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Observing >> Deep Sky Observing

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Doug Culbertson
Post Laureate
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Reged: 01/06/05

Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: MDB]
      #5648926 - 01/28/13 06:36 PM

Alone 100% of the time. My home is still in a borderline yellow/green zone, so on a good transparent night I get around mag 6.0 or so. I would still like to find a darker site to travel to, but my searches have proven fruitless as far as a dark clearing with public access is concerned.

When I did belong to a club the only advantage was the darker site that they had. Otherwise, it seemed that observing nights were social nights more than anything.


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CelestronDaddy
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 08/22/09

Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: Doug Culbertson]
      #5649013 - 01/28/13 07:20 PM

I now observe by myself. When my daughter was still at home she was my observing buddy, a real trooper. Time has moved on and now she is married living in another part of the state. I have a friend who will probably get a telescope soon so we'll probably start observing together at some point. Good thread.... Tony

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khoferer
super member


Reged: 11/03/04

Loc: Charleston, IL
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: CelestronDaddy]
      #5649039 - 01/28/13 07:29 PM

In recent years its been alone except for the critters wandering through the yard. I live in a rural area and built a small observatory which makes getting out convenient. When I started this hobby I was in a club and have many fond memories of the observing sessions at the club's dark sky site. It is nice to compare views occasionally.

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Carol L

*****

Reged: 07/05/04

Loc: Tomahawk, WI 45N//89W
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: khoferer]
      #5649128 - 01/28/13 08:05 PM

I always observe alone from my rural 40 acres.

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JayinUT
I'm not Sleepy
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Reged: 09/19/08

Loc: Utah
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: Carol L]
      #5649236 - 01/28/13 08:52 PM

Alone about 30% with 1 to 3 friends 70%. My friends are serious observers so we observe for several hours, and then visit or share views or confirm a faint object then back to observing. It is fun to share laughs and make memories with others. Solitary is good also and all my observing, and well 90% is at dark sites.

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MikeRatcliff
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/12/04

Loc: Redlands, CA
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: Feidb]
      #5649461 - 01/28/13 11:12 PM

Quote:

Safety in numbers. I only observe with other people for safety reasons around where I live.




Same with me (California desert), not counting the backyard which isn't that good for deep sky.

I enjoy the company too. We trade views on interesting stuff, and we help each other think of good stuff or in finding things. After a while we tend to drift into our own programs.

Mike


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Ptarmigan
Lagopus lagopus
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Reged: 09/23/04

Loc: Arctic
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: aa6ww]
      #5649495 - 01/28/13 11:34 PM

Generally alone.

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kfiscus
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/09/12

Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: Ptarmigan]
      #5649530 - 01/28/13 11:55 PM

Only with my observing buddy. We have the same DSO interests, seeing abilities, tastes in music.

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stevecoe
"Astronomical Tourist"
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Reged: 04/24/04

Loc: Arizona, USA
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5649626 - 01/29/13 01:53 AM

It used to be 50-50 but as time as gone on I have become more along the lines of 20% alone and 80% with members of my club. The Saguaro Astronomy Club is filled with many memebers who enjoy coming out under dark Arizona skies and enjoying the views and the other people. I understand what a rare thing that is in today's world.

We take a break around 11 PM, sit around someone's table and enjoy some chatting and cookies, then back to the sky. We have long ago learned not to play music to one another or flash white about.

Clear skies to us all;
Steve Coe


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aa6ww
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 10/23/11

Loc: Sacramento, Calif.
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: stevecoe]
      #5649640 - 01/29/13 02:18 AM

This has become a very nice thread. I'm finding out that my viewing situation isn't much different than many out here. I honestly would rather do my observing with someone else if I could find someone similar to me who can really focus on the sky, not do lots of talking, and comes ready to observe for the entire night, but its next to impossible to find this type of person with experience and knowledge I want to observe with who can add to my knowledge and compliment what I'm doing, instead of always just needing help.

