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At what point do you just... give up?


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2 hours ago, Ouroboros said:

Is there any correlation between clear skies and the period around new moon? It’s probably my imagination but I sometimes have the impression that it is more likely to be cloudy when the Moon is out of the way and it’s best for imaging. 

That would imply the same correlation across the world at new moon and that is manifestly not the case.  It is the geographical location of North West Europe that is especially prone to cloudy skies.

Also, even when at full moon, it is bright enough to burn through the high haze that would otherwise obscure all but the brightest of stars.  That erroneously makes you think that it would otherwise be an ideal imaging night if that blasted moon wasn't there.  But the Moon has nothing to do with it and it would be rubbish even if the moon wasn't there.

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UK winters (and the UK in general) are notoriously cloudy and yet newcomers seem to have an emotional vision of them being crisp, freezing-cold with sparking stars in the sky with them being dressed i

I consider giving up as regularly as I consider giving up smoking. A typical recent night was forecast ( three different forecasts agreed) as clear with great seeing, transparency, no dew and  wa

Just thought I'd pop up again and say I didn't give up.  

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Reading through the posts, I share your pain.  We ... ( as a  hobbyist community )....   do have a lot of factors against us and we do our best to persevere.

One of the problems is that  the key knowledge that you accumulate when you have a few sessions in close proximity, makes further sessions much more productive and rewarding.

There must be a law somewhere that states that if you do not touch equipment for a period of time it will inevitably fail in multiple aspects the next time you pick it up and try to use it......

(astronomical entropy ??).....

2 weeks ago..... rig works fine  (more or less).  Work and life intervene.

Last night....... usb connector falls off EFW.    Dew heater has a frayed cable.    Power supply now seems to have rattle.    Hitec Power box does not talk to the computer.

Computer does not recognise  Lodestar guide cam.   Metallic dewshield falls off ( I'm pretty sure it was on tight )  breaks a plastic bolt and dents the metal......

....by which time  it has partially clouded over...

Yep....  it tests one ability to stay mellow.....

 

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There's been some really great replies already that definitely echo my own thoughts and frustrations with the UK weather.  I last remember 4 nights in April and around the same in September where I could gather various data sets (some still incomplete from September).  Alongside the imaging frustration I've enjoyed the continual visual aspect on those mixed nights where you can cloud dodge without it impacting you too much.

As also mentioned above, acquiring data from remotely rented equipment does nothing for me.  Part of the enjoyment of an image - however lacklustre - comes from knowing how challenging it was to acquire those photons from my own equipment, in my mediocre, British back garden.  If I could afford to host my own equipment remotely, that would be interesting though...

Without mixing in the visual aspect, I think it would be more frustrating.  I find these complement each other as I look at similar targets or areas of the sky with totally different eyes coming from the screen to the eye piece or vice versa.

Hang in there, one or two clear nights with hours of capture and it'll be forgotten.... for a few days😁

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When we do get longer spells in the UK a lot of people complain they need sleep 😆

I used to be like that but now leave the scheduler to do operate the gear while I'm tucked up in bed.

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I agree with the comments about equipment 'failing' even when it's not being used. What I tend to find more is that I'm so out of practice, I can't remember what to do next! I'm now a dab-hand at putting the rig together and taking it apart again. It's the bits in between that disappear without practice.

I got a dinky little T7C (ASI120MC clone) so that I could do some planetary work as well as use it for guiding, in the belief that you can get the shots you need very quickly and take advantage of gaps in the cloud. Which is partly true because I got a nice shot of Mars the other night - then, last night, watched as Jupiter, then the Moon, then Saturn all faded behind the clouds just as they were emerging from behind the tree! Thwarted, again.

I started out on this lark thinking I would purely want to do visual. However, I quickly found myself wanting to go the photography route, mainly because there's so much more out there among the DSOs, and I like the idea of 'seeing' what is 'hidden', plus you can share your work with people. Still, I guess running out and quickly chucking in an eyepiece wouldn't do any harm. 

Edited by BrendanC
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Here's a thing: on Clear Outside, I swear that it never shows clear blocks of time the closer you get to that time. For example, at about noon today, it showed three hours tonight, but I just checked and they've gone. It's always that way around - promising something and then revoking it as the time approaches - never the 'right' way around. Grrrrrrr!

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1 minute ago, BrendanC said:

Here's a thing: on Clear Outside, I swear that it never shows clear blocks of time the closer you get to that time. For example, at about noon today, it showed three hours tonight, but I just checked and they've gone. It's always that way around - promising something and then revoking it as the time approaches - never the 'right' way around. Grrrrrrr!

This is due to a lot of forecast data being in 3 or 6 hour block of granularity until we get closer to the time, and the MET office runs another model simulation, which is more granular for the first few hours, and then beyond that moves to 3 hour or 6 hour windows.

Couple this with the fact that CO will only update for your location at best once an hour, you shouldn't be using it as a real-time weather monitor.

