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Hi all,

I am looking for some opinions. I managed to get an hour of observing in last night, The sky here had some intermittent cloud but between this it was generally clear. I noted that the sky was surprisingly dark considering the moon was close to full, However the stars were no where near as bright as usual, Even prominent stars such as Vega had lost its sparkle.  Objects in my higher powered 8mm BST were kind of blurry and in  meduim/lower power such as my 15mm objects were still not particularly clear either. Am I correct in saying the result of this was down to seeing conditions? If that is the case what do you tend to do in this situation? just view what you can in very low power eye pieces? Or just call it a day! I am interested to know as sometimes we can only work with the hand we have been dealt! 🙂

 

Cheers

Baz

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I can only assume that the brightness of the cloud was making the sky seem dark in comparison, when actually it was still brighter than normal due to the moon.

Often when there is cloud blowing through and strong winds you get turbulent air, which causes poor seeing. I think on nights like that and with a bright Moon, it's best to either look at the Moon or go and surf the web for new kit 🤣🤣

Last night for instance was not great for me, patchy cloud moving through and a bright moon. All I did was take the 10x50 binoculars out and attempt a few simple naked eye and binocular challenges I had set for my local club. Things like spotting the Double Cluster, M31 and M44, all of which I managed, along with a nice view of the Moon. Enough to give me a little fix.

Often you will find that poor seeing goes along with good transparency, and poor transparency with good seeing. When seeing is good I tend to focus on higher powered targets like planets, doubles and the Moon. With good transparency and poor seeing, it is best to focus on lower power, larger objects which show better under these conditions.

If seeing and transparency are poor, then probably best to call it a night.

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HI Baz,

Yes,seeing is to blame.

Unfortunately a lot of the time the choice of targets are not up to us as far as seeing is concerned as Stu points out.

However I've noticed on crystal clear still winter nights when seeing for high power work is poor things more often than not improve markedly around 3am  (assuming it doesn't cloud over that is). 

Objects you struggle with on one night may stand out easily the next night,and you wonder what all the fuss was about,even on the same night sometimes.

I don't observe much on windy nights but I have had some fine views of close double stars in such conditions, I assume because of the lack of the dreaded thermals from the ground, but the massive downside is of course telescope shake.

 

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48 minutes ago, Les Ewan said:

However I've noticed on crystal clear still winter nights when seeing for high power work is poor things more often than not improve markedly around 3am 

I think that is very true, obviously things vary but it does take a while for the heat to dissipate from the land, for central heating to go off and houses cool down. Once this has happened, seeing conditions do often improve. Trouble is it is not often I can put in an all nighter on a school night!

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I think there is a sort of "sods law" that the seeing conditions are best 10-15 minutes after you have packed your gear away, just when you are having a last peek at the sky before turning in :wink:

The other time you often seem to get superb seeing is when you get out of bed to go to the loo and peer out the window just out of curiosity.

 

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The only thing I'd add is about having persistence.  Like everyone else who was out this morning, for me the seeing was not good (pretty awful in fact).  But with the Moon and planets it's always worth spending a few minutes at the eyepiece.  Even in the worse seeing there can be the merest brief moments of better seeing - but if you've just had a quick glance in the eyepiece and gone straight back to bed, you'll miss them of course.  I did have the odd moments of good seeing, you just have to be ready and make the most of them.  I took a quick snap of the Moon at 3.20 am this morning, and for the 1/320 sec the shutter was open it wasn't so bad. (I admit I took many more snaps in the hope of getting lucky and grabbing a better moment).  Here's a link I posted in Lunar Imaging with the pic I'm talking about.

 

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I agree with the idea of getting out there and observing even in sub optimal conditions and taking those half chances where you set up and sometimes find yourself immediately packing up because the cloud has just rolled in.

At the weekend I set up as Venus was doable. It was low and the seeing was poor, it was also cloudy on and off. I got maybe 15 minutes of wobbliness on Venus before the cloud rolling in became too bad. I looked around for anything else before the cloud cover was everywhere and got 5 minutes on M45 and then I was clouded out.

That is a fairly typical outing at the moment.

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My favorite one at the moment seems to be getting set up, Spend 10mins getting my eyes adjusted ready to start viewing, Clouds roll in, Wait 10 -15mins and they dont pass. Pack everything away, Look out the window 20 mins later and its crystal clear again 🙂

 

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15 minutes ago, Barry-W-Fenner said:

My favorite one at the moment seems to be getting set up, Spend 10mins getting my eyes adjusted ready to start viewing, Clouds roll in, Wait 10 -15mins and they dont pass. Pack everything away, Look out the window 20 mins later and its crystal clear again 🙂

 

Yep, welcome to Astronomy 🤣

It's worth checking satellite images on something like www.sat24.com, then you can see which way the cloud is moving and whether there are clear spells coming over. It also shows rain radar images so you know if it's fairly safe to leave your scope out or not.

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15 hours ago, John said:

I think there is a sort of "sods law" that the seeing conditions are best 10-15 minutes after you have packed your gear away, just when you are having a last peek at the sky before turning in :wink:

The other time you often seem to get superb seeing is when you get out of bed to go to the loo and peer out the window just out of curiosity.

 

Fully agree with that John, but you missed out about when its been solid cloud the same applies too.

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There's not been an awful lot of interesting things to see lately in my limited northerly view here, which is just as well, given we've been shrouded in terrible smoke from the bushfires in eastern Victoria.

You look out the window and you'd be forgiven for thinking it is just thick mist and fog, but as soon as you step outside the smell of the smoke really hits you.

At least we're getting good rains now and the forecast is for a major rain event early next week so fingers crossed things should improve dramatically soon, and Orion is gradually moving into prime position too! :) 

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U could do planets if they around since they are pretty much gone then u could do double star viewing. Theres r hundreds in reach of scopes.

Joejaguar 

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