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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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denjo
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/25/05

How cold is too cold
      #3550913 - 01/10/10 12:35 AM

When does your mount start getting unhappy with the cold?

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John J
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/05/07

Loc: South East SD.
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: denjo]
      #3550923 - 01/10/10 12:52 AM

My EQ 6 began to stall when slewing at 4 Deg F. It would track well though. It was completely covered in frost. I was an idiot to be out in that cold of weather, but the skies were pristine.
JJ


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coopfore1
super member


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: John J]
      #3550957 - 01/10/10 01:25 AM

anyone have an idea on how to keep mounts warm?

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Smo
sage


Reged: 01/19/09

Loc: North Vancouver, BC, Canada
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: coopfore1]
      #3551014 - 01/10/10 02:40 AM

I dont know but the AP mounts have videos of being at -73 degree celcius at the south pole and working fine. Check the video on the AP site.

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coopfore1
super member


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: Smo]
      #3551017 - 01/10/10 02:43 AM

Smo So how cold has your mount been???

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Smo
sage


Reged: 01/19/09

Loc: North Vancouver, BC, Canada
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: coopfore1]
      #3551020 - 01/10/10 02:53 AM

just got it...and I live on the coast.

Here in Vancouver it usually doesn't drop below freezing...so around 1-2 degrees Celsius.

what 35 degree F?

Edited by Smo (01/10/10 02:55 AM)


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coopfore1
super member


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: Smo]
      #3551055 - 01/10/10 03:52 AM

Smo I saw you were in Canada. I thought you might have been in some colder weather than here in Illinois. Its -10 f here right now and my mount is not happy about it. I wanted to do some web cams of Mars, tonight, but its not going to happen....

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coopfore1
super member


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: coopfore1]
      #3551059 - 01/10/10 03:56 AM

Anyone else having problems ?

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Kaizu
sage


Reged: 08/17/07

Loc: Finland
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: coopfore1]
      #3551089 - 01/10/10 04:39 AM

No problems with G11. Just "warm started" from -23C (-10F) and worked properly.

Kaizu


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Lane
Post Laureate


Reged: 11/19/07

Loc: Frisco, Texas
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: Kaizu]
      #3551162 - 01/10/10 06:25 AM

On my celestron CGEM - At 21 degrees F the object information messages that scroll sideways across the hand controller screen are blurred. The words blur together because the previous word on the screen takes a full second to fade out. So you have 2 or sometimes 3 letters on top of each other. Almost impossible to read.

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Arbacia
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 04/18/07

Loc: Madrid, Spain
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: Lane]
      #3551191 - 01/10/10 07:00 AM

Lane, search for mods for heating the screen of the Nexstar hand control. It is necesary to keep warm enough the screen.

Alternatively, put the hand control inside of a warm pocket of your jacket (should be a good idea to use then a telephone extension cable 6p6C)or attach with a rubber band a hand warmer sac to the back of the nexstar Hand control.

Patricio


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galacticphoto
super member


Reged: 11/12/09

Loc: Huntsville, AL and Atlanta, Ga
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: denjo]
      #3551378 - 01/10/10 09:53 AM

Never a problem w/ the MI-250 (uses the Gemini electronics as w/ Losmandy), but the Celestron HCs do have some problems (especially the display) if the temp is below 20 deg or so. Use the Laptop for control, and all is ok, since the mount still works fine.

Robert


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noah way
sage
*****

Reged: 11/04/09

Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: galacticphoto]
      #3551661 - 01/10/10 12:05 PM

I run out of cold tolerance long before the mount does.

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bseltzer
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/28/07

Loc: East S.F.Bay, CA
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: noah way]
      #3551692 - 01/10/10 12:20 PM

Quote:

I run out of cold tolerance long before the mount does.




Amen, brother!

-Bert


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Telescopeman54
Vendor - Trapezium Telescopes & Services, LLC.
*****

Reged: 08/17/07

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: noah way]
      #3551694 - 01/10/10 12:21 PM

We were out last night in 0F temps with a 10 - 15 mph breeze. Finally caved in after 5-1/2 hours. The sky was quite clear but the seeing was horrible!

