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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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C_Moon
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/23/09

Loc: Beneath the arms of Cassiopeia
The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby
      #5870542 - 05/19/13 12:05 AM

I think for many a hobby is an escape -- from the stressful, the boring, the unhealthy, ... you name it.

What do you do when your hobby is so affected by weather? It's hard to observe when the weather doesn't cooperate. And boy, it really needs to cooperate if astronomy is your main hobby! I mean, we're not just talking about rainy days & nights. No, even weather that is beautiful in the eyes of the masses, is often dismissed by us due to murky, hazy, and frequently choppy skies.

So what do you do when you want (need) to escape to the stars with your scope, your binoculars, or maybe just laying on a blanket looking up, but mother nature is not cooperating? It seems like such a restrictive hobby, but maybe I have been jaded by a particularly lousy spring (observing-wise, that is).

I suppose like many I substitute reading, planning observing sessions, mod-ing my scope, etc, but it's getting old. I just want to do some observing!


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: C_Moon]
      #5870557 - 05/19/13 12:14 AM

I don't use Astronomy as an escape; rather to me it's just a very enjoyable hobby. When I can't observe, I find plenty here on CN, and my many books to keep my interest at a very high peak, until I can get out & enjoy the night skies again.

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C_Moon
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/23/09

Loc: Beneath the arms of Cassiopeia
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5870564 - 05/19/13 12:19 AM

Quote:

I don't use Astronomy as an escape; rather to me it's just a very enjoyable hobby. When I can't observe, I find plenty here on CN, and my many books to keep my interest at a very high peak, until I can get out & enjoy the night skies again.




Well, fortunately I don't have trouble keeping my interest high.

I just think of the woodworker who can shuffle off to his workshop after a frustrating day. For me, all troubles melt away under a clear dark sky (or even a clear, moonlit one). Wouldn't it be nice if star therapy was available "on-demand"?


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Mike B
Starstruck
*****

Reged: 04/06/05

Loc: shake, rattle, & roll, CA
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: C_Moon]
      #5870576 - 05/19/13 12:30 AM

Hi Paul-

I share your pain. Yeah, there's always stuff to "do" when the sky is fubar- hence the name of our beloved website: "Cloudy Nights". But sometimes getting my personal & work schedule to align with the weather's patterns can be maddening!

I dunno... maybe we'll just buy more eyepieces when we can't observe. The sheer weight of glass in our EP case will create a gravitational vortex, clearing the skies over our yards.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: Mike B]
      #5870579 - 05/19/13 12:35 AM

Quote:

I dunno... maybe we'll just buy more eyepieces when we can't observe. The sheer weight of glass in our EP case will create a gravitational vortex, clearing the skies over our yards.






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linux
member


Reged: 01/04/13

Loc: Evans, Ga.
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5870588 - 05/19/13 12:45 AM

When I want to observe but can't, I try and read about Astronomy, cosmology, astrophysics, star hopping, etc etc. So much to learn...

Occasionally I'll order another eyepiece


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kfiscus
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/09/12

Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: linux]
      #5870623 - 05/19/13 01:13 AM

When I can't hunt down faint fuzzies, I hunt down the next great deal on astrostuff I have on my wish list.

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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: linux]
      #5870627 - 05/19/13 01:15 AM

For me, it's simple...astronomy totally dominates the tropical dry season: observing, study, optics, reading, cloudy nights and other forums. Astronomy, girlfriend and telescopes (and girlfriend) consume me night and day. But, yes, it's enjoyment, something to sink teeth into and drop your jaw while observing.

During the rainy season, it's endulgement of my other hobby: economics, study, debating, blogging, investment, (avoiding politics), etc. Same intensity, same girlfriend.

Edited by Asbytec (05/19/13 01:17 AM)


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mich_al
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/10/09

Loc: Rural central lower Michigan ...
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: C_Moon]
      #5870875 - 05/19/13 08:27 AM

Quote:

Wouldn't it be nice if star therapy was available "on-demand"?




Isn't that what this place is?


