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Is Anyone Actually Getting Any Viewing Done?


bigglesdad
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i really cant remember last time i got to use a scope, a few days back it was clear for first time in weeks and i had to go out, now we have snow

Same here.. obviously :glasses1: The short spells we've had haven't come an a good time for me either. I don't let it bother me though because at the end of the day, the stars and my scopes ain't going anywhere. I still haven't seen Saturn though :)

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Same here.. obviously :glasses1: The short spells we've had haven't come an a good time for me either. I don't let it bother me though because at the end of the day, the stars and my scopes ain't going anywhere. I still haven't seen Saturn though :)

you will get to see saturn, will arrange a meet up on a night of good seeing:cool:

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Looking at the 5 day weather forecast for my area, it's not looking good. Got some spare time because its half term and might not get a chance to use my scope.

Astronomy can be a cruel hobby, especially for us in the UK at the moment :glasses1:

If you mean the 5 day forecast on the BBC website, don't worry.

I've been tracking it for nearly a year and so far as forecasting the weather in 4 days time (since they count "today" as one of the 5), it's actually less accurate than a random guess.

In my location, the last time the 5 day forecast was right was November 8.

Edited by pete_l
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Supposed to be really foggy here, but I'm at work and I'm on an industrial site so loads of light. The only thing I would be able to see is either the moon or Sirus. Saying that the only clear nights here have either been when I was at work or when I was with my girlfriend on our anniversary. I'm sure that would of gone down well...

No sightings in South Essex

Dazz

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Well, the forecast here was for a foggy night. I've been out cutting logs most of the day and built a bonfire to get rid of the brash, so I came in and had a shower to get rid of the smoke and decided I might as well spend the rest of the evening in my dressing gown.

We've just put the kids to bed and I stepped out of the back door to put some stuff in the dustbin to find clear skies. Out the front it's the same again. I'm going to have to get dressed again after dinner...

James

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For me it is usually clear only near full moon, then cloudy when the moon is out of the way. But this month it seems even the full moon is clouded out, which for a change I really don't mind.

I really feel that each year passes by, there are fewer and fewer clear nights available. I have good memories of the '70s seeing the milky way at night, in a way that it seemed normal, (and that is not even mentioning light pollution) , and ever since I had my first scope each subsequent year has given fewer and fewer clear nights. Hopefully it's just my imagination.

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Sam since I took this hobby up again 3 years ago everyone has told me on each successive year that its 'unusually bad weather' that leeds me to conclude that the last three years have been unusual or, more likely, people have rose tinted glasses on because I remember it being about the same for every major astronomical event that has occurred in my lifetime.

Even when I had no scope over the past 30 years I have owned binos and taken an interest in the bigger events. in all that times I have seen the Perseids a grand total of twice.

Halleys Comet, cloudy

Hale Bopp, cloudy

Solar eclipse, cloudy

Grand conjunction, cloudy

In fact if you look up in an almanac every single noteworthy event I have perhaps at most seen two or three.

Interestingly though I started to wonder if years ago the sky was better when I lived in Portsmouth and I think it is, depite Portsmouth being a city my sister has less light pollution than me. Her skies to the South are usally quite good and you can see plenty of stars naked eye. Where I live its a struggle to see a few major stars and the odd planet. It has to be pretty bright to burn through the LP round here.

Its all part of the reason I have pretty much lost interest in the whole hobby of late.

Its all very well saying grab the moembt the sky is clear but if thes 6 monnths between each chance to observe thes not enough to keep me interested, I need a constant challenge. Up till now I have sustained the interest through getting me head around various topics and writing guides which I hope make it simple for others but I am running out of stuff to do and the few things tgat remain I cant really be bothered to work on. Its insane to keep upgrading scopes that never get used.

If theres no change in the weather this year I am packing this up. In fact if it was solely my choice I'd sell up now but other half has persuaded me to stick it out for one more year. We have an agreement that if I dont get at least 12 nights observing in then there will be no arguments about selling the kit off.

This year I am keeping a weather log and I have ro say so far its been dire. Only one night was usable since January 1.

