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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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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
*****

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
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
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
Pooh-Bah
*****

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
*****

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
*****

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
Pooh-Bah
*****

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
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 03/12/11

Loc: North of Hwy. 64
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
Postmaster
*****

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 [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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Happy Birthday 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
*****

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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