The Mini Towers and MT Pro which we were testing all worked well. They held up much better than we did even though we were wearing snow mobile suits and had heaters in our boots! I'm still trying to thaw out!

Steve


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: coopfore1]
      #3551719 - 01/10/10 12:29 PM

Quote:

anyone have an idea on how to keep mounts warm?




Most often, it's not the mount you have to keep warm, it's the battery and hand controller. Most mounts begin to have trouble in the cold not because they are freezing up, but because cold puts an awful strain on batteries--voltage drops and the mount begins to have trouble. Hand controllers? Main problem is LCD displays, which start gettin' sluggish at about 32F.


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coopfore1
super member


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: rmollise]
      #3551771 - 01/10/10 12:52 PM

Thanks Rod, It was about -10 last night so it was pretty cold. The battery was showing full charge. Everytime I moved the scope in ra it would keep moving until power was shut down. Would this be consistant with power problem or motor sticking. The hand control was unreadable at one point. So I warmed it,but ra still would not work properly. Any ideas

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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: coopfore1]
      #3551987 - 01/10/10 02:44 PM

Quote:

Thanks Rod, It was about -10 last night so it was pretty cold. The battery was showing full charge. Everytime I moved the scope in ra it would keep moving until power was shut down. Would this be consistant with power problem or motor sticking. The hand control was unreadable at one point. So I warmed it,but ra still would not work properly. Any ideas




Yep, sounds like a power issue...and...yes...cold is hell on batteries.


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gnowellsct
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/24/09

Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: rmollise]
      #3552904 - 01/10/10 09:34 PM

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/extremeastronomy

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coopfore1
super member


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: gnowellsct]
      #3553271 - 01/11/10 01:24 AM

Thanks everyone. Well I powered the mount with a 4 amp power supply, instead of the battery. I am using a cigar lighter plug maybe thats the problem? I still have ra problem. I think I will wait for the temp to warm up before i mess with it any longer. Maybe Some moisture got into the connections, motor or hc...Thanks

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HunterofPhotons
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Loc: Rhode Island, USA
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: coopfore1]
      #3553850 - 01/11/10 11:16 AM

Quote:

... I am using a cigar lighter plug maybe thats the problem? I still have ra problem.....




Cigar lighter plugs don't make great contact even in the best of times. If you examine one, you'll find that areas of contact are small, the springs that pressure the metal contacts are weak, and any bit of corrosion on the contact points will interfere with the flow of current.
On any new piece of equipment that I get, I remove the cigar lighter connectors and replace them with connectors that make solid connections.

dan


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mich_al
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/10/09

Loc: Rural central lower Michigan ...
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: HunterofPhotons]
      #3553990 - 01/11/10 12:16 PM

My CGEM has been well behaved so far down to 4deg F. Only the scrolling display on the hand controller has been a problem. It's only used to show info on an object. I've got a dew strip on its back but I may need more.

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coopfore1
super member


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: mich_al]
      #3554955 - 01/11/10 08:17 PM

My cgem is working once again. I took off the front polar cap. Then directed some warm heat from a hair dryer on low setting onto the mount housing for a few minutes. now the mount seems to work ok. It is about 30 degrees warmer here today. So I still really do not know what the problem was. Connectors,cold hc,moisture in the motor,uneven power,cigar plug??? I am thinking Rod was probably correct it was aweful cold so my battery was not working properly. Anyhow Thank You to everyone who helped with suggestions. Gary

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gnowellsct
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/24/09

Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: coopfore1]
      #3555377 - 01/11/10 11:41 PM

A common problem is that the worm gear begins to bind at cold temperatures. It may need to be adjusted for a looser setting on a go-to mount. If the worm gear is binding you may get stalling which might look like a power problem.

Heating the hand controller is critical. I'm sure the circuit boards work but the LCD display will not, and if the LCD display is not working than nothing else is.

The AP mounts that are used at -75 F are not "out of the box." They have been adjusted and special lubricants are used.