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FJA
Sketcher Extraordinaire
*****

Reged: 11/17/04

Loc: 50.65° N, 1.15° W
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: C_Moon]
      #5870926 - 05/19/13 09:02 AM

Quote:

I think for many a hobby is an escape -- from the stressful, the boring, the unhealthy, ... you name it.

What do you do when your hobby is so affected by weather? It's hard to observe when the weather doesn't cooperate. And boy, it really needs to cooperate if astronomy is your main hobby! I mean, we're not just talking about rainy days & nights. No, even weather that is beautiful in the eyes of the masses, is often dismissed by us due to murky, hazy, and frequently choppy skies.

So what do you do when you want (need) to escape to the stars with your scope, your binoculars, or maybe just laying on a blanket looking up, but mother nature is not cooperating? It seems like such a restrictive hobby, but maybe I have been jaded by a particularly lousy spring (observing-wise, that is).

I suppose like many I substitute reading, planning observing sessions, mod-ing my scope, etc, but it's getting old. I just want to do some observing!




I get annoyed and it is frustrating but I've got other interests, such as photography and birdwatching.


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Ed D
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 04/30/10

Loc: Sunny South Florida
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: FJA]
      #5870987 - 05/19/13 09:41 AM

Without realizing it, I became a lunar and planetary observer over two years ago because of the very heavy LP where I live, as well as the humid/rainy tropical climate. Now the LP doesn't really bother me, neither do the 'murky, hazy, and frequently choppy skies'. Life threw lemons at me, so I made really good lemonade out of it. It's what works for me.

Ed D


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: C_Moon]
      #5871006 - 05/19/13 09:50 AM

"What do you do when your hobby is so affected by weather? It's hard to observe when the weather doesn't cooperate. And boy, it really needs to cooperate if astronomy is your main hobby!"

You retire, load up the belongings, and move to someplace cheap, warm and dry most of the year, of course.

- Jim


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Mxplx2
sage


Reged: 09/12/12

Loc: NE PA USA
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: Ed D]
      #5871012 - 05/19/13 09:53 AM

Thats what I have found being new to this, that viewing time is heavily controlled by season and weather. But most of my hobbies are too, so astronomy is just one of and not the hobby.

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bumm
sage


Reged: 01/07/11

Loc: Iowa
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: Ed D]
      #5871022 - 05/19/13 10:03 AM

For me, astronomy IS something of an escape from the stresses of my job, etc. My job can be a stressful one, and I keep it separate from my hobbies... (I didn't enter in to the "what do you do for a living?" thread for just that reason.)
It CAN be frustrating when the weather, DST, etc, doesn't cooperate with observing urges... Last night, I wanted to run out and catch a peek at PANSTARRS climbing up above Cepheus, but it was CLOUDY, and now the moon is waxing. However, I have other interests and hobbies that I actually spend more time with than I do astronomy. Astronomy is what MATTERS though, and definitely the most therapeutic. I spend a few minutes outside most every night, even if it's cloudy. Just casually contemplating the universe, so vast, ancient, and beautiful, and so much larger than day to day earthly problems, helps put things into perspective.
Marty


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mountain monk
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/06/09

Loc: Grand Teton National Park
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: bumm]
      #5871204 - 05/19/13 11:53 AM

For me, astronomy is one just one hobby of many, one way of looking at, being in, connected to, the natural world. I also paint--landscapes in summer, veggies in winter. I fish when I can--April, then zip during runoff, then again in later summer and autumn. I watch birds and animals--two days ago we watched a large female grizzly--Blondie--for an hour, several days before that a huge boar grizzly, 750#; there are always new birds--our ospreys are back, etc. I read way too much--a new biography of Cezanne, new novels by Le Carre and James Salter, a splendid book by Wade Davis--"Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest. I meditate a lot. And I write--but that is definitely work, hard work. I am never bored. When the sky is clear I look at the sky with both scopes. And, of course, I check CN several times a day! It helps that I am retired.

"I can't get all the honey into my jar." Winnie-the-Pooh

At 71, that seems to be the problem, not cloudy skies, though, like everyone else, I whine a lot about them. Now I'm preparing to whine about smoke.

