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Alan White

To stand or to sit?

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Age old query we all have regarding observing position.
To sit or to stand?

Until recently I have always observed seated as I have been using reflectors and alt az mount.
This worked well until I have developed problems with my knees which will not be going away.
Seated still works ok when seated, but standing and moving about sometimes ends in a fall when I miss my stool or seat!
I know we have no cure for stupidity of course.

Anyway, now using my refractor far more and trying to observe standing, which goes ok, but I find I spend shorter observing and more
time just looking as the posture can need adjustment, add to that knocking the scope more readily is a touch annoying.

Anyway sorry for the long story.

Observing either alt az or gem, with a refractor, how do you observe and do you have any pictures?
Tripod, pier, heights etc as much as seated etc. is of interest.

Thanks for reading and I hope posting what you do.
 

Edited by Alan White
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Currently I observe standing but I can see that might change in a few years time so I will have to investigate suitable observing chairs that will suit my scope setups.

I can see that observing sitting down can have some advantages in terms of maintaining eye positioning at the eyepiece and being relaxed.

I suspect my dodgy knees will force the issue in due course though :rolleyes2:

I don't have any photos of me actually observing I'm afraid. It probably looks rather comical so perhaps that's for the best !

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I tend to stand while observing as that's my preferred way. This with both my dobson and refractors.

The refractor mounts have an extensible column which I love as it avoids contortionism or "yoga postures".

 

 

20180119_211941.thumb.jpg.7ec58b44c0ffb56ca574431daa4f9286.jpg

 

 

IMG_20200128_221112.thumb.jpg.679e84b02b58d4ab97581b6cc9c85d8e.jpg

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With the refractor, always seem to be seated as more comfortable as mostly Luna and planetary with the frac.

The newt and dob always standing as seem to swing these around on various DSO , bit planetary if in view or a bit of Luna. So always seem to be standing with newt and dob

The one exception is if I have had a port of two to many, or a few to many wines and then its always sitting🍾🍷😀

 

 

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Always sitting now, but partly because I can't stand for long so sessions would be much shortened.

However I also found that I can actually see more, especially on threshold objects, when I'm sitting comfortably.

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Hi Alan,

I always try to adopt a comfortable seated position. With my big refractor it is easy because it is on a tracking mount, and I have a Mey observing seat and a 5 rung step ladder depending upon the height I need. It is easy to get comfortable stick both eyes into a bino and just observe for an hour or more, particularly the Moon or  Jupiter. Not so easy if roaming the sky though and I tend to stand. The same is true using my Dob and it depends how long I intend to observe a single target whether I sit or stand.

Edited by Saganite
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 At 6'5 I mix it up, I stand, sit, kneel on the floor... Even though I have a short refractor, anything higher than 50degrees puts the old back to work.. sometimes I plan a session so I've got the tripod at the right height to sit down comfortably... I think if I had the choice id have a good observing chair....and a bigger scope...but with limited space, a small scope and a case of extreme laziness, it probably won't happen..

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I mostly sit. The chair I made is adjustable so I can even sit when viewing straight up with my 8" dob. Though I do have to use a single step stool to get up on the chair when it's all the way up.

I'm much more comfortable when seated.

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Always seated for me (wheelchair). There's good medical reasons for sitting. No neck or back issues and the muscles in the eyes are relaxed, which improves view.

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I mostly tend to sit (or perch if I'm observing low down).

I have a couple of observing chairs, one (Mey Observing Chair) for at home and a second (Geoptik Nadira) for when I go out and about.

They are pricey, but I was fortunate to get both as presents (at different times).

Found that the Geoptik one needs a bit of padding so got a memory foam garden kneeler.

As @LukeSkywatcher says, I find my eyes are more relaxed when seated and it definitely helps with maintaining correct eye position.

But if I'm going all over the sky on a session I tend to stand as adjusting the chair for each target is tiresome.

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Sit, definitely and on an easily adjustable observers chair. Relaxed comfortable good posture, provide moments of deeper visual intensity.

Standing, retaining good posture is sometimes neccessy and can too provide receptive visual retention.   

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At 6ft, using a small reflector on alt az, tripod extended to the max and mount extension tube, standing was extremely comfortable. I sold the 130ps, but miss it now just for the perfect standing viewing position it provided with the AZ5. To replace it I may pick up a 150p this year or try a 127 mak.

Using a refractor I mix it up cos the back gives out. I try and set the height so at higher elevations the eyepiece matches my eye height while sitting on a garden chair.

The dob is propped an extra foot high but needs more height still for me to enjoy it standing for long periods without back ache.

 

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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I'm 6'2" and with the 500p, I'm usually standing fully upright, or one step up a small ladder, maybe two near zenith, but that's the nature of a scope like that. Only on objects around 30 deg or less am I standing in a 'comfortable slouch' or hands resting on knees. Never used a chair with this one.

It wasn't until I recently picked up a 300p flextube (non-GOTO with a telrad and raci) that I cobbled together a modified 'Molte' chair from Ikea (a lofty £11) for comfortable sitting. I drilled extra holes to extend the height.

Ohhh...what a difference it made to just sit relaxed at the eyepiece and not wobble or try and hold an uncomfortable position. I can move the 300p around on azimuth smooth as silk with one finger (it's on tiny needle bearings, the wind will actually cause it to weathervane if breezy) and adjusting the altitude is usually just a little nudge despite the rudimentary bearing system (hey, it works). A real pleasure to use this scope sitting down. 

Two different experiences, but when using the 300p sitting down, I find it's much easier to relax and take in finer details.    

NB - apologies, see you are mainly asking about using refractors, but I'd still go with seated if possible... the Molte Ikea chair can be a cheap observing chair you can happily leave outside (mine's been outside for five or six years, just resprayed the base a few weeks ago).