Some time ago, just for fun, I created a group on Facebook called Active Amateur Astronomers Worldwide, hoping I could get astronomers to have a real time link with other astronomers if they were out also. so they would be able to share their real time experiences with others doing the same thing at the same time. This has been successful during solar and lunar Eclipses, and when following events happening in the sky at any given time. Watching Jupiter's GRS transits, or occulations, or even during Solar flairs, seems to spark a flurry in this group, since many now have smart phones they have access to immediately.
I notice sometimes it even inspires people to get out and observe something that someone else says they are going to hunt for on any given night.
All of this is just to join like minded people together, but on a global scale who are out observing at the same time with others.
Hopefully this will pick up more interest when the weather warms up and people get excited about astronomy again this spring time. Anyone interested in this can request to join. I'm hoping with the new comets heading this way, having a real time link will become more valuable and usable in the months to come


...Ralph

Edited by aa6ww (01/29/13 02:48 AM)


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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: aa6ww]
      #5649665 - 01/29/13 03:14 AM

A man alone is easy prey . When observing at a remote location , I find it tough to give the eyepiece the attention that is needs for serious observation due to what could possibly sneaking up behind me . It really becomes a worthless venture to me because of that . Plus I enjoy a bit of comraderie with one or two fellow astronomers . Even if I was observing in the safety of a backyard , I still enjoy a bit of comraderie . If they flake out early , I'll keep at it till I'm ready to quit , but out in the boonies , the mountain lion can pounce without notice . Even if I'm packin a piece , I really can't concentrate well enough to make it worth while with the threat if a wildlife attack .

Edited by starrancher (01/30/13 04:02 PM)


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ErixAdministrator
Toad Lily
*****

Reged: 12/25/04

Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: starrancher]
      #5650089 - 01/29/13 11:25 AM

The majority of observing I do is in solitude from my rural location where I do my 'serious' observing.

About 5% of my observing is public outreach and even less, private star parties. In those instances, it has been more about sharing the views and trying out equipment rather than having the opportunity to concentrate on targets.


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Achernar
Postmaster
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Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: Mobile, Alabama, USA
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: starrancher]
      #5650198 - 01/29/13 12:23 PM

Most of my observing I do alone at home in the driveway, so large predators are not a concern. However, any two-legged predator would be very unwise to molest or threaten me, or anyone else for that matter because Alabama is a stand your ground state. A number of thugs learned that the hardway in Mobile since stand your ground laws came into effect. When I observe in remote areas with other, we all arrive and depart at the same time. That policy has prevented one of us from being in a dire situation due to car trouble in a remote area in the dead of night. Even if I go to a remote area armed, I do not remain there alone after everyone else leaves.

Taras


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David Knisely
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: MikeRatcliff]
      #5650592 - 01/29/13 03:33 PM

While I do a lot of serious observing alone, I often leave a message for a friend of mine in a nearby town and he will show up if he can. We observe a lot together, as his 8 inch f/5 complements my 14 inch f/4.6 for observing larger objects that won't fit in the field of my scope. In addition, he also means one other person for security purposes (2nd vehicle, 2nd cell phone, and other considerations). Clear skies to you.

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hbanich
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 06/17/05

Loc: Portland, Oregon
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5650655 - 01/29/13 04:11 PM

I'm lucky to share observing styles and attitude with my good friend Chuck, and weíve observed together probably 80% of the time for the past 22 years. I like taking breaks and talking about what we're observing and inviting each other for a look at a particularly notable object. We often notice slightly different details and so we both end up seeing a little more than we might have by ourselves. Mostly weíre just comfortable with each other.

I always observed alone until 1991 when I went to my first start party and discovered the joys of observing with other knowledgeable people, many of whom are still my friends. Thatís not to say I donít find some people irritating or on a different enough wavelength that we donít get along very well. Iím sure there are those that donít want to observe with me either! Different strokes.

When I do observe by myself now the first thing I notice is Chuck's absence. Part of that is that I suddenly feel more exposed to the real and imagined dangers of the night but for the most part I miss his excellent company. I do enjoy observing alone but, for me, having a good friend to share the sky with is priceless.


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peter k
sage


Reged: 02/03/07

Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: Doug Culbertson]
      #5651245 - 01/29/13 09:57 PM

Quote:


When I did belong to a club the only advantage was the darker site that they had. Otherwise, it seemed that observing nights were social nights more than anything.




Thanks a lot, Doug! Well, at least I enjoyed your company at Star Hill back around the turn of the century.

But seriously, I enjoy observing with other serious observers. Have learned a lot of stuff from observing with the likes of CNers Steve Gotlieb, George Golitzin among many others. (I might have even learned something from Doug once.) My group observing nights usually consist primarily of quiet solo time at the scope punctuated by occasional discussion of obscure or unusual objects, view comparisons, and equipment kibitzing.

These days I mostly observe solo though, primarily because most other Big Island observers insist on setting up in the tourist-headlight-polluted Mauna Kea Visitor's Information Station parking lot, while I prefer the darker, touristless dirt site across the road.