Dark skies.

Jack


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Kon Dealer
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/05/11

Loc: Cambridge UK
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: mountain monk]
      #5871250 - 05/19/13 12:12 PM

My wife yhinks I'm nuts.
You have two hobbies, she tells me, both weather dependent.

One is astronomy, the other is a 50 year old Jaguar car.

It doesn't like clouds and rain either


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jeff heck
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/16/06

Loc: stl,mo.
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5871279 - 05/19/13 12:30 PM

Quote:

"What do you do when your hobby is so affected by weather? It's hard to observe when the weather doesn't cooperate. And boy, it really needs to cooperate if astronomy is your main hobby!"

You retire, load up the belongings, and move to someplace cheap, warm and dry most of the year, of course.

- Jim



I'm with you, Jim. My five year plan involves finding the perfect dark sky place with 300+ clear nights, scenic non-traveled roads for cycling and access to a few nice lakes for bass and trout fishing.


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Red Shift
super member


Reged: 11/09/11

Loc: Bloomfield, New Jersey, USA
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: jeff heck]
      #5871648 - 05/19/13 02:46 PM

A shortcoming ?

How about this.....
We are currently NOT able to actually visit the beautiful places that we constantly look at.

Akin to pouring over travel brochures or magazines about exotic places and absolutely not having the funds to travel.


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DG Aucoin
super member
*****

Reged: 03/20/13

Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: Red Shift]
      #5871872 - 05/19/13 04:17 PM

I enjoy my hobby of astronomy immensely. It is not stress relief, it is a hobby. I look forward to clear nights of observing. When I am not observing, I panic. I want to be out under clear skies, light polluted or not. When I observe in front of my con do, it is impossible to look for anything because of the bad light pollution, so I look at Saturn or Jupiter. I recently put degree circles on my dob, to help me find objects in the sky (not that I canno0t find them without the circles), but the light pollution is so great, I have lights on all sides of me. Anyways, the circles provide me with objects that you can see from a terribly light polluted site. When not observing, I am making plans to buy new equipment, mod my scope or make improvements. I look forward to using mew accessories on my scope or coming up with something new when I am not observing. It is pure joy, not stress relief.

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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: C_Moon]
      #5871875 - 05/19/13 04:18 PM

You can own your own business and spend a lot of your free time there. That's what I do.

David


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C_Moon
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/23/09

Loc: Beneath the arms of Cassiopeia
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: DG Aucoin]
      #5871960 - 05/19/13 04:54 PM

Quote:

It is pure joy, not stress relief.




Aren't they one in the same?


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philrod
super member
*****

Reged: 07/19/04

Loc: Fallon, Nevada
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: C_Moon]
      #5872064 - 05/19/13 05:50 PM

fire up the laptop & go to Cloudy nights or SkyTools or The Sky or Stellarium. Not necessarily in that order.

Phil

TV85 & SV102ED
DM4 & GM8
Lot's of Radians


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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: C_Moon]
      #5872372 - 05/19/13 08:16 PM

Quote:

What do you do when your hobby is so affected by weather?




We are a ship of fools. Cloudy weather, the jet stream, a full moon, too hot, or too cold--all things that can ruin a night of good seeing. However, for me, what it is all about is that night of good seeing that comes along once in awhile. Through my telescope, the universe connects with my imagination and takes me to places that I can can only dream about. When those nights occur, it is all worth while.


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Feidb
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/09/09

Loc: Nevada
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: GeneT]
      #5872513 - 05/19/13 09:21 PM

Astronomy has been a lifelong passion. It's always close by regardless of the weather. Since my other hobbies include writing, I keep busy writing articles about astronomy for my web site, or editing the Observer's Challenge for the Las Vegas Astronomical Society when I'm not working on one of my novels. I also woodwork, garden, play and listen to music, and of course, write about those subjects.

Living in Las Vegas, I get my share of viewing nights, but sometimes, not as many as one might think. Astronomy is still at hand, especially since I'm sekiterry of the club and the AL coordinator.

