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Houston and seeing...

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#1 Jerry-rigged

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:38 AM

Howdy gang-
Any one else in the Houston area here? How good do ya'll find seeing most nights? How often do see real good seeing?

I am south of town and seems I never see better than about 100x. Even at 125x most nights the view breaks down.

Is this normal for or area or am I doing some thing wrong?

#2 budman1961

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:51 AM

Check out the folks at Cosmic Obsession....I believe they are in Houston.

Andy

#3 CharlesW

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 11:24 AM

Are you using the clear sky charts?

http://www.cleardark...xas_charts.html

http://www.cleardark...Mn=astronomical

http://www.intellica.../JetStream.aspx

The first two are the seeing charts and map for Texas. The third is the jet stream locator and winds chart that I use. In So Hou your cloud cover and transparency are so-so tonight but your seeing is pretty good.

#4 csrlice12

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 11:37 AM

"Any one else in the Houston area here? How good do ya'll find seeing most nights? How often do see real good seeing?"

I did it by heading west a few hundred miles and never going back......... :lol:

Houston is just in a bad weather pattern, don't know why, it just is. But there are nights that will give some good viewing. Contact the local Astronomy Society, they would know where all the good places in the area are at (and you have some good viewing spots in TX , although most of them are well West of you near the NM border.)

#5 Michael Rapp

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 12:22 PM

Hi Jerry!

Don't let our winter conditions get you down. Our seeing is abysmal in the winter.

In the summer it is a completely different story. When one of those high pressure system parks itself over the state and the sky near the horizon is milky-white, we can have some of the best views of the planets ever.

I present Exhibit A: Ed Grafton's CCD Pages. Ed images the planets from his backyard, right here in Houston. I personally think he is in the same league as Don Parker in Florida.

Here is a tool I use to judge our seeing conditions. It shows the high-altitude wind speeds, that often have more of an effect on perceived seeing than low-altitude wind: http://weather.unisy...300_4panel1.gif

It is very easy to read: yellow/cyan= bad, purple=excellent.

I often don't expect to go very high in magnification unless we're in a dark blue condition. Purple is excellent. In the summer, the entire state will be purple for days on end. (And we'll be fighting to keep our grass alive, but you know about that!)

And of course, the usual stuff applies: Wait at least an hour for your scope to cool down, don't observe over rooftops, and wait for the planet to be at least 30 degrees up.

#6 Achernar

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:40 PM

You live on the Gulf Coast like I do, and atrocious seeing is the norm during the winter. Seemingly the best seeing occurs here in the spring and summmer. It might be a bowl a milk overhead, but I have seen rock steady seeing in Mobile which allowed me to go to 500X with my 15-inch Dob. But in general, the weather along the whole Gulf Coast may be great for being outside and enjoying the outdoors, it is in general not nearly as good for astronomy as the desert Southwest or parts of Hawaii are. You also have to consider your location, if you have buildings or anything else nearby that releases heat all night long, it will ensure blurry, boiling stars and planets. Mile after mile of large industrial plants and Mobile Bay too create effects in the atmosphere that definitely create turbulence above my city. Sometimes tube currents from warm optics can also masquerade as bad seeing. Sealed telescopes can take a long time to cool off to the ambient air temperature, and that too can make it look like you have chronically bad seeing.

Taras

#7 Gvs

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:06 AM

You can push your scope to its limits in Houston.

You can see some pictures at:

Posted Image

These were taken from Jersey Village on the 21st, with clouds passing by.

I have pushed my scopes up to 600x for planetary viewing, though as expected the atmosphere and pollution dont help much.

You can head down to the George Observatory on Friday's and Saturday's and work from there.

The alternate site is about an hour west from Houston on I10 about 6 miles past Columbus. There is a small rest area of the north of the Interstate. It's an excellent spot to look at the stars in the Houston area.

If you would like some support, contact me by mail here.

Happy stargazing!

:jump:

#8 Jerry-rigged

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:30 PM

Thanks ya'll. I guess I'll keep wacking at it.

#9 Michael Rapp

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:21 AM

And, I invite you to join the Houston Astronomical Society. We meet on the UH campus. Next meeting is February 1st with a talk on Sir Fred Hoyle.

The novice meetings (one hour prior to the main meeting) are also excellent...we had 50-70 people in the one last month.

#10 Jerry-rigged

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:31 PM

Thanks, Michael. What time do ya'll meet? I have been trying to get to a Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society meeting for a few months now, but something always comes up. I did make one of their star parties at Haak. Brought the wife and the dob and made it a Dinner/date night. :D

#11 Michael Rapp

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:47 PM

Novice meeting is at 7 pm, Regular meeting at 8 pm. Usually wrap up around 9:30 or so.

I've heard those star parties out at the Haak are fun, but haven't been able to make it out there myself (and I live relatively close by in Dickinson.)

#12 Jerry-rigged

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:25 AM

I thought Haak was fun, but then that was my first star party, so I don't know how it stacks up. I did come home with some wine, though. :)

RE: the meeting; I notice that club has a yearly membership fee. Will I have to join/pay fee to go to the meetings?






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