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So, you choose what you think is going to be your path in this wonderful journey . You buy , or at least order , your equipment . At that point the nice supplier informs you of a 6 week wait for your precious scope to arrive . You finally receive the scope , but whilst waiting you have read countless reviews and opinions and you are even more confused and think you maybe need another scope as well ! But ,you have your scope  .. so with trepidation and excitement you set up , it’s still light.Its taken you a long time to get things perfectly balanced and level but , you are there . You polar align when you see the first view of Polaris .Everything is going well .. you wait for darkness to descend , you keep looking at the sky and you notice that great lump of cloud in the west approaching . Surely not ! Yep ! That’s the night ruined as the clouds roll in . Repeat to fade . At this point you wish you had bought a dobsonian that can be set up (and dismantled ) in 5 minutes . Even worse , it’s summer time , so there is precious little darkness to be had ! I’m sure I’m not alone in my frustration . I know we can’t do anything about our weather but I must admit I get “clear sky envy “ when I see those You Tube vlogs from the USA and mainland Europe who seem to have endless nights of clear viewing . One positive that I’ve gleaned from this is that U.K. observers and photographers must be the most patient bunch in the world when it comes to astronomy. By the way , I’ve just got myself another Dob . Now , even if there is only a half hour window of clear sky , I’m going to use it !! Ah , frustration eased . 
Thanks for reading .

PS

I wrote this looking out through my window  at cloudy skies on a Windy so called summer day in August ! +15 degrees ! 

Edited by Stu1smartcookie
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At least most of the 2nd hand equipment sold is "low mileage" in the UK !  

So, you choose what you think is going to be your path in this wonderful journey . You buy , or at least order , your equipment . At that point the nice supplier informs you of a 6 week wait for your

Frustrating ?  Don’t agree, sometimes it can be VERY frustrating. However, when everything comes together and you have a great session, the frustration melts away and you know why you do this gre

ah yes, the blanket that the stars and planets love to hide behind, always a joy.

As for a dob, it may be a simple dump the base in the garden then drop the bucket into it, but all depends on your viewing situation and preferences. Here a dob would be pretty useless with the planets low down, it'd not be able to see over the fence. Even on a tripod I need to extend the legs a little for the fracs at the moment or tolerate the planets being visible just above the fence line. Sure you can sit the dob on something to lift it but then that's another thing to be carried out. I prefer to have SloMo controls too so for me an EQ mount is the way to go. It's not hard to take the OTA off, fold the tripod and pop it out then refit the OTA. I leave the mount and weights in place, saves time and faffing about and the OTA is balanced when refitted, no adjustments needed. Once brought indoors the scopes sit assembled and stood up in the conservatory, simples 😉 

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Makes me wistful for all those clear nights we had in the spring. I casually passed up several perfectly good evenings because there was "bound to be another one coming up very soon". Normal service has been resumed!

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2 hours ago, DaveL59 said:

ah yes, the blanket that the stars and planets love to hide behind, always a joy.

As for a dob, it may be a simple dump the base in the garden then drop the bucket into it, but all depends on your viewing situation and preferences. Here a dob would be pretty useless with the planets low down, it'd not be able to see over the fence. Even on a tripod I need to extend the legs a little for the fracs at the moment or tolerate the planets being visible just above the fence line. Sure you can sit the dob on something to lift it but then that's another thing to be carried out. I prefer to have SloMo controls too so for me an EQ mount is the way to go. It's not hard to take the OTA off, fold the tripod and pop it out then refit the OTA. I leave the mount and weights in place, saves time and faffing about and the OTA is balanced when refitted, no adjustments needed. Once brought indoors the scopes sit assembled and stood up in the conservatory, simples 😉 

Pros and cons for both setups of course .. I was speaking from experience of where I have to store my stuff .. upstairs in a wardrobe .. actually 5 trips upstairs to bring everything down .. I was actually getting to the point where I was “trying to break my record for setting up” lol . Last week was the final straw . Sunshine all day then clouds rolled in at 10pm zzz There are alternatives .. a star tracker for a light weight set up , and extremely portable . Omg ... I’m spending again !!! 