The are no shortcomings of this hobby unless you make them shortcomings. The only issues I've ever run across are some of the people, and very few of them. As long as I avoid those people, which I do and have, this has been the greatest for me.


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5872675 - 05/19/13 10:16 PM

Old man screams at clouds!

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azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5872763 - 05/19/13 10:57 PM

I've got a lot of diverse interests so I just do something else. Since I work two jobs I don't have many free nights so the problem isn't chronic.

Pete


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JayinUT
I'm not Sleepy
*****

Reged: 09/19/08

Loc: Utah
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5872889 - 05/20/13 12:15 AM

Get involved in ATM projects! Those are great to do during bad weather or full moon. That's how I made my observing chair and I'm working on an eyepiece case and soon it will be time to build another dob with a sube, probably a 8 inch for my son as a surprise gift (he's 19).

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edosaurusrex
sage
*****

Reged: 01/30/07

Loc: Ft Worth, TX
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5872904 - 05/20/13 12:40 AM

This is harder to do as I get older, but when I get a clear night I don't waste it. It's those beautifully clear nights when you observe between the twilights that make the cloudy days easier to cope with.

Ed


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Starlon
super member


Reged: 04/18/06

Loc: desert, USA
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5872954 - 05/20/13 01:17 AM

Well.. when the monsoons are raging or the haboobs are sandblasting cars and filling the air full of choking, blinding sand & dust..



ah, well, I have no problem getting into innumerable amounts of mischief

Just haunting CN can occupy hours of my time And yes, the birds and reading, music ! Rock & roll !


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Qwickdraw
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: Starlon]
      #5873139 - 05/20/13 06:42 AM

Atronomy isnt my only hobby but it is my favorite. Other interests take up any spare time such as RC gliders, gardening and sailing.

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FirstSight
Duke of Deneb
*****

Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5873489 - 05/20/13 11:05 AM

Quote:

I don't use Astronomy as an escape; rather to me it's just a very enjoyable hobby. When I can't observe, I find plenty here on CN...




CN is that splendid observing site we all have where it is never cloudy, the transparency and seeing are always at least 9/10, and the temperature is always comfortable in shirtsleeves. AND - you're already here, no gear-hauling road trip necessary.


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5873542 - 05/20/13 11:38 AM

" I donno... maybe we'll just buy more eyepieces when we can't observe. The sheer weight of glass in our EP case will create a gravitational vortex, clearing the skies over our yards."

Nope, already tested that theory


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C_Moon
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/23/09

Loc: Beneath the arms of Cassiopeia
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5873632 - 05/20/13 12:25 PM

Quote:

Atronomy isnt my only hobby but it is my favorite. Other interests take up any spare time such as RC gliders, gardening and sailing.




Actually, some of the comments reminded me of RC gliders, another hobby which I've dabbled in a bit. I found I far enjoyed flying the gliders to building/fixing the gliders. Analogous to my views on DIY telescope projects -- they are more of a means-to-an-end for me.


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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: Feidb]
      #5874238 - 05/20/13 04:58 PM

Quote:

Living in Las Vegas




I grew up in Ely, and my parents moved to Las Vegas in 1962. Went from Mag 6.5 skies in my back yard to Mag -1 in Las Vegas. What the closest reasonably dark sky site? How is Valley of Fire?


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rdandrea
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/13/10

Loc: Colorado, USA DM59ra
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: C_Moon]
      #5874698 - 05/20/13 09:08 PM

Astronomy isn't an escape. It's something I'm interested in. If I didn't want to deal with the vagaries of the weather, the moon, etc, I'd take up bowling instead.

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Astrodj
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/24/11

Loc: Missouri
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: C_Moon]
      #5874991 - 05/20/13 11:52 PM

"So what do you do when you want (need) to escape to the stars with your scope, your binoculars, or maybe just laying on a blanket looking up, but mother nature is not cooperating?"