 

 

 

IMG_20200126_153334891~2.jpg

Edited by Ships and Stars
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I mostly observe standing as most of my sessions are short and it's not worth the extra set up time getting a chair out but a chair makes a big difference to my observing ability, I can stay at the eyepiece longer and concentrate harder when seated with a straight back and a natural head and eye position.

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Remaining seated always seemed more relaxed and provided better views of fine detail.
Probably because my other brain cell wasn't being used just to remain on a wobbly stepladder.

Nowadays I spend most of my time seated comfortably at my computer desk imaging the sun in my home made, two storey observatory.
My 25" monitor provides unbelievable views in H-alpha and white light of [sections] of the magnified solar disk, several feet across.

My homemade 6" and 7" iStar refractors sit on my massive, home made, German equatorial mounting with planetarium control.
The eyepieces are usually ideally placed, for height, for visual observing from a seated position, except in the very depths of winter.
I nearly always use a solar prism or star diagonal as appropriate. Though mostly a camera.

The monitor allows me to choose moments of good seeing for rapid imaging with a fast ZWO camera.
For occasional exercise, I turn my home-made, 10' /3m dome via a hand crank deliberately placed close to my desk.

I have all but given up on night time observing, or imaging. With only occasional imaging sessions on the Moon.
Yet spend most sunlit hours busy in the observatory. More daylight hours, in some weeks, than I did in several years on the night sky.

I am in now my early 70s but remain fitter than most through constant physical and mental activity after years of [excessive] cycling.
There is always something which can be improved upon. Or built from scratch, or scrap, to make observation or imaging easier or more fun.

I blame all of this on Peter Drew! His inspiration has filled all my waking hours with new [astronomical] purpose!
There are no valid excuses for this sort of behaviour!! ;)

P1360328 rsz 600 upright bright.JPG

P1380411 rsz 600.JPG

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On 14/02/2020 at 22:00, Ships and Stars said:

I'm 6'2" and with the 500p, I'm usually standing fully upright, or one step up a small ladder..  

NB - apologies, see you are mainly asking about using refractors, but I'd still go with seated if possible...
the Molte Ikea chair can be a cheap observing chair you can happily leave outside (mine's been outside for five or six years, just resprayed the base a few weeks ago).

 

On 14/02/2020 at 22:00, Ships and Stars said:

 

IMG_20200126_153334891~2.jpg

Where can I get a superb, tweed cushion, like that, for my own IKEA observatory chair? :thumbsup:

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Most of my observing career I have stood.

but since getting the AZ EQ6 and using in AZ mode with the C9.25 or the Tak FS102 I have found myself sitting more. More comfortable, hence easier to see things, both faint and fuzzy and details. Getting the Berlebach observing perch has helped too.

sorry to hear about your knee woes @Alan White

 

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I stand observing DSOs (moving anywhere across the sky), but sit for "serious" planetary observing.  I find my daughter's bicycle useful to perch on - even on the handlebars 🤣 with the planets so low over the last while.

I find sitting (or propping myself) good for teasing out fine detail at >330×, eliminating my natural sway when standing. 

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With the alt-az mount and the dob I prefer to sit.

Bought a “drummers throne” a few years ago and it gives a decent range of adjustment. Replaced the vinyl cushion with a fabric one which is a lot more comfortable in the cold. Being three legged also better suited to unevan surfaces than a four legged one.🙂

A1EA8FAF-2400-4BF3-9EE4-48B69F6CE7FE.jpeg

7AD1627F-7367-4726-86F0-53588577B181.jpeg

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2 hours ago, Rusted said:

 

Where can I get a superb, tweed cushion, like that, for my own IKEA observatory chair? :thumbsup:

The tweed was a £3 remnants bag from the outlet at Tarbert, Harris when we went over on the ferry a few years back. My wife sewed it together to make a cover for a sofa pillow, we bought a new sofa, and then I got my grubby hands on it! 🤣

Adds a nice touch to the otherwise industrial feel of the chair!

 

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29 minutes ago, Ships and Stars said:

The tweed was a £3 remnants bag from the outlet at Tarbert, Harris when we went over on the ferry a few years back.
My wife sewed it together to make a cover for a sofa pillow, we bought a new sofa, and then I got my grubby hands on it! 🤣

Adds a nice touch to the otherwise industrial feel of the chair!

Superb! Thanks. :) That was a far more interesting story than saying you bought it at IKEA. :thumbsup:
I tried suggesting a cushion, made from one of my old tweed jackets, but my wife says no.
It has to be easily washable and preferably two of them. To allow for regular rotation through the laundry system.
I'm just using a square of closed cell, camping mattress at the moment and it's totally "unsympathetic!"  :blush:

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19 minutes ago, Rusted said:

Superb! Thanks. :) That was a far more interesting story than saying you bought it at IKEA. :thumbsup:
I tried suggesting a cushion, made from one of my old tweed jackets, but my wife says no.
It has to be easily washable and preferably two of them. To allow for regular rotation through the laundry system.
I'm just using a square of closed cell, camping mattress at the moment and it's totally "unsympathetic!"  :blush:

The tweed is really hard wearing, lasts ages. Makes a good slipcover for cushions if you can get some cheap offcuts.

By the way, that is an extremely impressive observatory and equally, if not more impressive, GEM mounts and scopes you have there! Quite talented to put it mildly.

Superb!

Edited by Ships and Stars
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Thanks. That's very kind of you to say so. :thumbsup:

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My preference is to sit.  I find that I'm more relaxed and can concentrate more easily on the view if I sit.

In the OP's case, perhaps a taller chair that means the knees don't have to be so bent might work?

My ultimate goal for visual though is to have a telescope mounted on an alt-az chair.  With goto, obviously :D

James

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