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Frustrating ?  Don’t agree, sometimes it can be VERY frustrating.

However, when everything comes together and you have a great session, the frustration melts away and you know why you do this great hobby of ours....

Ed.

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Us UK astronomers are most definitely the most patient observers there are, but when you finally do get clear skies and see the bands or grs on Jupiter, the cassini division on Saturn or your first dso it makes it all worth it and you forget about the cloudy skies beforegand, clear skies 

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Even more frustrating is when you have more than one or two 'scopes at your disposal. I myself have three and have to make a decision which one or two am I going to use that night. Then decide AYO or Giro mount... or do just I stick with one 'scope, camera tripod and small alt-az mount and be done with it!

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3 minutes ago, Philip R said:

Even more frustrating is when you have more than one or two 'scopes at your disposal. I myself have three and have to make a decision which one or two am I going to use that night. Then decide AYO or Giro mount... or do just I stick with one 'scope, camera tripod and small alt-az mount and be done with it!

Yes I know what you mean Philip, I have two scopes but only one mount and often wonder which to have on, have had the skymax 127 on mostly so far but will put my 150p back on after the moon has moved away 

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In the original post I noticed a part sentence about mainland Europe with open skies or some such xxxxxxx.

Yes our weather is much better, but clear for Astro? Sooooo many nights where horse tails and high thin cloud ruin it all, admittedly in shorts with a glass of cold Vin Blanc.

I have had problems at ep due to the heat, dehydration instantly cured by more Vin Blanc.

Joking aside (and the odd night has Vin Blanc) I have been without a starry night for three months in my Astro diary. So being located in the UK does not give you complete blagging rights.

Marvin

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As long as there is something to focus your attention to, we had Neowise, there is going to be Mars, Cygnus is still up, then there is going to be Orion. There is little option but to be tolerant, it does get to you, I think that this forum ought consider a name change; Stargazers Asylum.  

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I have had 2 weeks holiday on a darkish sky and only got telescope  out for 25 mins due to clouds . We need another lock down for nice weather and not able to get out 🤬

Edited by Neil H
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I find a decent pair of 15x70-ish binoculars (ideally a pair that accepts filters) are great for rushing outside for a quick observation in between clouds if the forecast fails to inspire enough confidence to set everything up. This usually tides me over until a decent night comes along. The days are getting shorter in a hurry as well. I have decent astro darkness here in NE Scotland now from 22:30 to 3:30 now. Last night was my first bit of observing since early May (I missed Neowise!)

Edited by Ships and Stars
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I read about the 1999 total eclipse when I was about 10 years old. 29 years of waiting and it was clouded out in Cornwall on the day !

Yes, it's a frustrating place to practice astronomy.

Having a setup that is quick to deploy and tear down is helpful to getting more observing in when the conditions do allow it. My setups all now follow this approach - even the 12 inch dob.

 

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Just come back from a 4 night stay in Snowdonia. Picked a perfect lodge cabin, miles away from anything. High up position looking across to Snowdon. Bortle 2 skies. 

Packed my scope, mount, dslr plus the bins. Very excited. 

My excitement was met unforgivingly by 4 nights of 100% cloud cover, with some thunder, lightening and 55mph winds added to the mix for good measure. Not one star did I see! 

Last year I spent a few nights on a ranch in Wyoming in Bortle 2 skies. It was amazing. I then camped in Yellowstone where I was so captivated by the sky that I took a 2am stroll down to a riverbank in Bortle 1 skies - was so taken aback by the sights unknown to many of us in the UK until I was brought back to the real world with a thud when remembering I was standing alone in the middle of pitch black woods in bear country! 

The things you do for a Bortle 1 sky on a cloudless and moonless night! 

Edited by dd999
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I intentionally don’t keep records of exactly how many nights I manage to get the scopes out each year (I might find it a little depressing to know the actual number!), but I can certainly empathise with those long durations when it feels like they aren’t getting anywhere near enough use. I also find it rather amusing that so many clear nights seem to coincide with a full moon! 