I like to plan an observing session. If I have one planned out already, I plan another one. For me at least this is very relaxing and enjoyable. I make up lists, print custom charts, prepare observing logs/sketch sheets in advance, research double stars for the night, variable/carbon stars, OC's, etc...I can spend hours on such activities. I dig through Sue French's Deep Sky Wonders for challenge objects and oddities I have never seen. I enjoy reading about various stars of interest on Jim Kaler's Stars website and get a lot of good data there on some of the double stars I plan on observing. Burnham's still remains an old if somewhat outdated favorite for general reading. I tinker with equipment, clean up and reorganize go boxes and containers.

However, if I can see a few stars and a 7 day old moon through high cirrus with low scud racing underneath I'm outside relaxing, naked eye is just fine thank you, and I am just as happy as with one of my scopes on a better night. Ok, almost as happy.


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RobertED
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/11/03

Loc: Smithfield, RI
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5875246 - 05/21/13 07:16 AM

Quote:

I don't use Astronomy as an escape; rather to me it's just a very enjoyable hobby. When I can't observe, I find plenty here on CN, and my many books to keep my interest at a very high peak, until I can get out & enjoy the night skies again.




Absolutely!!...same here!!


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TL2101
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/17/10

Loc: Concord, Ca
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: RobertED]
      #5876299 - 05/21/13 04:41 PM

When I can't observe I like to read about the universe. Someday I hope to understand the universe and my place in it.

So far it's a little more complicated than I thought.


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City Kid
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/06/09

Loc: Northern Indiana
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: C_Moon]
      #5876669 - 05/21/13 06:44 PM

Quote:

So what do you do when you want (need) to escape to the stars with your scope, your binoculars, or maybe just laying on a blanket looking up, but mother nature is not cooperating?



I pout. I thought that's what everybody did.


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coopman
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/23/06

Loc: South Louisiana
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: City Kid]
      #5876839 - 05/21/13 08:04 PM

The most frustrating thing for me is that I am unable to observe as often as I would like due to the weather and other circumstances. It kind of makes me question my sanity for having so much money tied up in equipment that I don't get a chance to use very often.

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tezster
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/14/09

Loc: Missisauga, Canada
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: coopman]
      #5877487 - 05/22/13 08:00 AM

Quote:

The most frustrating thing for me is that I am unable to observe as often as I would like due to the weather and other circumstances. It kind of makes me question my sanity for having so much money tied up in equipment that I don't get a chance to use very often.




It is EXACTLY because observation time is so precious that we need the highest quality gear available to maximize the enjoyment we derive from those short windows of opportunity we get.


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nanjason
super member
*****

Reged: 03/23/10

Loc: Southeastern PA, USA
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: tezster]
      #5877562 - 05/22/13 08:55 AM

Terence, that's the best excuse I've heard so far! I'll have to use that one...

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ensign
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: C_Moon]
      #5877603 - 05/22/13 09:23 AM

Quote:

I think for many a hobby is an escape -- from the stressful, the boring, the unhealthy, ... you name it.





As others have posted, astronomy is not an escape for me, but rather a better connection to reality. There's more - lots more - to creation than the petty day-to-day concerns of the human race.

That said, I don't live and breathe to look at the night sky, although I enjoy it very much. When it is possible, I take what I can get and don't fret about the weather. On cloudy nights I could be reading, composing music (which, to my mind, can be another window into eternity) or working on a novel (writing not reading ).


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FJA
Sketcher Extraordinaire
*****

Reged: 11/17/04

Loc: 50.65° N, 1.15° W
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: tezster]
      #5877646 - 05/22/13 09:46 AM

Quote:

Quote:

The most frustrating thing for me is that I am unable to observe as often as I would like due to the weather and other circumstances. It kind of makes me question my sanity for having so much money tied up in equipment that I don't get a chance to use very often.




It is EXACTLY because observation time is so precious that we need the highest quality gear available to maximize the enjoyment we derive from those short windows of opportunity we get.




That's an excellent way of looking at it. I'm thinking of getting Argo Navis digital setting circles for my telescope but then I wonder why I am going to spend 550 ($830 at current exchange rates) on something I am only going to be able to use a handful of times a month. But then when I consider that it will maximise my observing time with my 3500 ($5287) telescope...win-win situation.