One of the reasons why I prefer my two stepper mounts to go-to is that they are so nearly as I can tell impervious to cold, and demand no adjustments whatsoever from summer time to dead of winter. The coldest I go out is about -10F after that it ceases to be fun.

regards
Greg N


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Lane
Post Laureate


Reged: 11/19/07

Loc: Frisco, Texas
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: gnowellsct]
      #3555429 - 01/12/10 12:08 AM

Another thing I noticed is that the focusing on my C9.25 is really sluggish at 21 degrees. I think the grease must get sticky or something because when I stop turning the focus knob the mirror is still slowly moving for a second or two afterwards. Makes it very hard to find exact focus.

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Darenwh
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 05/11/06

Loc: Covington, GA
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: coopfore1]
      #3555660 - 01/12/10 07:22 AM

Quote:

anyone have an idea on how to keep mounts warm?




I'm all for moving to Maui or the Big Island of Hawaii as a solution. Sure, up on top of the mountains it can get cold at night but you can all ways observe from closer to sea level and still have better skies than 90% of the continental US. Great thing is it takes care of the cold for both the mount and you. Yes, you may need a light to medium weight coat, unless your my wife, she still needs a snow suit, but over all you will be comfortable.


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nik hodges
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/20/07

Loc: UK
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: gnowellsct]
      #3555884 - 01/12/10 10:32 AM

Quote:


The AP mounts that are used at -75 F are not "out of the box." They have been adjusted and special lubricants are used.





i fact they have no lubricants, apart from that as far as i am aware they are stock mounts


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Takman
sage


Reged: 02/25/09

Loc: Maple, ON - Canada
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: coopfore1]
      #3557852 - 01/13/10 09:42 AM

I find that once I reach sub-zero (Celsius) temperatures, my CG-5 stutters at times. It tracks without a problem.

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coopfore1
super member


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: Lane]
      #3558294 - 01/13/10 01:39 PM

At -12 f saturday night I was afraid to use my focuser. I could barely turn it. The cgem was not working properly either. Think the battery was way to cold. Gary

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coopfore1
super member


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: coopfore1]
      #3560148 - 01/14/10 10:39 AM Attachment (58 downloads)

How cold is too cold ? -60c

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rob0260
super member


Reged: 01/31/09

Loc: Teulon, Mb., Canada
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: coopfore1]
      #3560233 - 01/14/10 11:13 AM

I live in central Canada and my LXD75 has seen -30c temps with no problem. I don't have to worry about batteries because I have power in my observatory and a good power supply. I don't usually observe any colder than that. I have set my max slew rate back a notch and that seems to help. The only issue is the display on the hand controller has to be looked at using a slighty differnt angle in order to be able to read it. Hot shots in my gloves and warm clothes and I'm good to go.

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coopfore1
super member


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: rob0260]
      #3560874 - 01/14/10 04:30 PM

Rob0260 What are you using for a power supply

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gnowellsct
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/24/09

Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: nik hodges]
      #3561114 - 01/14/10 07:05 PM

Quote:

Quote:


The AP mounts that are used at -75 F are not "out of the box." They have been adjusted and special lubricants are used.





i fact they have no lubricants, apart from that as far as i am aware they are stock mounts




Well I've read otherwise, but it has been awhile. A mount without lubricant is not stock. The worm gear does need a non-standard adjustment if memory serves. (adjustments for temps around 0 F are found at the end of the instructions)

regards
greg n


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coopfore1
super member


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: gnowellsct]
      #3561294 - 01/14/10 08:41 PM

The photo above is the astro physics mount in question. It has no lube and is made out of a special aircraft aluminum...

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scope dog
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/26/04

Loc: USA
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: coopfore1]
      #3561578 - 01/14/10 11:07 PM

Really neat. I recall reading about that years ago, I think in S&T.
My only question is, What kind of dew heater is used, like a 30,000 watt . Just joking. I recall reading there were 2 AP1200 mounts place there, is this system is still being used? I forget the type of telescope I want to guess a C14.


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Brian L
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/17/08

Loc: The garden paradise of Pittsbu...
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: denjo]
      #3561581 - 01/14/10 11:08 PM

Quote:

When does your mount start getting unhappy with the cold?




Long after I do!


