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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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Duke of Deneb

Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: Scope getting no use new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5626021 - 01/16/13 11:17 AM

I got an hour's observing in a couple of nights ago at 3am in my driveway in my pajamas....

Sunday night, it had been cloudy since early afternoon, with at least three or four days cloudy/rainy weather upcoming in the forecast. But when I got up at 3am to let the dog out, looking out the back door I saw nothing but stars overhead. I knew this was near-certainly just an inviting sucker-hole...but well, why not take a look at the weather satellite view to see how big it was? Answer: probably just over an hour before a solid thick overcast covering the entire southeastern quarter of the U.S. moved in.

WELL, WHY NOT? It was a ridiculously warm night for January (64 degrees F at 3am) and the NP-101 was already set up in the garage on mount & tripod, ready for grab n'go. Why waste good observing time with frivolous diversions like getting dressed, when my flannel pajama bottoms and light sweatshirt I was wearing for sleeping would be perfectly acceptable out in the dark in my driveway at 3am, with no one else out and about (my driveway has substantial, though hardly complete, screening by dense shrubbery).

Seeing was good up through about 150x and transparency was, though hardly perfect, nevertheless good enough that I could observe some brighter galaxies such as M104 and three or four random members of the Virgo group in the area behind Denobla in Leo. I also got my first seasonal glimpse of M13, even though it was still not high enough for optimal resolution at 3am. Orion had already gone too much behind a set of tall pine trees at the top end of my driveway to have much of a go there...but Gemini was still up where I could peruse its open clusters, and I'd chosen a spot to set up where I'd have a half-hour to see Jupiter before it went behind the pines. Not the sort of session to get too ambitious, but rather the kind of opportunity to simply be happy being out on such an atypically mild night in January. Finally, the clouds began returning with decisive swiftness, and I realized it was time to pack up and go in. Within 5 minutes, just as I moved the last of the equipment back into the garage, the sky was overcast.

The chances for a pajama observing session at 3am in January, in my driveway, will not come very often. But when the chance presents itself...why not?

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Ely Kid

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: Scope getting no use new [Re: Dwight J]
      #5630432 - 01/18/13 07:17 PM


Expect pristine skies at full moon.

So true!

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Brett Carlson

Reged: 12/12/11

Loc: Rochester, NY
Re: Scope getting no use new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5634990 - 01/21/13 01:34 PM

I just had my mirror re-figured...that guarantees a lot of cloudy nights ahead! Then again..I live in Rochester NY..It's always cloudy in January...and feb....and March!

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Terry Dactile

Reged: 01/04/13

Loc: Bessemer, AL USA
Re: Scope getting no use new [Re: Brett Carlson]
      #5637324 - 01/22/13 04:48 PM

OP here, Well it finally clears up just in time for the moon to begin to be a problem washing out the sky. Oh well, got a couple of nights in with good Seeing anyway.

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