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Starman81
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 03/06/08

Loc: Metro Detroit, MI, USA
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: ensign]
      #5877654 - 05/22/13 09:50 AM

Sometimes I pout/shout/let it all out. Others times I:

- Plan for my next observing session and prioritize the targets I want to observe, figuring out which scope/eyepiece combo's to try on it

- Prioritize the testing of whatever new gear or eyepieces I have

- Work on upgrading or modding equipment or working out nagging problems with my equipment

- Observe the Moon

- Spend a lot of time on Cloudy Nights


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Feidb
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/09/09

Loc: Nevada
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: GeneT]
      #5879868 - 05/23/13 09:53 AM

GeneT, there are plenty of dark sites around Las Vegas, just not in the valley, of course. I go to Redstone Picnic area, which is on the North Shore Road of Lake Mead on the way to Echo Bay. It is my regular dark site. It is almost to (coincidentally), Valley of Fire which is a few miles up the road from Echo Bay. Valley of Fire is pretty decent if you can get away from the campers.

In the summer, we sometimes go up Lee Canyon road behind Mt Charleston for some altitude and the views to everywhere except souteast not bad, despite Pahrump being over the hill and Indian Springs being to the north.

For really dark skies, we can travel out of town to either Death Valley or Cathedral Gorge, but those are usually overnighters. There are other more dark spots but I'm not into going to really remote spots like some others.


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azure1961p
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Reged: 01/17/09

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Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: RobertED]
      #5879874 - 05/23/13 09:55 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I don't use Astronomy as an escape; rather to me it's just a very enjoyable hobby. When I can't observe, I find plenty here on CN, and my many books to keep my interest at a very high peak, until I can get out & enjoy the night skies again.






Absolutely!!...same here!!




I think its inescapable that the finer endeavors in life have escapism in there somewhere. I'm not running away from anything but a nice quiet peaceful evening removed from the din of the populace, the slower pace, the contemplative undertaking of it all - its about as good as escape is going to get sans a vacation in Tahiti.

Pete


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JoeR
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Reged: 03/07/10

Loc: Columbus, OH
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: Feidb]
      #5879923 - 05/23/13 10:26 AM

I have to have an indoor hobby to offset the fact I live in the worst state in the country. We literally have on average 300 cloudy nights a year due to the lake effect, jet stream, Pacific, Gulf, and Atlantic weather constantly bombarding our atmosphere. The few clear nights almost always occur during the near full moon phases or weeknights. Dark skies are two hours away so weeknight observing there is not an option. Its been 7 months since the last trip with none in the foreseeable future. When new members join our club I always advise them not to go nuts on expensive equipment because it will rarely get used. I also spent a lot of time re-editing images from the previous years. The worst case scenario is when you finally get out and part of your night is wasted troubleshooting equipment.

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Mark Costello
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 03/08/05

Loc: Matthews, NC, USA
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: C_Moon]
      #5880235 - 05/23/13 01:28 PM

As a married and family man, time forced away from stargazing due to clouds isn't that much of a problem. But if I have time on my hands that I'd rather use for astronomy, I have other interests, music making, reading, etc.).

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FJA
Sketcher Extraordinaire
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Reged: 11/17/04

Loc: 50.65° N, 1.15° W
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: JoeR]
      #5880275 - 05/23/13 01:42 PM

Quote:

I have to have an indoor hobby to offset the fact I live in the worst state in the country. We literally have on average 300 cloudy nights a year due to the lake effect, jet stream, Pacific, Gulf, and Atlantic weather constantly bombarding our atmosphere. The few clear nights almost always occur during the near full moon phases or weeknights. Dark skies are two hours away so weeknight observing there is not an option. Its been 7 months since the last trip with none in the foreseeable future. When new members join our club I always advise them not to go nuts on expensive equipment because it will rarely get used. I also spent a lot of time re-editing images from the previous years. The worst case scenario is when you finally get out and part of your night is wasted troubleshooting equipment.




Ouch. And I was thinking our average here of 200 cloudy nights was bad enough.


