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C-c-c-c-cold!

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#1 Eric63

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 11:35 PM

So tonight was the first (somewhat) clear nigh in such a long time that I decided to take my little F5 achro out to and see if my contrast booster would help with the purple halo on Jupiter. Not a good idea! It was -10 Fahrenheit! I allowed the scope to cool for 30 minutes but I guess the cold made the filter fall off the EP and onto my 2 inch diagonal. I fished it out and put it on another EP (It did not help by the way, but cutting the aperture down did). Anyway, after a while the cheap grease on my focuser froze and I could barely move it! My red dot finder also froze over as I looked for other targets. I could not take the cold fingers anymore and decided to take everything inside. Bad move, I should have brought the cases outside, pack everything and the store it all in the garage. My scope and accessories were frozen and once inside everything was dripping wet as it thawed. I had to take a hair dryer to it all because there was way too much water and it was dripping down the Achro lens! After drying everything I checked the diagonal and noticed a few minor scratches on the miror from the filter….Argh. When I observed at 30 or so degrees I have no issues, but no more at -10! :foreheadslap:

Eric

#2 WaterMaster

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:16 AM

Tough news about your diagonal. It's cold here too (-7ºF right now). I typically draw the line at 15º F as my 'lower limit'.

I wouldn't worry too much about some small scratches. If they are going to be a problem you would have noticed it right away (although you might start noticing them eventually).

#3 Tony Flanders

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 05:14 AM

It's perfectly possible to observe at -10F, but it does require extra work.

Crayford focusers are unaffected by cold, but rack-and-pinions do have a tendency to set up. If you plan to use your refractors in cold weather, disassemble the rack and pinion, clean out the nasty Chinese goop, and repack with lithium grease.

I can't imagine that the filter literally fell off from cold. I bet it wasn't screwed in properly in the first place -- probably because your fingers were numb.

Yes, of course you shouldn't bring cold stuff indoors unsealed. Not at 30F, either. But I doubt that any real harm was done.

#4 newtoskies

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:43 AM

Ouch to hear,and buuuurrrrrr that's cold.

#5 Eric63

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 08:53 AM

Thank you Gentlemen. I think I too will draw the line at about -5C (23F). It’s just not comfortable for visual observing when it’s too cold. I’m just glad I did not take my new Mak outside. Last time, I went out for an extended session at -5C and I packed everything outside at the end of the evening, and then brought it in all inside. The outside of the scope and eyepieces were a bit damp, but the lenses were all perfect when I took a quick look after an hour.

Tony, I was thinking of re-greasing the focuser but I was afraid to screwing up the collimation. I re-greased my AZ3 and AZ4 with Lithium last fall and it made a huge difference. Anyway I am thinking of selling the achro anyway since the 150Newt has now become my wide field scope. I just wanted a quick look last night and not worry too much about cool down. Next time I will stick to Binoculars when it’s that cold.

As for the diagonal, they are not deep scratches and I don’t think that I will really notice anything. They almost look like 3 small scuffs, but I could not remove them with Alcohol. Now I know why they say to buy an expensive dielectric; the cheaper ones can scratch easily. As a Newbie I expect a bit of damage and know that I will need to replace some stuff down the road. I guess this is another reason beginners should not buy expensive accessories right away! I already damaged a cheap EP by over cleaning it. I know better now.

Eric

#6 newtoskies

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:05 AM

The learning curve of all hobbies. We learn from mistakes...we hope..lol
I might brave the cold late tonight/am if it's clear. Had planned a first light with the new XLT102 but it might be just a short session with only one ep.

#7 csrlice12

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:18 AM

In the military, I was stationed at Thule, Greenland (think spit and hit the North Pole). When the Temps hit above 0*F, we'd be running around in short sleeved shirts. Our SUMMER high was 40*. In the year I was up there, I saw one (1) fly--and it was probably imported. But I did learn one thing: The cold is a harsh mistress; she does not suffer fools gracefully. -15, that was morning frost...-40, more the average in winter. But in winter, when it stayed dark, with NO light pollution, the sky was just indescribeable. During our daylight season (yes, Virginia, way up North we have TWO seasons, Light and Dark!) Seeing the glacers and climbing on the iceburgs when the ocean is frozen over is what we did when the seasons changed(Y'all ain't had NO drink till you've had one chilled with a chunk of multimillion year old ice from an iceburg to chill it, one chunk lasts all night). It really was out of National Geographic. Yes, I've seen a part of the real natural world that many will never see for themselves, but I was really glad to get back home.......

#8 Tony Flanders

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:19 AM

Thank you Gentlemen. I think I too will draw the line at about -5C (23F). It’s just not comfortable for visual observing when it’s too cold.


Yikes! In your part of the world, that's going to rule out a big chunk of the year -- and the time of the year with the best small-scope targets, too. It's true that -10F causes real problems for hands. But properly dressed you should have no trouble at +10F unless it's windy.

#9 uniondrone

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:30 AM


Last night I decided not to take advantage of a clear night because of the cold. Well, it was windy and cold and the wind was the deciding factor. Also, I got in two really good observing sessions in the last 10 days, so I was feeling a little bit less in need of being out under the stars.

