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living in a valley screwing me?

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#1 MessiToM

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:30 PM


Ive been wandering if living in a valley is ruining me "seeing" more often than not. It seems on nights predicted 5 of 5 for transparency Iam still limited to low magnifications.

Couldn't I be in a different temp of air being in a valley with turbulence/different temperature at the mountain tops?

#2 Dan G

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:33 PM

Mountains are a killer. They cause much turbulence. Have had several friends in your area that have complained of similar issues when viewing.

Dan in NY

#3 ZeroID

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:49 PM

Valleys have inversion layers and other atmospheric anomalies peculiar to their topography. Like viewing up through a soup bowl. Anywhere handy a bit higher up the slopes or ridge you could use?

#4 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:01 PM

Be aware that transparency refers to air clarity, while seeing refers to air steadiness.

#5 MessiToM

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 10:23 AM

Yes I ment seeing. I sort of have other places to observe but not to "handy" with my big 17.5"er

#6 wky46

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 10:37 AM

I live and observe in a valley surrounded by low hills and it definately effects my seeing. If I feel spunky, I'll wheel my telescope up just 30 or so feet and it changes for the better, remarkably so. Thought about building a rollaway observatory shed up from where I observe now, but the higher I go the more trees I have to contend with, but it probably will be a good trade-off..... Phil

#7 vsteblina

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:02 AM

I am at 800 feet elevation....just 10 miles from town are elevations at 6800 to 9500 feet. Winds generally come from that direction.

So observing is like viewing from the bottom of a waterfall.

Twinkle, twinkle little star is more than a children's song.

That said location does make some difference even within our small valley. Moving six miles did improve my seeing somewhat. My cabin at 3000 and 10 miles away does have much better seeing.

I did not think that the east would have that much variation given the lack of elevation relief.

#8 csrlice12

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:18 AM

We actually see the same thing here in Denver. The air flowing down off the mountains keep those stars twinkling their little hearts out, Even Jupiter has twinkled a few times (REAL unseady air, good transparancy, really really bad seeing).

#9 Mxplx2

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 04:16 PM

I live in a valley in PA and used to work in a place called Mountaintop. Coming home many evenings, I could see down in the valley and it was like a bowl holding the smog. It wasn't daily but depended on the type of weather day it was with wind, etc.

#10 csrlice12

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:52 PM

We are too up on the mountains, why should the valley be any different? Really doesn't matter where you live.....

#11 Tony Flanders

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:50 AM

We are too up on the mountains, why should the valley be any different? Really doesn't matter where you live.....


Valleys are profoundly different from mountain slopes because they collect cold air. Location makes a huge difference; even moving a few hundred feet can sometimes make a major difference in seeing.

#12 csrlice12

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:37 AM

I agree, I was more agreeing with the poster that we're all being screwed (by the weather)...

#13 ZeroID

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:19 PM

I live about 90' up the side of an (extinct) volcano in suburban Auckland, New Zealand. Gentle slope, south facing but it does make a significant difference with the seeing compared to just even walking down my drive (100yards or so ) into the soup and streetlight pollution. I'm also lucky in that my house is inside a 'box' of houses which face the street so the nearest street light is about 75 yrards away and sheilded for the most part.
So conditions can be as local as that to make a diference.
If I get a cold southerly blowing from down the Antartic way sometimes we get crystal skies with mag 7 seeing.
And I am only 5 miles or so from the CBD ...!

#14 csrlice12

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 08:57 AM

"I live about 90' up the side of an (extinct) volcano in suburban Auckland, New Zealand"

better then 90' up the side of an active one...... :bigshock:






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