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REALLY, REALLY, REALLY SICK OF CLOUDY NIGHT - THE WEATHER THAT IS...

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#101 NorthField

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 09:00 PM

Here in Missouri the 'Missouri Nebula' has been prevalent all winter.
It has been clear only when sub-zero and during full moon periods.
My scope is gathering dust in my garage.
I am convinced moon rays dissipate clouds. The brighter the moon - the clearer the skies.


Missouri Nebula...

Ha!!!

( waiting for the ambulance guys with the straight jacket to get here )

#102 Astrola72

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 11:04 PM

If this year is as bad as last, I'm bailing. Really. Sell it all and go back to bird photography. You can do that in any weather!

 

Joe



#103 Umasscrew39

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 05:34 AM

I moved to the Orlando, FL area from San Francisco 10 months ago and built an expensive observatory.  I can honestly say that we have had only about 10-12 really nice nights to observe DSOs.  It is getting so depressing and discouraging that I recently considered switching to star spectra analysis or even radio astronomy. 



#104 TareqPhoto

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 07:52 AM

I moved to the Orlando, FL area from San Francisco 10 months ago and built an expensive observatory.  I can honestly say that we have had only about 10-12 really nice nights to observe DSOs.  It is getting so depressing and discouraging that I recently considered switching to star spectra analysis or even radio astronomy. 

Come to my country for about 1 week or 10 days, maybe nearly summer, bring your finest gear, not all of them, just finest such as AP mount and Esprit and CCD camera and your laptop, i welcome you to my house, i will watch you doing your setup and then you can do AP from my yard, at least with LP is better than cloudy bad seeing completely, i am sure you will have enough images in those time that is equal the whole year in your area maybe, in addition you traveled and had vacation and learnt about another culture.


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#105 APshooter

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 11:56 PM

 

I moved to the Orlando, FL area from San Francisco 10 months ago and built an expensive observatory.  I can honestly say that we have had only about 10-12 really nice nights to observe DSOs.  It is getting so depressing and discouraging that I recently considered switching to star spectra analysis or even radio astronomy.

I built my observatory in 2013.  2016 was my best year so far, 151hrs imaging.  2017: 79.6 hrs.  Last year I managed about 5 hrs one one target, 2 nights this year.  What I'm wondering is, is this cloudy weather a short term blip or a long term trend?



#106 TareqPhoto

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 08:49 AM

I built my observatory in 2013.  2016 was my best year so far, 151hrs imaging.  2017: 79.6 hrs.  Last year I managed about 5 hrs one one target, 2 nights this year.  What I'm wondering is, is this cloudy weather a short term blip or a long term trend?

It is a North America and Europe trademark lol.gif lol.gif lol.gif grin.gif



#107 cfosterstars

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 05:09 PM

Well all the good forecast has clouded over - as I expected. I can never trust any forecast for more than about 48 hours. I am no officially out of things I can do without new data and I cant work on my next rig upgrade until I finish my current project on the Running man nebula. I am also losing more and more time each night that the RM is visible between my trees. I am now down to only about 3.5 hours per night that I even could collect any data and I still need 24 hours of additional data to complete the project. 



#108 APshooter

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 06:25 PM

I bought a RASA IN the hopes of gathering enough data in one night to complete an image. Time will tell if the gamble has paid off. As luck would have it, there is one clear night coming up, but I don't have the Rasa yet nor the 1600MM ordered.

Edited by APshooter, 23 February 2019 - 07:00 PM.


#109 cfosterstars

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 08:56 PM

Well, I am working on a 2 panel mosaic with 40 hours of exposure with 7 filters for each panel. I guess I am just cursed. I really try to get serious time on target but this may now require more than a year to complete.



#110 APshooter

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 12:40 AM

Forty hours?  I did a calculation based on last years' imaging time.  For me to get a forty hour image would take me eight years!  I'll be 67 by then.  And that's still only 1 image.  To shoot the entire Messier catalog?  110 years.  Yikes.


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#111 cfosterstars

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 07:37 PM

Forty hours?  I did a calculation based on last years' imaging time.  For me to get a forty hour image would take me eight years!  I'll be 67 by then.  And that's still only 1 image.  To shoot the entire Messier catalog?  110 years.  Yikes.

Its actually a two panel mosaic so it really 80 hours of total integration time. I still need 22 hours to finish the Running man panel. I have the Ha, most of the LUM and about 1/2 the SII - still need the rest.