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2 hours ago, TerryMcK said:

When we do get longer spells in the UK a lot of people complain they need sleep 😆

I used to be like that but now leave the scheduler to do operate the gear while I'm tucked up in bed.

Yep, it's because clear skies are so few and far between that we have to desperately make the most of them when they do come along.  In other countries with more clear skies it doesn't matter so much if you miss one, there'll be another tomorrow night probably.  So yes, we are indeed knackered after a three night clear run, not that we get many of those.

It takes a brave person to leave the rig going at night whilst in bed in this country.  I never sleep easily when doing so.

Edited by kirkster501
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1 hour ago, gilesco said:

This is due to a lot of forecast data being in 3 or 6 hour block of granularity until we get closer to the time, and the MET office runs another model simulation, which is more granular for the first few hours, and then beyond that moves to 3 hour or 6 hour windows.

Couple this with the fact that CO will only update for your location at best once an hour, you shouldn't be using it as a real-time weather monitor.

If it were just about granularity, then how come it always gets worse, not better?

(PS I wasn't being entirely serious about Cloudy Nights!)

Edited by BrendanC
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2 hours ago, BrendanC said:

......Thwarted, again.

That's the exact, perfect, definitive phrase  to sum it  all up.

We need to get  a SGL Tee-shirt designed around it..... 

 

Edited by Craney
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2 hours ago, BrendanC said:

If it were just about granularity, then how come it always gets worse, not better?

(PS I wasn't being entirely serious about Cloudy Nights!)

I know, but I remember at least one time in the last few months, where the weather was not forecast to be good until the last minute, and then I found myself complaing that I was setting up in the dark... I guess I just find something to grump about - whatever happens!!

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Hi,

I totally sympathise. In my corner of West Wales UK, the clouds just keep rolling over. Have not managed any deep sky imaging since about early July I think. I was thinking the other day what a waste of money renting APP is, Reason: because I hardly get the chance to use it !

Thankfully I enjoy planetary and lunar imaging. Imaging Mars has been keeping me going lately. However the wind and clouds make planetary imaging difficult as well. Also the moon is very low in the sky at the moment, lower than Jupiter, which doesn’t make good for lunar imaging either.

Anyway, No more moaning, keep calm and carry on imaging ! Lol

Steve

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6 hours ago, kirkster501 said:

Yep, it's because clear skies are so few and far between that we have to desperately make the most of them when they do come along.  In other countries with more clear skies it doesn't matter so much if you miss one, there'll be another tomorrow night probably.  So yes, we are indeed knackered after a three night clear run, not that we get many of those.

It takes a brave person to leave the rig going at night whilst in bed in this country.  I never sleep easily when doing so.

I must admit I never had confidence with SGPro regarding unattended automation. However, I have recently moved over to Voyager and now wouldn't hesitate in unattended imaging sessions. Don't get me wrong, writing a full dragscript code and incorporating full emergency procedures can be daunting to start with. Although, there are lots of examples to use in the Voyager forum.

Steve

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11 minutes ago, sloz1664 said:

I must admit I never had confidence with SGPro regarding unattended automation. However, I have recently moved over to Voyager and now wouldn't hesitate in unattended imaging sessions. Don't get me wrong, writing a full dragscript code and incorporating full emergency procedures can be daunting to start with. Although, there are lots of examples to use in the Voyager forum.

Steve

Hi Steve,

Can your set up resume a session after being clouded out or rained out? I guess that’s what is ideally needed to deal with UK conditions, but that is some set up if it is capable of doing so. My set up is capable of shutting down safely but needs considerable human intervention to restart.

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2 minutes ago, tomato said:

Hi Steve,

Can your set up resume a session after being clouded out or rained out? I guess that’s what is ideally needed to deal with UK conditions, but that is some set up if it is capable of doing so. My set up is capable of shutting down safely but needs considerable human intervention to restart.

Yes you can and that is the real beauty of Voyager. You set up the attributes in a script file which is called "dragscript"