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Astrodj
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/24/11

Loc: Missouri
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: aa6ww]
      #5651469 - 01/30/13 12:36 AM

"This has become a very nice thread. I'm finding out that my viewing situation isn't much different than many out here. I honestly would rather do my observing with someone else if I could find someone similar to me who can really focus on the sky, not do lots of talking, and comes ready to observe for the entire night, but its next to impossible to find this type of person with experience and knowledge I want to observe with who can add to my knowledge and compliment what I'm doing, instead of always just needing help. "

Ralph,

You sound like my kind of observing pal. In my forty plus years of observing I have been fortunate to have a few cherished observing buddies. A typical night would be each of us with our own set up, usually very different from each other equipment-wise, each with a separate observing plan.

Over the course of the night we would occasionally share views that were worthy of interrupting the other person's activities, otherwise we would just kind of do our own thing. Sometimes we would target the same object and compare views, but mostly we would pursue our own agenda.

Often times we would spend hours and maybe exchange a dozen words, all the while enjoying each others company immensely.

Other than that type of situation, I prefer to be alone, or with my two younger boys who have developed an interest which I try to keep stoked.

Too bad Missouri is so far away!


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Doug Culbertson
Post Laureate
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Reged: 01/06/05

Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: peter k]
      #5651879 - 01/30/13 09:28 AM

Quote:

Quote:


When I did belong to a club the only advantage was the darker site that they had. Otherwise, it seemed that observing nights were social nights more than anything.




Thanks a lot, Doug! Well, at least I enjoyed your company at Star Hill back around the turn of the century.

But seriously, I enjoy observing with other serious observers. Have learned a lot of stuff from observing with the likes of CNers Steve Gotlieb, George Golitzin among many others. (I might have even learned something from Doug once.) My group observing nights usually consist primarily of quiet solo time at the scope punctuated by occasional discussion of obscure or unusual objects, view comparisons, and equipment kibitzing.

These days I mostly observe solo though, primarily because most other Big Island observers insist on setting up in the tourist-headlight-polluted Mauna Kea Visitor's Information Station parking lot, while I prefer the darker, touristless dirt site across the road.




Hey Peter! PM sent.


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Alvin Huey
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/18/05

Loc: NorCal
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: Doug Culbertson]
      #5652071 - 01/30/13 11:14 AM

Those who know me...I observe very deep and with at least one friend when at a remote site. Safety in numbers. I use my 22" f/4 at remote locations. I used to observe myself and always pack. Never know. I had one close call 20 years ago...that is enough. Not worth it. I will never observe alone at a remote site.

When I do observe with friends, we do chat and once in a while share views. Then we just observe. We go out until 1 (winter) to 3AM (summer). I have a life outside of astronomy, which is a very small part of my life, and need to be active the next morning, so I don't observe all night unless at a star party or have absolutely nothing planned the next morning. It is what it is.

But in the backyard, I always observe myself as the skies aren't that great (NELM 4.5-5.0) and it is not worth anyone's time to run over to my house. I use a 6" refractor at home.

Ralph...Very nice setup - I like it. I may adopt some of your ideas for my backyard.

Edited by Erix (02/01/13 12:01 AM)


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Jeff Morgan
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Reged: 09/28/03

Loc: Prescott, AZ
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: starrancher]
      #5652364 - 01/30/13 01:43 PM Attachment (8 downloads)

Quote:

A man alone is easy prey . When observing at a remote location , I find it tough to give the eyepiece the attention that is needs for serious observation due to what could possibly sneezing up behind me . It really becomes a worthless venture to me because of that . Plus I enjoy a bit of comraderie with one or two fellow astronomers . Even if I was observing in the safety of a backyard , I still enjoy a bit of comraderie . If they flake out early , I'll keep at it till I'm ready to quit , but out in the boonies , the mountain lion can pounce without notice . Even if I'm packin a piece , I really can't concentrate well enough to make it worth while with the threat if a wildlife attack .





Good point. I live in northern Arizona which is both mountain lion and bear country. Last year there were three bear attacks near Payson. A human alone is a possible meal, two humans are a threat.

And of course for us near the border, human and drug traffickers are a real possibility, especially in the low desert. For those of you thinking that idea is paranoid, go to the Saguaro Astronomy club website and read the cautions on remote sites and observing.

Then there is the medical aspect. A couple of summers ago I had an accident where a portable pier with 275 pounds of equipment toppled over. Without the leverage to upright the pier, I threw myself under the mount to save the equipment. My leg took the impact from the equatorial head, just above the knee. I was quite fortunate to have friends to help get the equipment off of me (and equally lucky my leg was not broken). And with friends present, I was able to observe through their scopes until the swelling and the pain got he better of me.

I'll go alone but much prefer the company of a few friends.


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