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Brrrrr.. whats too cold?

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#1 equalsme


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Posted 06 September 2017 - 08:52 PM

Well tonight it will get down to 44 deg. The dew point and humidity have been soring during the evenings lately. Almost getting too cold and too humid/dew to observe. Hopefully later this fall the air will dry out.


Whats too cold to observe for you? Tricks to stay warm?

#2 overnight



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Posted 06 September 2017 - 09:03 PM

Too cold for observing for me is when I can't feel my fingers ohmy.gif

To stay warm, I'd say lots and lots of jackets, blankets, thermals, and hot beverages ubetcha.gif

Edited by overnight, 06 September 2017 - 09:03 PM.

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#3 DoctorNoodle


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Posted 06 September 2017 - 09:18 PM

When it gets below 35° my eyes start watering. No point in staying out.

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#4 brian1052


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Posted 06 September 2017 - 09:19 PM

I was born and raised in florida so I'm not a cold weather person. I hate to go out if its bellow 50 but  I will go out in 30's for good seeing. A little johnny walkers may not really make it warmer but it seems to helpgrin.gif

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#5 Kyphoron


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Posted 06 September 2017 - 09:20 PM

I have observed in negative temps and probably still will if the night is clear. The key to observing in very low temps is many layers of clothing to keep the heat in and a good real pair of "Micky Boots" those things are amazing.


Also your body looses heat from two places the most, your head and your feet. For my head I normally wear a knitted hat with a hoodie and face protector. I wear besides the micky boots hunting socks over thermal socks and one little trick I learned is your feet don't get as cold if they never touch the ground. How do I do this you say? Well go to your local hardware store and buy a welcome mat and stand on that when your observing. It makes a HUGE difference. The ground drains a lot of heat from your body and anything you can do to insulate yourself from the ground will help keep you warmer. One last trick is to get a pair of wrist bands and under them along your inner wrist put a chemical heater. If you warm the blood running to your hands they stay warm longer.

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#6 leveye



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Posted 06 September 2017 - 09:21 PM

Until I feel cold....lol Under 40 it gets scketchy

Edited by leveye, 06 September 2017 - 09:21 PM.

#7 oshimitsu


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Posted 06 September 2017 - 09:25 PM

As long as my laptop and DSLR will operate I'll go out lol. My first year imaging I kept a remote shutter stuffed in my gloves to keep it working haha

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#8 MikeTahtib



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Posted 06 September 2017 - 09:51 PM

Don't forget long underwear or some sort of sweat pants under your regular pants.  We all have layers of shirts, sweaters, jackets for our uper body, but not much for legs and lower torso.  A pair of really thick thermal socks and good boots helps.  My last trip to a dark site was helped by chamical hand warmers from REI.  I was wearing Carr-Hart pants with lower thigh pockets, so I could put a hand warmer in each of 6 pockets in my pants.  That was pretty nice.  I've heard you can get re-usable hand warmers, but not sure where or how they work.

Frequent trips back into the house to consult hte star atlas work well, too.

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#9 t_image



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Posted 06 September 2017 - 09:52 PM

Cheers to you all out there champions of the cold!waytogo.gif

Handling the cool nights of the desert would be enough for me, not a fan of the cold.....

I could handle it bundled up if I were doing something active......

But the calm of observing is so contrary to staying warm and comfortable to appreciate the moment..

I'm all about technology that allows my camera to have a realtime view of the sky while I control my mount from inside the warmth of a vehicle or home.....

But thanks for the interesting tips (blood warm/keeping feet off the ground)......

Seeing some of the posts about dealing with cold weather almost makes me think it is possible to do it and stay warm!!!!!

#10 Alex McConahay

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 09:54 PM

>>>>>>Well tonight it will get down to 44 deg. The dew point and humidity have been soring during the evenings lately. Almost getting too cold and too humid/dew to observe. Hopefully later this fall the air will dry out.

>>>>>>>Whats too cold to observe for you? Tricks to stay warm?


C'mon, dude.......We still have twelve days of SUMMER left. Can we hold this discussion off for a few months. 


(Okay, I'm in Southern California, and you are in Minnesota. But still.......)



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#11 magnitude 5

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 10:13 PM

There is no such thing as bad weather, only poor clothing/gear choices.  Learn this and you'll spend much more time outside, and not just for astronomy.  :)

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#12 Spike13



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Posted 06 September 2017 - 10:33 PM

Long johns, Carhearts, full face knit ski hat, thermal hunting boots, and lots of walking if the automation software is working good.

#13 jeremiah2229


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Posted 06 September 2017 - 10:57 PM

Last winter there were two back to back nights at 17° F and it was perfect, steady observing. Not the first wrinkle in the sky, perfect, just perfect. I froze and would not come in and surrender to the cold. Each morning when I did call it quits I couldn't bend my fingers and had to come inside to thaw just to get the gear back in. But, it was worth it.  :)




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#14 Knasal


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Posted 06 September 2017 - 11:14 PM

+1 to Magnitude 5! I've observed many hours in single digit temperatures with wind chill below zero (edit: but no wind!)


A recent addition to my wardrobe was a battery powered heated vest from Cabela's. That and chemical hand warmers and toe warmers in the boots and I'm good! 


I do draw the line with many degrees below zero ambient air temperature - temps in in the -10's or below (and add wind chill to that).


Hey, it's Wisconsin - it can be snowing here in October and in May. If I just stayed inside all those months, life wouldn't be fun for me. As I get older, it gets harder to do, but that doesn't make me want to stop ("yet"  - I know my time will come). 



Edited by Knasal, 07 September 2017 - 08:54 AM.

