Jump to content

NLCbanner2024.jpg.2478be509670e60c2d6efd04834b8b47.jpg

Do you get much observing done during the summer?


Recommended Posts

I was listening to the Actual Astronomy podcast this week and was really impressed to hear that Chris and Shane still go out observing in the summer, despite the short nights and lack of real darkness at higher latitudes. I usually just give up on astronomy in June and July. I know lots of people like solar observing but do many people still get out observing at night during the summer?  Maybe I should rethink it since I’ve a beautiful new Mewlon sitting doing nothing!

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sure, it's not ideal but you can still get some viewing in, even if you can't hold out deep enough into the night for true darkness. Just can't see the dimmer things. Works best with no-fuss grab-and-go type setups if you can't stay up for too long, so you waste as little of that precious time as possible.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do most of the yearly observing in the doll drums of Summer ⛱️ for two simple reasons:1) Living next to the sea makes spring & autumn very patchy and due to the Black Sea being an inside sea , the winter is continental - either snowy and overcast or brutality cold and overcast 🌧️🥶 2) According to the law , we have to take a rather large  number of vacation days ( more than 10 days) uninterrupted and I do prefer having that in Summer 🌞 Also, that is the good season to go around, including in the mountains, where the 1000+ altitude (2000+ if you are a tad sportsy) and lack of light pollution makes things much better.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will take any opportunity I can, regardless of true astronomical darkness being available or not.  From my not so desirable central London location, there is limited difference due to light pollution between nautical dark and astronomic dark.

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whenever I feel that the summer nights are a no-go, I remind myself that the first time I saw Polaris B - not too difficult a target I know - was June 21 in 2021.

There's always something out there when the clouds part!

Norris

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I observe whenever I can and warmer nights can be very enjoyable. I've been retired for quite a while now so the need to get up early the following morning is no longer a factor. So far this year it is the clouds and rain that have been the major obstacle rather than a lack of darkness.

Exploring the Veil Nebula, high overhead on a warm night between midnight and 2:00 am is always a treat 😀

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It should also be said that there are some things in the summer sky that simply cannot be seen in the winter sky because the Sun would be in the way!

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually really like observing in summer. Yes it stays light for longer but it’s a great time for doubles, globs and lunar viewing. I recently picked up some IS bins and Milky Way scanning has been a real treat, they’re a true cloud break instrument and I use them pretty much every night there are gaps.

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Summer sessions are great when it's warm as you don't need to wrap up like an overprotected parcel. The issue is true summer never really happens anymore, it's one or two weeks of heatwave then back to unsettled weather. This year has been an almost copy of 2023, unsettled, wind, cloud, rain after Feb until now, then it'll likely be warm end of July maybe for a fortnight then back to autumn like weather, mild but constant cloud.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Mr Spock said:

It's a great time for doubles! The summer constellations have so much to offer.

Variables also.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agree with everybody who has said "Doubles".

Truly fascinating to consider the stellar dynamics involved...

and also having a galactic phenomena that you can witness change within a few years...

and a photographic challenge as well   (especially multiple colours). Albireo always gets a 'wow' when I show it to first time observers.

(Hint!!... Doubles would make a good SGL photo challenge for the Summer months).

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone - glad I asked 😊

This is excellent, I will get off the couch and get out to have a look at some doubles, variables, globs and the Veil. I can even put some observing lists together while we wait for the clouds to clear….

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It might be because I’m in the south of the UK and that I in an urban area (Bortle 7) but I don’t know what all the fuss is about :) I probably do just as much, if not more, observational astronomy during the summer months. My daughter is also into astronomy and the night sky. During the summer holidays we’ve camped out in the garden (no tent), looked for shooting stars, looked through our telescope and generally enjoyed the warm nights, and summer night skies. 

Last weekend was, for me, the best night I’ve had this year. I know that the weather has been poor but we are half way through the year. And transparency was excellent, really good. I love globulars and on that night I had the best view I’ve ever had of M13. Literally dozens of twinkling stars without averted vision or any effort. And the first time I’ve seen M17 and M8 from my back garden. Again, not just a fuzzy patch of light. Eg I could easily make out the swan shape of M17 with a UHC filter. The Wild Duck cluster showed a  blizzard of stars (OK, a little faint but given my Bortle 7 impressive).  M57 & M27 were lovely. And into the twilight I was treated to a stunning view of Saturn with its rings almost edge on. What’s not to like? OK, I was lucky with the conditions but I almost didn’t bother. Now I wish that I’d started earlier as I ran out of time. 

If you get up early Saturn will be worth a look. The other planets coming soon. Obviously these are fine without it being really dark. 

We are also going on holiday towards the end of the summer to a place that has a very dark sky. I plan to take a small telescope. At the moment I’m putting this together, trying to make things as light and as simple as possible. Also getting to to how it all works in the hope that it will soon become second nature. Thus requires practice, ie time at the eyepiece at night. So lots to do!

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Mr Spock said:

The whole of Boötes / Hercules / Corona Borealis / Serpens / Draco are well placed at this time of year.

Ser / CrB doubles 

Keep an eye open for T CrB.  You never know, yo may be the first to see it with the naked eye since 1946.

Edited by Xilman
Fixed messed up cut&paste.
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Summer is my most anticipated observing season, between star parties, outreach, and simply staying out Galaxy hunting till morning is what summer is all about, for me. Interesting that some speak as though summer was not an ideal time, it is a wonderful time!.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like to use the summer holidays for long lazy days solar observing - good to see the sun even for no astronomy reason :)  I must admit I also enjoy observing the moon during the day whenever I can. I think it just makes such a contrast to be comfortable in the observatory and having fun rather than being in the dark, damp and cold of the winter routine.  I also enjoy the opportunity to tinker and  upgrade the observatory. during the summer months.

Jim

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely. Some of my favorite nights are when I set up right before dark and observe until dawn. I switch between using a telescope, scanning the Milky Way with binoculars, and just lying on a towel and looking up. It's even better if I don't have to go to work in the morning ☺️ But regardless, I'll do that whenever possible. Those are moments lived fully.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Elp said:

Summer sessions are great when it's warm as you don't need to wrap up like an overprotected parcel. The issue is true summer never really happens anymore, it's one or two weeks of heatwave then back to unsettled weather. This year has been an almost copy of 2023, unsettled, wind, cloud, rain after Feb until now, then it'll likely be warm end of July maybe for a fortnight then back to autumn like weather, mild but constant cloud.

Although it obviously depends on where in the country you are British summers have  always been variable. However, I completely agree that the climate is changing.

Last June we had a heatwave, with a max here of over 30C on 13th June. And 18 days in a row with temps in the high 20’s. Hardly any rain, plenty of clear skies. Granted it went downhill after that. Back in 2022 (not long ago), there was a drought with 8 months in a row inc summer with well below average rainfall. By this time the grass was yellow & brown. Many clear nights too. 

When I was younger I was into model aircraft, especially large thermal soarers. I have a dairy and looking back there we’re some terrible summers in the late 1970’s to early 1990’s. After that I was a paraglider and for a short time a sailplane pilot. Again, I have records of some awful weather during the summer when most of the activity took place. 

Back in early June 1975 it snowed and in southern England too. Some actually settling for a short time. Then, as everyone knows, we got the infamous summer of 1976. Although despite the “freaky” June the summer of 1975 wasn’t that bad. Weather is very variable and changes fast in the UK.

Edited by PeterStudz
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.