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I have to say: i've been sat here for the last three or four days hoping that the clouds would clear. Alas they have not, and i've yet to see a night of good seeing in almost a week without the clouds blowing the sky out.

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I think we are going through a period where the weather is pretty poor at the moment, and possibly have been for a period of several years. It might be entirely normal in the larger scheme of things or it might be an effect of climate change, I really don't know, but I definitely do feel that the weather has become more unpredictable and unsettled.

I don't think the longer-term statistics give a good picture, either. A while back I was complaining about the poor weather and someone claimed that actually statistically it had been unseasonably warm, but that misses the point. Yes, perhaps it had been warmer than might be expected. But it had also rained every single day for something like two months. Not torrentially, perhaps, but enough to ensure that most of the day had significant cloud cover (which perhaps helped keep things warmer) and to turn the entire place into a mud bath.

In 2009 it rained or was otherwise too unpleasant to be outside almost every single day of the school summer holidays here. These things did not happen in my childhood and early 20s.

When we moved to this house seven years ago, and when i lived in the area before I left home, there were regular thunderstorms during the spring, every year. We've had trees set on fire by lightning strikes and one year a telegraph pole was hit and knocked over. Lightning strikes on the phone lines taking out phones and or modems was a regular occurrence. I used to go out in the field and watch electrical storms when it wasn't raining. I know my parents used to watch them, too, though more than likely from the safety of their house. We've not had a single thunderstorm worth talking about in three years. I'm something of a night person and the last thing I used to do before going to bed in the summer was to pour a drink and sit on the patio watching the stars. When we moved here I used to do it probably three or four times a week. I've hardly had the opportunity for the last few years.

From my experience I'm certain our weather is changing, and not in a positive way. Perhaps it will return to "normal" in time. If it doesn't I might have to emigrate :glasses1:

James

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I do sometimes wonder if taking up astronomy in the UK is something like taking up skiing in Jamaica, and yet I get the impression that the UK has an unusually large number of amateur astronomers, perhaps it is an eccentricity. We are one of the most urbanised countries in the world, and we are trapped between the Atlantic and the North Sea, for most of us light pollution and clouds are the norm.

I think a lot depends on your expectations, if you just want the occasional look when the opportunity is there then it is reasonable to invest in some modest but well made equipment and enjoy the clear nights when they occur. Whenever I start looking at big telescopes, checking star charts for faint objects, when the possible spending begins to climb, I only have to look out of the door and my ambitions are dampened by the weather.

I do enjoy my binoculars and now my telescope, astronomy for me is a diversion, it takes me out of myself to somewhere very big, that is its place.

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On the Met Office website, you can find a ton of historical weather stats Met Office: Historic station data

I selected the data for my nearest location (Oxford) and put them through a spreadsheet. Out popped a couple of graphs, one for the numbe rof sunshine hours per year and the other for the amount of rainfall.

Here's the sunshine plot - at least it would be here, if the forums "picture link" button worked, so here's the URL

http://img813.imageshack.us/i/oxfordsunshine.gif/

oxfordsunshine.gif

and here's the rainfall URL

oxfordrailfall.gifoxfordrailfall.gifoxfordrailfall.gifhttp://img15.imageshack.us/i/oxfordrailfall.gif/

As you can see, there's considerable variation in both sets of

statistics, with the sunshine going from just over 1,200 hours

per year in 1981 to 1,880 hours in 1995

Edited by pete_l
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I do enjoy my binoculars and now my telescope, astronomy for me is a diversion, it takes me out of myself to somewhere very big, that is its place.

Well said and I agree with you. At the end of the day it is a hobby for alot of us and a chance to escape life for a brief while. But it is also understandably frustrating when people (i include myself) pour money into this hobby to buy a telescope to enjoy the night sky more, only to be faced with cloud at the times we are free. We are at the mercy of mother nature and there's nothing we can do about it. It's just sod's law.

But we got to remember that when we do get those moment where we see that breathtaking view of a galaxy, nebula or planet that it was worth waiting for. :glasses1:

Stargazing can be a cruel hobby but so rewarding too.

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