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#15 Cajundaddy


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Posted 06 September 2017 - 11:18 PM

I generally will layer up and stay out until around 32F, then pack it in.  This only happens really in Jan-Feb around here.

#16 Redbetter


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Posted 06 September 2017 - 11:20 PM

I have pulled long sessions down to about 5 F in the past (in still, dry air) but not here.  Where I am now I rarely have the opportunity to observe much below 25F although I get a fair number of nights that dip into the 25 - 32F range-- either at altitude before the snows set in or low foothills during the winter.  As long as there is not a strong breeze I am good.  I use layers and particularly a layer to cut the wind when needed.  


Main problem here is that it doesn't get cold enough to get dry and clear.  Instead there is a lot of dew and some frost because temps are crossing the freezing point or hovering just above.  The combination of wet and cold chills my fingers when trying to write or do eyepiece swaps (and the dew requires swaps.)  I take fewer notes and do less sketching in late Fall through Winter as a result.  It is also tricky to keep my charts and my notes from becoming wet, although I have developed a partial solution. 


Since I do a lot of standing and ladder climbing I stay warmer than when viewing seated.  Around midnight to 1am I usually take a hot chocolate and snack break in the cab of the truck to plan the run for the rest of the night depending on what the sky is doing. 

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#17 petert913


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Posted 06 September 2017 - 11:29 PM

I've observed at 29F here in Oregon on a January night.  That was cold enough for me !

#18 airbleeder



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Posted 06 September 2017 - 11:32 PM

   I'm ok down to the low to mid 20's f with Carhart insulated overalls, a flannel shirt, hoodie and uninsulated Carhart jacket over thin polypropeline underwear. My feet get too warm in insulated boots so I wear plain cotton socks and uninsulated leather boots. If my hands get cold I just put them in my pockets for a minute because I don't wear gloves. 

#19 msl615


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Posted 06 September 2017 - 11:37 PM

Hi.... I live in Fairbanks, Alaska and for us, darkness = cold. I regularly observe down to about -20F and will go down to -30F for a special event. At those temps, no electronics, no GOTO, no motors, etc. Totally manual and I exclusively use older Vixen Polaris, Super Polaris, & Great Polaris that I have relubed with ultra-cold grease. Never a problem with dew (bone dry) and usually very good seeing, dark skies, etc. Many nights I abandon the scopes if the northern lights spin up and I watch those instead. I have great fun doing this and have posted a lot here on CN about the details of working at those temps. Optics are fine, but have to be careful about how to take them in and out.

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#20 Traveler



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Posted 06 September 2017 - 11:58 PM

I happen to know that there are big differences between how cold wether feels. In Canada for example we can camp or hike when temperatures are -4 Fahrenheit (- 20 Celsius) and comfortable with that. Here in my country however, when temperatures are dropping below 25 fahrenheit (-4 Celsius) observing is not getting very funny anymore.

Also, when i am already tired from a working day for example, observing at low temperatures are much more of a challenge then when i am fit and relaxed, 

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#21 penguinx64



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Posted 07 September 2017 - 05:42 AM

It's too cold when my eyepiece lenses fog up from the moisture in my eyeballs, and the moisture turns to frost when I look away.  What do I do to keep warm?  Jaegermeister!

#22 woodbuck


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Posted 07 September 2017 - 06:06 AM

as long as its not windy it doesn't bother me to much, but I've also been known to go out and do stuff in the worst weather possible just because I can, I like to think of it as being adventurous and tough, but others have used different terms to describe it.  The best transparency where I live usually is when its cold.  The deal breaker for me is hot weather anything 80F or above I don't care for.  Like others have said the key to the cold is bundling up and not breathing on the eyepiece!

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#23 KLWalsh



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Posted 07 September 2017 - 06:11 AM

I buy packs of those 'Hot Hands' dry chemical warmers for my boots and gloves. Sometimes I'll have 6 working at the same time, one of the foot-type in each boot, and two in each glove.
I bought an AC/DC battery inverter for my camera, since the battery dies fast once the temp gets below 40F, and run my laptop off AC too, of course.
I've got a thermal underwear top and leggings, and ski pants I wear over my jeans. One of those Russian style hats with the ear muffs completes my ensemble.
I know...! It's a shame to waste my fashion sense observing at night. I should be modeling in New York. LOL
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#24 Jim4321



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Posted 07 September 2017 - 06:34 AM

The pricey thin "UnderArmor"-type stuff is not nearly as warm as the cheap waffle-weave long john's, IMO.


Jim H.

Edited by Jim4321, 07 September 2017 - 06:34 AM.

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#25 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 06:51 AM

My dark sky site is in the high desert at an elevation of about 3700 feet.  In the winter it gets pretty, sometimes into the 20s but mostly it's just above freezing.  But it's windy a calm night is under 10mph, a normal night is 10-20mph and some nights it's more.  Last winter there was a night when my little weather station said it was 33F and the wind speed was 20-30mph the entire night.  


I lasted 2 hours before calling it quits.. 


My typical winter clothing starts with thermal underwear, on top that I wear sweat pants and my jeans.  For extra protection I have a couple of pairs of snowboarding pants.  On my upper body, it's the thermal underwear, a heavy sweatshirt, a flannel shirt and a heavy jacket I bought while visiting my sister in law in Maine.  For extra protection I wear a down parka under the heavy jacket.  For me head I wear a fur trappers hat.  For me feet, I wear thermal socks insulated boots.  


The wind is what gets to me.  And as I get older, it seems I am more sensitive to the temperature. 10 years ago, even 5 years ago, I didn't need to be so bundled up.  But I am nearly 70, I just don't have the resistance to the cold I once had.



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