#10 stargazer424

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:39 AM

-10°F ??? This weekend is going to be the first clear nights in a while, and I'm debating NOT going out b/c its going to be below 30°F! I don't have much of tolerance for cold...

I can't wait for SPRING!!!! Fishing, stargazing, camping...bring on the warm weather!!! :grin:

EDIT: Also bringing my dog to the dog park :)

#11 NeilMac

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:40 AM

Wind definitely is worse then the cold. last night the trees were bending and just ruining the rare clear skies experience. Back to clouds this morning :(

"Not a good idea! It was -10 Fahrenheit!" Realy ? you def no Canadian LOL

#12 uniondrone

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:53 AM

"Not a good idea! It was -10 Fahrenheit!" Realy ? you def no Canadian LOL


Well, -10F is -23C. That is pretty cold for standing in one spot looking through an eyepiece for hours on end. I've gone ice fishing at that temperature, but not stargazing... at least not yet.

#13 NeilMac

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:14 AM

Hours on end yes, 30-60 min when dresses well should be ok lol.

#14 lamplight

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:40 AM

holy *BLEEP* thats cold. the woirst ive done this year so far i think was lower 20's (F). maybe teens cant remember i have taken to coming in and warming up a bunch. last night i went jogging in the 20s (what else was there to do?) and what a difference between standing still getting cold. if the scope freezes up its too cold for me!! course.. if i HAD to deal with that over not observing for months at a time, id be searching out that lithium grease like yesterday. and some electric body gear or handwarmers or all of the above.

Dan! i took mine for a wlak in the woods yesterday it was great! not anything like these temps being discussed here in ma.

#15 csrlice12

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:58 AM

The learning curve of all hobbies. We learn from mistakes...we hope..lol
I might brave the cold late tonight/am if it's clear. Had planned a first light with the new XLT102 but it might be just a short session with only one ep.


Depends on the EP....the first light on my 13T1 Nagler--that was the only eyepiece I used that night...and there have been nights the ES82 24mm hasn't left the focuser. But there have been too many nights this year where NO eyepiece was in the focuser............

#16 Eric63

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:16 PM

You may be right Tony, perhaps I could try a little colder. I have skied in -40 (where C and F meet!) and with proper clothing I have stayed warm. But I now find -10F to be my comfort limit for skiing (getting too old to freeze :grin:). But even -10F allows for many nights outside. Anyway, January and February are really the only trouble months. The truth is that it’s the clouds that are keeping me in these days, not the cold. Yesterday I was more worried about my equipment than myself; but with proper planning I am sure that this will no longer be an issue. Like I said earlier, I will make sure that everything is packed away outside first. I thought I could have a grab and go setup that I would take outside fully assembled, and back in when finished. This is probably OK for the summer, but not for winter

Eric

#17 Eric63

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:24 PM

Oh I'm a good ol' Canadian EH (and from cold Quebec stock too! :grin:). It's not me I was worried about, it was the equipment!!! :lol:

But you guys in Alberta...now that's up North!. But I forgot, we don't get Chinook's like you out here :grin:

Eric

#18 csrlice12

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:30 PM

It wasn't cold last night, and starting at 7pm I had family commitments......but that didn't stop me from setting it up at 4:30 and viewing the moon and Jupiter for a few quick looks. I was tearing it down around 6:15; so it barely had time to get dark. BUT, at least I had a few moments. Wonder what my wife is gonna say when I tell her I want to go to the dark site tonight.........probably, have fun....

#19 NeilMac

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:51 PM

Oh I'm a good ol' Canadian EH (and from cold Quebec stock too! :grin:). It's not me I was worried about, it was the equipment!!! :lol:

But you guys in Alberta...now that's up North!. But I forgot, we don't get Chinook's like you out here :grin:

Eric


LOL, yup its +5 right now but going to -24c tomorrow, and that Frilling wind that pops up now and then ruined last nights clear skies, couldn't keep the scope or myself steady at times.

#20 nirvanix

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 03:26 PM

Not to boast or anything (but I am :smirk:), I did observe for a couple of hours at -40F. It was the best view of the double cluster I've ever had. The sky was extremely transparent and allowed me to see the red stars in the double cluster. Of course I wear the proper gear and plenty of it. That view cost me though - the epoxy holding my secondary to the stock failed and the secondary fell off and got chipped!

I've often had to observe in -20C to -30C here in winter if I want to get out on clear nights, but if you're dressed for it you won't be bothered by it.

#21 Atl

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 03:35 PM

I am glad I live in the desert...

#22 newtoskies

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 03:50 PM

Well it's about 20f here right now and not a cloud in the sky.....but I will be going out this evening so most likely no scope time. BUT that could change and I am getting my gear together just in case.

#23 NeilMac

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:12 PM

It is nice out in the cold when its not windy, skies are normally so crisp.

Right now +7c +1c with the windchill and cloudy. Tonight -15c without windchill. :)

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#24 lamplight

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:39 PM

wonder what Red Green would use if his scope froze?

#25 GeneT

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:03 PM

I'm going out tonight. At 6:02 p.m., it is 60.3 degrees F here in San Antonio. :grin:






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