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People in Florida speak up

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#1 Dennis_S253

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 08:22 PM

How many nights a year do you get to view? This gets so disappointing. My local CSC earlier looked like it was going to be a wonderful night. 8:00 comes around and everything is soaked again. I'm having trouble seeing local street lights. I'm really having a hard time justifying wanting to spend money on a 8" when I can't get out to use the 4" I have. Two nights ago was the same thing. Last night I had a couple hours before it rolled in. So, thats my question. Appox. how many nights do you get to view in a year?

#2 rocketsteve

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 10:06 PM

The thing about Florida is that the weather changes so fast and you have to be kinda flexible with your time if you want to get out to view. When I lived in Florida, often times, when I've wanted to view, the weather turned bad and I'd have to change my plans. On the other hand, there were times when the weather ended-up being really nice and if there was something going on, I was usually able to make a deal with my wife, so that I could go to the dark site and sit underneath the stars all night. Last-minute flexibility is the key to viewing in Florida during the rainy season. Weather usually becomes more stable from December to March...

#3 Dennis_S253

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 11:05 PM

Yes Yes Cold weather. So 4 months - ???

#4 rookie

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 11:12 PM

Summer is harder to observe here in Florida due to the rain, heavy humidity, mosquitoes, and the no-see-ums. Sea breezes that begin in late May or early June from either the Atlantic or the Gulf, bring heavy rain and dangerous thunderclouds as they cross over land. The I4 corridor is the lightening capital of North America. We can have daily summer rains of 1-2 hours that can produce 1-2 inches an hour with continuous thunder. The sandy soil helps manage the volume by allowing the rain to percolate down into the aquafer.

We have had pretty clear skies since hurricaine Sandy skirted past the east coast. Are you having trouble with rain or dew?

I view in my backyard and have been out tonight with my CPC8. The dew became heavy after dark, and I keep a hair dryer ready to dry off the eyepieces and OTA. I plan to go out again in the middle of the night after the moon and Orion rise. Jupiter's Great Red spot rotated in to perfect view at around 10pm.

Winter is much better for viewing and improves dramatically about this time of year so your opportunites for viewing will become more favorable.

#5 Dennis_S253

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 11:31 PM

Wow, St Pete and your out viewing? Like said, I'm having troubles seeing the street lights. Went out a few minutes ago and could barely see Jup and the moon. I guess I'm gonna start a log. Don't see myself moving anytime soon unless I win the lotto.

#6 rocketsteve

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 11:58 PM

If you find yourself wanting to view on a given night, I'd check the Clear Sky Charts website and local weather websites as early as lunchtime, to see what kind of conditions you may expect. Having that knowledge earlier in the day should help you with your plans for that evening. Try not to get frustrated...

#7 tomcody

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:34 AM

That's what a grab and go scope is for, fast setup and takedown. I always got more use out of my 8"LX200 than my 12" LX200 as I was more willing to get the 8" out than the 12" when the weather was iffy. Now I just use a 4" refractor on an alt-az mount for two minute setups and leave most of the eyepieces etc nearby in the house where I can grab them quickly. Yes in the winter months long night viewing is more common but if you live here, you have to be flexable and work around the fast changing weather. :lol:
Rex
P.S. A Skyshed Pod is great in Florida, when the weather closes in, just close the dome and leave everything setup until seeing improves. :jump:

#8 BoriSpider

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 11:04 AM

Yeah, summer is harder than winter. I was lucky to get a look
at the summer milky way at our club's darksite this year. I think
it was harder to get out this summer compared to last couple of
summers.

#9 Jb32828

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 11:45 AM

Dew Heaters are a great investment in Florida. Last night was pretty bad though, it almost literally rained dew.

#10 rookie

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 04:31 PM

The dew was bad. I got up at 4am to fog, with water running off my house's roof and gutters like light rain.

#11 Dennis_S253

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 09:43 PM

Another wonderful night, two hours so far this month. It will get better, I hope....

#12 tomcody

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 09:21 AM

Another wonderful night, two hours so far this month. It will get better, I hope....

Yes it will but then remember the advice stated by other posters regarding a dew heater (or at least a dew shield for the scope and a warm place to keep the eyepeices).
P.S. This last twelve months were the worst for viewing I can remember in thirty years! :foreheadslap:
Rex

#13 FarrOut

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 07:22 PM

I schedule observing on the Saturday closest to the new moon and have for over 5 years.
Because I work a regular day job, that's all I've been able to do up until now.
I keep a log of the scheduled nights, rated roughly 1 thru 5,
1 being a rain out, and 5 being a night you can see M31 naked eye.
So far this year, there have been 6 1's (rained or clouded out), 2 2's and 2 4's.
That's not great. The average score for the year is 1.8. That's the lowest average for any year since I've been keeping my log.
Hopefully, this coming Saturday it will improve the average.

Oh, by the way, I retire in two weeks, then I can go out whenever the skies permit, and the wife lets me.

Dennis

#14 Ed D

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:42 PM

Weather in Florida is very unpredictable (yeah, I'm preaching to the choir here), which is probably one of the best reasons to have a large scope and a small scope and/or binoculars. An 8" Dob makes perfectly good sense to have. It's relatively handy and portable while having good aperture for serious observing in the suburbs as well as dark skies. No, it won't get used all the time, but that's why we have smaller scopes and/or binoculars that can be used on the spur of the moment, and more important, can be taken back inside FAST if it starts to pour. Maybe instead of an 8" Dob you may want to consider binoculars, if you don't already have them. It just doesn't get any more grab-n-go than that.

To answer your question, I observe just about every evening that it's not solid cloud cover or pouring, which is better than half the days in the year. The 6" Dob doesn't get used much at all during the rainy season, but the binoculars and small refractor pick up the slack for short spur of the moment sessions. Lately I have been leaving my small refractor set up in the house and take it out in the morning to observe Jupiter while having my coffee before getting ready for work.

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#15 csrlice12

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 08:13 AM

Wow, St Pete and your out viewing? Like said, I'm having troubles seeing the street lights. Went out a few minutes ago and could barely see Jup and the moon. I guess I'm gonna start a log. Don't see myself moving anytime soon unless I win the lotto.


and you can see Dennis' streetlight sketch collection in the light pollution forum.... :lol:

"Cursing at clouds today, so you don't have to tonight."

#16 Dennis_S253

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 08:47 AM

I got another hour and a half last night. Could have been a little more though. I got a new to me scope. I need to learn some stuff about it. Got to see Jupiter through it though for a while. Had my son and his girlfriend over and they was doing most of the looking. Clear skies...

#17 Tom Clark

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:52 PM

Well, we lived in FL for 40 years, and the last 30 we were into astronomy. From '98 to 2011 we lived at the Chiefland Astronomy Village. Now we live in New Mexico at a new astronomy village, and moved our 42" to a new observatory here. Imagine 300 clear nights a year, good seeing, fantastic transparency, and skies much darker. Need I say more?

#18 Dennis_S253

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 11:23 PM

Hey Tom, I've been watching your move. 300 clear nights, wow. Sounds like a good plan.... Clear skies






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