Here is my emergency script:-

Events
86  -         Emergency Suspend: Wait Resume until absolute time : 08:00:00 [hh:mm:ss] - On Resume Timeout End DragScript
87  -             Remark: ==========================================================
88  -             Remark: ---- Control comes here if an Emergency Suspend event occurs
89  -             Remark: ---- Park the mount and close the shutter or roof
90  -             Remark: ---- Wait until 8AM for an Emergency Resume - Do Emergency Exit if no Resume happens
91  -             Parking
92  -                 IF ERROR
93  -                     Send Email using Voyager Account: xxxx@gmail.com - Emergency Suspend Parking Failed - Parking the scope failed in an Emergency ...
94  -                 IF TIMEOUT
95  -                     Send Email using Voyager Account: xxxx@mail.com - Emergency Suspend Parking Failed - Parking the scope failed in an Emergency ...
96  -             Close Shutter
97  -                 IF ERROR
98  -                     Send Email using Voyager Account: xxxx@gmail.com - Emergency Suspend failed -  CLOSING the Shutter failed- In and Emer ...
99  -                 IF TIMEOUT
100 -                     Send Email using Voyager Account: xxxx@gmail.com - Emergency Suspend failed -  CLOSING the Shutter failed- In and Emer ...
101 -         Emergency Resume
102 -             Remark: ==========================================================
103 -             Remark: ---- Control comes here if an Emergency Resume event occurs
104 -             Remark: ---- Start tracking and then control resumes from where the Suspend happened
105 -             Start Tracking
106 -                 IF ERROR
107 -                     Send Email using Voyager Account: xxxx@gmail.com - Emergency Resume failed - Start Tracking failed during an Emergenc ...
108 -                 IF TIMEOUT
109 -                     Send Email using Voyager Account: xxxx@gmail.com - Emergency Resume failed - Start Tracking failed during an Emergenc ...
110 -         Emergency Exit
111 -             Send Email using Voyager Account: xxxx@gmail.com - Emergency Exit failed - GoodNight Actions failed during an Emerg ...
112 -             Remark: ==========================================================
113 -             Remark: ---- Control comes here if an Emergency Exit event occurs
114 -             Remark: ---Run the Good Night action and disconnect everything
115 -             Close Shutter
116 -                 IF ERROR
117 -                     Send Email using Voyager Account: xxxx@gmail.com - Emergency Exitfailed -  CLOSING the Shutter failed- In and Emer ...
118 -                 IF TIMEOUT
119 -                     Send Email using Voyager Account: xxxx@gmail.com - Emergency Exitfailed -  CLOSING the Shutter failed- In and Emer ...
120 -             Good Night: Sync Warmup - Park - No CCD Filter Select
121 -                 IF ERROR
122 -                     Send Email using Voyager Account: xxxx@gmail.com - Emergency Exit failed - GoodNight Actions failed during an Emerg ...
123 -                 IF TIMEOUT
124 -                     Send Email using Voyager Account: xxxx@gmail.com - Emergency Exit failed - GoodNight Actions failed during an Emerg ...
125 -             Dome Park
126 -                 IF ERROR
127 -                     Send Email using Voyager Account: xxxx@gmail.com - Emergency Exit failed - The Dome Paking action failed in an Emer ...
128 -                 IF TIMEOUT
129 -                     Send Email using Voyager Account: xxxx@gmail.com - Emergency Exit failed - The Dome Paking action failed in an Emer ...
130 -             Disconnect Setup
131 -             Wait Time: 00:00:05 [hh:mm:ss] Interval
132 -             Relay Off: 5 - ClientID 1
133 -             Wait Time: 00:00:05 [hh:mm:ss] Interval
134 -             Relay Off: 4 - ClientID 1
135 -             Wait Time: 00:00:05 [hh:mm:ss] Interval
136 -             Relay Off: 2 - ClientID 1
137 -             Wait Time: 00:00:05 [hh:mm:ss] Interval
138 -             Relay Off: 1 - ClientID 1
139 -             Viking Client Disconnect: ClientID 1
140 -             External Script: C:\Temp\Energenie_OFF.bat 
 

 

Steve

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On 22/10/2020 at 23:47, pete_l said:

Many people consider this part of Andalucia to be a desert, now. In general we get something over 200 clear days a year, 230-250 being the norm. (Although the last few days have been cloudy, it even rained today!)
Though when you factor in the Moonlit nights, the number of observing opportunities drops considerably. (cue cries of sympathy .... )

When I lived in the S.E. UK I used to average about 17 observing sessions a year. Due to weather, work, family and social events. I expect that skiers in Abu Dhabi have it even worse than astronomers in the UK :)

 

Nice place for sure. That's were they shot some of the "Spaghetti Westerns" if I remember correctly? My wife and I have planned a Bortle 1 "astro" week next year. That will ensure a few days of great seeings! 👌 Happy seeing!

Edited by Mai Ai Bing
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On 23/10/2020 at 09:34, kirkster501 said:

Such few opportunities mean that when one does pop up, it can often be spent sorting out gremlins and issues.  I had that in the September night you mentioned where my mount would not track (PC issue it turned out).  This is why it is so very important to use these less optimal nights to do dummy runs, even though you may not keep the subs.  Without an observatory, it is difficult to motivate yourself to do that.

I count myself lucky to have an observatory, which is in Castricum, the Netherlands. I built it in first quarter of 2018 and started imaging in May that year with first results in June. Despite being not in the best of places I do manage, after a slow start in 2018, one imaging session per week on average as can be seen in below graph.

InFINNity-Deck_imaging_periods_2018-2019.thumb.png.fce44a6ae74d5ba4c33fccff41c26d37.png

The imaging sessions include planetary and deep-sky. In addition I did some 19 sessions on our own star in this period, but those are not included in the graph. Clearly January and February have not been very rewarding so far and the same accounts for the last two months of the year. Best seasons so far have been April-May and July-September. Yes, the long winter months can be frustrating at times, but it is a good season to do maintenance. The rest of the year the observatory keeps me quite busy... 🙂

Nicolàs

 

 

Edited by inFINNity Deck
replaced graph with better one
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