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vkhastro1
sage
*****

Reged: 08/21/05

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: Brian L]
      #3561616 - 01/14/10 11:31 PM

My cold record was for photographing Comet Hale-Bopp in the midwinter of 1997. The comet was in Cygnus. I set up a C8
with a power pack and various telephoto lens ranging from
24mm to 200mm with my Pentax ME camera.
I spent 4 hours in total. The temperature was -40 degrees C which equals -40 degrees F. It was so cold that the trees
were snapping like twigs. All the equipment quickly became
covered in a heavy white blanket - called hoarfrost.
The telescope and photography system worked fine but my health didn't fair as well. I had frost bite in the tips
of my fingers on both hands. I tried to get to sleep after
returning home and couldn't - the burning in my finger tips was unbelieveable. I went to the hospital and was
diagnosed with frostbite. My fingertips were numb for over
one month and blisters kept appearing for almost 6 weeks!
One learns fast from an experience like that - no observing below -10 degrees C.


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bdawg6381
sage
*****

Reged: 12/04/08

Loc: Blacksburg, VA
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: Darenwh]
      #3562285 - 01/15/10 11:06 AM

Quote:

Yes, you may need a light to medium weight coat, unless your my wife, she still needs a snow suit, but over all you will be comfortable.




HA! I know this feeling... I can be in shorts and she'll have a sweater on - I think this is her main gripe with observing - needless to say, she's not out there with me that often and I don't have enough funds for the duct tape/hand warmers it would take to keep her out there (now that I think about it even if I did she would have to stand far away to not mess up my seeing ).


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Kaizu
sage


Reged: 08/17/07

Loc: Finland
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: bdawg6381]
      #3562338 - 01/15/10 11:34 AM

Some times I've said something wrong and spent the next night out. I have to be very carefull if there is -40C out.
About the electronics, the "toy electronics" is normally specified between 0C to 55C. Some cameras may work at -10C.
Normally the electronics own heat keeps them in the operating area but have you tried to start them if they have been long out?

Kaizu


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mountain monk
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/06/09

Loc: Grand Teton National Park
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: Kaizu]
      #3562843 - 01/15/10 03:45 PM

OK, Coopfore1, you win! My hat is off (briefly) to anyone observing in those conditions. I can observe at -30 (in NW Wyoming), but it is not fun. -10 is about my limit for fun. I would imagine that the person observing at the site in your photograph is working for damn good wages!

mm


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coopfore1
super member


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: mountain monk]
      #3563054 - 01/15/10 05:35 PM

Well it is nothing to do with me. I believe it is a French team in antartica. And I am not taking my hat off LOL. You can see more photos and even a short video. It is all on the astro physics site. Pretty interesting go check it out...

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denjo
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/25/05

Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: coopfore1]
      #3563662 - 01/16/10 12:06 AM Attachment (58 downloads)

Coopfore1, looks like it was cold on this night.

denjo


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coopfore1
super member


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: denjo]
      #3567046 - 01/17/10 07:48 PM

yea

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guyroch
Vendor (BackyardEOS)
*****

Reged: 01/22/08

Loc: Under the clouds!
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: denjo]
      #3567052 - 01/17/10 07:50 PM

Quote:

Coopfore1, looks like it was cold on this night.

denjo




Wow! That ice must certainly add weight to your setup.


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coopfore1
super member


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: guyroch]
      #3578168 - 01/23/10 01:43 AM

I bet it did add weight. Funny thing I was not using the newt that night . We were using the sct in the background. Probably a good thing . I am sure the ice had thrown the balance way off....

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rob0260
super member


Reged: 01/31/09

Loc: Teulon, Mb., Canada
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: coopfore1]
      #3578230 - 01/23/10 03:09 AM

Gary, I am using the Meade Universal AC power supply, model 07577 and it supplies 5 amps. More than enough power for the lxd75.

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wmyers
super member


Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: High Point, NC
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: rob0260]
      #3581982 - 01/24/10 09:29 PM

I've used my Atlas EQ-G several evenings when the temps were between 5 and 10 deg F. The mount and hand controller both worked flawlessly.