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JoeR
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Reged: 03/07/10

Loc: Columbus, OH
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: FJA]
      #5880425 - 05/23/13 02:46 PM

Quote:

Ouch. And I was thinking our average here of 200 cloudy nights was bad enough.




I kept track last year we had only 36 nights where you could observe. I managed to get out for each one even if I was only in a city park. Funny I never noticed how cloudy it was here until I became an astronomer. I just assumed we were average.


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herrointment
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Reged: 03/12/11

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Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: JoeR]
      #5880808 - 05/23/13 05:33 PM

Any out-of-doors hobby requiring a specific set of conditions demands you learn patience. Lots of patience.

When conditions are finally favorable you get out and do your thing......any if you keep doing that someday the big event will happen......in fishing it is time on the water that counts. The lasting memories gained are a direct result of the effort and time expended in the endeavor. Nothing is easy if the rewards are great.


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csrlice12
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Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: herrointment]
      #5880902 - 05/23/13 07:11 PM

"......in fishing it is time on the water that counts."

with some of the people I've fished with, it's trying to keep them from falling IN the water..


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HellsKitchen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/05/08

Loc: Melbourne Australia
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5881243 - 05/23/13 10:25 PM

If I can't observe, I'll get some beer and pizza and watch my Family Guy DVDs.

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audioaficionado
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/24/12

Loc: Medford, Orygun, USA
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: HellsKitchen]
      #5888311 - 05/28/13 02:28 AM

The main drawback for me is lack of astro funds like in grinding poverty. It took me a year to put together my modest equipment. Still lots more I'd like, but I have enough to start now and not feel like an armchair astronomer. Next acquisitions will be a Starbound observing chair and a 10" dob.

My rainy/indoor hobby is planted fresh water aquariums and various forums.


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RussL
Music Maker
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Reged: 03/18/08

Loc: Cayce and Lancaster, SC
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: audioaficionado]
      #5890638 - 05/29/13 12:10 PM

I don't worry about it. I've been observing since 1960 with a scope, and go out to this day whenever I want. Yet, I have also learned to not feel obligated even when it's a great night. If I'm not in the mood it's no cause for concern. My interest will never die. But I have become more relaxed about it nowadays (maybe it's my age---as in "old"). Many times I just wanna sit with the binos. And whether it's just binos or with a scope I don't always run around the yard in different spots, trying to see asolutely everything possible. No, I've taken the pressure off and just sit in one spot and take whatever is given to me. Maybe there is something in particular I wanna see, to, so sometimes I will move. Sometimes I even might have a specific plan for the night. But if I don't I don't have to feel like I'm a slackard for not making the most of a night. I take it as it comes. Maybe I get out there and decide to count fireflies instead. No worries.

Sometimes I sit in the yard even if it's cloudy, if it's just one of those nights when the air feels good. Why, I have even sat out and watched the clouds go by at night, all lit up by the streetlights and shopping centers in my red zone.

Heh, it's a wonder I have any time for any of it, playing music in three bands and doing other things. Oh, and I do have other hobbies, too. And I always know that a good observing time will come around again before too long. So, why fret about a cloudy night?


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tknice
journeyman


Reged: 06/02/13

Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: RussL]
      #5902964 - 06/04/13 11:48 PM

I don't know about all of the shortcomings first-hand yet because I'm just an astro noob. One thing I can say however, is that I'm almost glad that every night isn't a winner night (GASP) because it really makes me appreciate the ones that are.

It's nice that my other major hobbies are weather independent.

Home Brewer
Home Theater Enthusiast


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StarDaddy
member


Reged: 05/10/13

Loc: Eastern Shore, Maryland
Re: The shortcomings of Astronomy as a Hobby new [Re: C_Moon]
      #5904796 - 06/05/13 09:50 PM

I also share frustrations (and weather) with C-Moon. But upon reflextion, seems most of my hobbies are weather-dependant (boating, fishing, sport-shooting, cycling) Fortunately, I like to play guitar, so on really crummy weekends, I can literally sing-the-blues!

Perhaps therein lies the answer, develope a fall-back hobby, maybe even one that accessorizes the other (like woodworking)


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