Over the years I’ve also come to terms with accepting that it’s absolutely fine to have clear skies outside, but then not get the telescope out. I might sit under the stars for a while or may just give it a miss. With all this said, I am sorry to hear of your woes with cloud cover (which we do appear to be cursed with for much of the year in the UK), particularly after the long wait for your new telescope.

As much as certain states in the USA have some exceptionally stable skies, I am also under the impression that some of these same areas also really suffer from significant amounts of dust - bringing a whole different set of challenges! I have tried observing from dark sites in Ontario, Canada and discovered (to my cost) that it was almost impossible due to the sheer amount of mosquitos!

I guess we can’t have it all,  but I’ll take those joyful moments of clear and stable skies that, most conveniently also don’t coincide with a full moon, family commitments or an early start for work the next day 😀. There’s one thing for sure in this hobby (definitely not the weather) - at least the stars aren’t going anywhere.
 

 

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It's not just here.

We spent a month touring western Australia in 2018. Lovely weather generally but we only got 2 clear nights to explore the southern skies.

 

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5 minutes ago, dd999 said:

Just come back from a 4 night stay in Snowdonia. Picked a perfect lodge cabin, miles away from anything. High up position looking across to Snowdon. Bortle 2 skies. 

Packed my scope, mount, dslr plus the bins. Very excited. 

My excitement was met unforgivingly by 4 nights of 100% cloud cover, with some thunder, lightening and 55mph winds added to the mix for good measure. Not one star did I see! 

Last year I spent a few nights on a ranch in Wyoming in Bortle 2 skies. It was amazing. I then camped in Yellowstone where I was so captivated by the sky that I took a 2am stroll down to a riverbank in Bortle 1 skies - was so taken aback by the sights unknown to many of us in the UK until I was brought back to the real world with a thud when remembering I was standing alone in the middle of pitch black woods in bear country! 

The things you do for a Bortle 1 sky on a cloudless and moonless night! 

Unfortunately, the NW corner of Wales is one of the wettest places in the UK - the Rhinogs are where it's worst I believe.   

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Well, it got the better of me tonight.

A branch of my pear tree  which has obviously prospered in the heat and rain of the last month decided to place itself right in the way of Jupiter. 

Sky was clear but the planet was just oscillating in brightness as the branch lolled playfully in my line of sight.  To make it worse, Jupiter's maximum altitude was due to occur in about 20 mins.....

I reckon there was still and hour of hassle left with the foliage....

Decision made, loppers out...... branch off !!!

I need to explain what happened to the garden manager tomorrow.......  must have been a gust...

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24 minutes ago, Craney said:

Decision made, loppers out...... branch off !!!

I need to explain what happened to the garden manager tomorrow.......  must have been a gust...



Great that you kept it a secret 😁

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Thinking positive. If we had clear nights every night, I think, one would soon get blasé about the night sky. The slim chance of a clear slot between the clouds gives us the exciting impetus to stargaze. :)

Also, take these cloudy nights as nights of rest....you will need them for when the sky does clear soon ;) 

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On 29/08/2020 at 19:41, Marvin Jenkins said:

In the original post I noticed a part sentence about mainland Europe with open skies or some such xxxxxxx.

Yes our weather is much better, but clear for Astro? Sooooo many nights where horse tails and high thin cloud ruin it all, admittedly in shorts with a glass of cold Vin Blanc.

I have had problems at ep due to the heat, dehydration instantly cured by more Vin Blanc.

Joking aside (and the odd night has Vin Blanc) I have been without a starry night for three months in my Astro diary. So being located in the UK does not give you complete blagging rights.

Marvin

Hi Marvin , the problem is as Britain is an island we suffer more . And we can’t even quell our disappointment by sitting in the garden with a glass or two of white wine as it’s probably going to be the coldest August bank holiday on record today ! Europe being a large land mass has a better chance of clear skies .. lol of course you are quite welcome to swap with me lol ... now , where’s my bottle opener 😂

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