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coopfore1
super member


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: rob0260]
      #3582256 - 01/25/10 12:06 AM

Quote:

Gary, I am using the Meade Universal AC power supply, model 07577 and it supplies 5 amps. More than enough power for the lxd75.


Rob thanks I was using a 3 amp power supply. I think the cgem needs like 2.5 amps to run correctly, So the 3 amp probably was not enough in -10 degree f to keep the correct voltage coming thru cleanly.

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gnowellsct
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/24/09

Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: vkhastro1]
      #3582298 - 01/25/10 12:57 AM

Quote:

I went to the hospital and was
diagnosed with frostbite. My fingertips were numb for over
one month and blisters kept appearing for almost 6 weeks!
One learns fast from an experience like that - no observing below -10 degrees C.




-40F is too cold. At that temp you're really struggling to survive. To put a limit at -10C (around 14F) is however a bit too far in the other direction. I consider my limit -10F/-20C and have been OK with that. But it requires very heavy boots, two pairs of socks, ski pants or ski bib over the jeans, merino wool long sleeve shirt, an insulating vest, then a very heavy duty coat: I chose a Wiggy's over the Canada Goose models that are used in the antarctic. Down wears out over time.

I was so warm at 6F that I had my coat unzipped. When the wind picked up a little later I zipped it up. I've got a face guard but don't often have to use it.

I guess if you've had frostbite you stay sensitive to cold in the places that were affected so maybe it's a good idea not to take chances, but 14F (-10C) is pretty much standard procedure for me.

We have a club member who writes for sky and tel and goes out in temperatures that are colder than what I tolerate, but she's near her house, and can pop in and out.

regards
Greg N


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Scott99
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/10/07

Loc: New England
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: gnowellsct]
      #3582864 - 01/25/10 11:41 AM

Quote:

We have a club member who writes for sky and tel and goes out in temperatures that are colder than what I tolerate, but she's near her house, and can pop in and out.

regards
Greg N




that is the key for me, I'll go out in my yard down to about 0, but it's easy when you can leisurely "suit up" in your warm house, set up the equipment and run inside while it cools down.

at remote site I've never gone when it's below the upper teens. But we usually get high winds on the very cold clear nights. Even if it's warm I'm not going to set up in 20+ mph winds, everything is blurry.

If there's no wind it's not hard to stay warm at very cold temps if you layer up.

The Mars opposition is getting me out there, I expect I'll be pushing my lower limit in the next 5-6 weeks to see it while it's big, fortunately it's visible from my patio


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coopfore1
super member


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: Scott99]
      #3590733 - 01/29/10 02:05 AM

Well, I have decided to stay on the + side of the zero. Too much trouble for an old guy like me, to be out below 0 degrees. + 15 or 20f is going to be my new limit..LOL

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Scott99
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/10/07

Loc: New England
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: coopfore1]
      #3592320 - 01/29/10 08:17 PM

Ahhhhh, mostly clear forecast for tonight! Any takers???

>>Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 3. Wind chill values as low as -12. Breezy, with a west wind between 11 and 21 mph, with gusts as high as 37 mph.


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Dwight J
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/14/09

Loc: Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: Scott99]
      #3592363 - 01/29/10 08:35 PM

I live in Southern Alberta (lat 49 deg, 42 min N) and used to go out regardless of temp when I was much younger. Now I limit myself to about - 10 C as I can't tolerate colder than that for long. I used to use a Super C8 with a drive corrector connected to the car battery and had no troubles up to - 30. Then I had to sit in the car and warm up after just setting up. It just became more and more difficult to get out the warm car to observe or photograph, especially manually guiding. Electric socks and gloves helped a little. My later goto mounts like Lxd 55 and EQ6 had handcontroller issues about -15 C - a chemical handwarmer helped them. In the colder weather now I spend in a warm shed imaging with the mount in the cold. I found that a dew zapper wrapped around the motors really helped.

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coopfore1
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Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: il
Re: How cold is too cold new [Re: Dwight J]
      #3594756 - 01/31/10 01:13 AM

Clear here right now. I'm not going out. Call me what you will. LOL... Low of 5 to 10. Just built a fire in the old wood stove.ahhh

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