one, positive recollection of the last time when it definitely worked out well, along with continual chatting on here keeps the interest afloat. 

 

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I've never thought about giving up but the main potential killers are the unrelentingly cloudy weather, too much work, and too many other commitments/ responsibilities.

Sometimes though I think that the clouds keep it interesting because on the occasions when it is looking clear I still get excited about observing.

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The night my observatory roof blew off I packed it in for 7 years, then about 2.5 years ago a bereavement made me get my finger out and get it rebuilt, and I enjoy it again  

 

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Dark skies at 6pm...... first image at 10pm.

I can go one better than that. 

(This is at Astro camp)   Dark skies on Thursday night all night, Friday cloudy, Saturday also clear but didn't get first usable image until around 2.30am!!!  1 1/2 nights wasted all because I must have not spread the tripod legs fully and the mount must have slipped to fully spread legs and put the PA out.  PA had been done accurately with Polemaster on the first night, but was getting egg shaped stars.  Was scratching my head for hours, as never had it happen before, and now I make double and triple times sure I have spread the legs fully.  

To be honest it is SGL that keeps me going through weeks of clouds, I don't know what I would do if it didn't exist.

Carole 

 

Edited by carastro
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Thankfully I have other hobbies that keep me busy when imaging does'nt.

The obsy is also my hamradio shack and I'm currently working on a Es’hail-2 satellite station.
Es’hail-2 is a Qatar Satellite Company geostationary bird over East Africa which carries two hamradio transponders.
I have the 10GHz downlink sorted with a 90cms dish, modded LNB and SDR receiver, just waiting for a 1.1metre dish
and a power amplifier to arrive for the 2.4GHz uplink.

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Hobby "killers" I've had..work, weather, young family, work, weather, teenage family, work, weather, grown up family, hmm..something of a pattern here🙄?

Hobby "revitalisers".. the wonders of a clear sky, an understanding wife, a love of refractors, SGL for the past 10 years, annual anticipation and first glimpse of the returning Orion, the solitude of looking up at the dead of night - and now, retirement.

I feel very blessed👍☺.

Dave

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Pretty much the same as John, above, only family and life got in the way. As it does again now since becoming foster carers + the father-in-law's health (all on top of working full time shifts).

But I've never sold my gear. Ye Olde Fullerscope was in a case that didn't get opened for over 10 years at one point but I still got the bins out occasionally. I've currently got as many telescopes as I've had observing sessions this season!

The clouds, weather and bright summer nights have never killed it, I just keep it simple and enjoy the rare opportunities!

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Like John and Paul, I like to keep it simple as well! When times have been hard (family and work) I've found being able to get out and just admire the night sky, with or without a scope, has been a tremendous relaxation and has helped keep me going when times have been hard.

Hobby Killer? Moving to an area (SE England) with LP'd skies maybe, after living somewhere very much less polluted. Probably why I decided to move much more to double stars rather than fuzzies.

Chris

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1 minute ago, chiltonstar said:

I've found being able to get out and just admire the night sky, with or without a scope, has been a tremendous relaxation

In a nutshell!

Even a quick glimpse of Orion setting in the west as I let the dog out before work has an effect. The stars are old friends that make me smile (or cry) whenever I see them.

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16 hours ago, John said:

I've never lost the interest but I did have a period of a few years without a telescope when our children arrived.

I'm glad that I realised long ago that keeping setups really simple with no technology / power / alignment needs was the way forward for me. I have owned a few GOTO setups but didn't really find that they did anything other than frustrate me.

And keeping with simple observing has proved the best way for me to enjoy the hobby as well.

The weather is probably the main "downer" now. Too much quality gear sat doing nothing for too long here I fear ! :rolleyes2:

I literally can echo this word for word John (spooky!). Rob

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Mine is a bad back. I just can't lift my kit anymore 😭

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