#112 WesC

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 11:01 AM

My longest total integration is just under 30 hours... with the 8300 sensor the more integration the better, especially with OIII and SII, but I’m really lucky if I get 10 hours combined. I need a ton of integration to get past the sky glow and light pollution here in LA.

 

Thats why I bought the ASI1600, I’m hoping to get better images with less total time (last summer’s results were promising). But no camera can shoot through the endless clouds, smoke, haze and rain we’ve had in SoCal since last  September. We’ve had almost 25” of rain since October... which we desperately need, so I really shouldn’t complain.

 

Anhway, A couple of scattered clear nights here and there don’t give me enough time to get out and shoot a project. Most of them have been during galaxy season anyway.

 

More rain this week and next weekend and no clear nights in the forecast for the next 14 days. bawling.gif



#113 cfosterstars

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 07:34 PM

It continues to completely suck for the weather. February was a complete wash out with no data at all. This Sunday has a clear forecast, but that keeps meaning nothing. I hope I can get some stars - but I am not holding my breath.


Edited by cfosterstars, 02 March 2019 - 09:26 PM.


#114 APshooter

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 07:40 PM

Rain and snow forecast all this week and into next. Typical of March weather here. The good news is I pick up my Rasa next Friday. Camera is available, but filters are on backorder still. Looking for clear skies either April or May.

#115 Jon Rista

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Posted 03 March 2019 - 12:07 AM

Last year, it was cloudy from the end of the first week of February, through about mid March. There were small handful of partially clear nights (literally, five total), mostly near the end of April, and every one of them landed on a bright gibbous our dead full moon. Every other night was cloudy...basically cloudy for months strait from Feb through April. The only times it ever seemed to clear up was during the day.

 

The year before that, it was cloudy from late January through March, then March through June.

 

And, of course, once the long stretches of cloudy nights are past, you still only get a few clear nights here and there each month, and late fall/early winter is usually also a month or two of mostly solid clouds.

 

The key is to be prepared for the one clear night that comes, and to make the best use of it possible. After the cloudy first half of the year, I had some nights in August, a few in Sept, a couple in Oct, and a couple more in Nov. Despite there just being a few clear nights each month, when the entire night is clear, you can image the whole night long if you are automated. You can then acquire data on many objects concurrently, a few hours per object each night for anywhere from 6 to 12 (maybe even 14, depending on how far north you are) hours each night. Over several months, you can acquire tens of hours of data per object, and end up with tens of hours per object for many objects.

 

I've been working through my backlog since 7/31 last year (which is when I finally got my Mach 1 set up and running, after waiting 7 months to get it!! I guess I pre-paid my cloudy night dues on that one. :lol:) It turns out I ended up getting data on quite a few objects. Some just a few hours, but several I've got tens of hours on, despite the relatively sparse clear nights. So my multiple targets per night strategy seems to be working out pretty well.

 

I built my observatory in 2013.  2016 was my best year so far, 151hrs imaging.  2017: 79.6 hrs.  Last year I managed about 5 hrs one one target, 2 nights this year.  What I'm wondering is, is this cloudy weather a short term blip or a long term trend?

What do you consider long term?

 

I've been studying longer-ish and long term weather patterns for a while now. What I've come to learn is that there are ~18-19 year weather cycles, and they largely follow the 18.6 year lunar cycle. You can generally expect weather patterns within this cycle to follow a fairly consistent pattern...however, it is, after all...18-19 years which is a pretty long time, and it is not always exact...it might be 17, might be 21. Within this cycle, there are periods where cloudcover is higher, periods where it is lower. Periods that are wetter, periods that are drier. 

 

Problem is, these cycles are overlaid on much longer cycles, spanning decades to tens of decades to hundreds of years. These follow longer term solar cycles (the solar cycle is actually 22 years, with overlapping sets of sun spots that persist for about 11 years on average, but can range anywhere from 8 to 15 years long). The even longer term cycles follow planetary orbits, particularly Jupiter followed by Saturn, and these cycles cover 200/400 year periods or so. 

 

From what I can tell, we are falling into the trough of one of the very long cycles, where we enter Maunder Minimum. This is a period of almost non-existent solar sunspot activity, which can have a rather dramatic impact on global climate, particularly cloud cover. 

 

So...long term? As in...a few years? We may see cloud cover levels change with the lunar cycle. But, if we are indeed entering a Maunder Minimum period of solar activity...that could have a more significant effect on cloud cover that overpowers the 18.6 year lunar cycle. In that case, we may indeed be in for some very LONG term heavier cloud cover patterns... :sigh:



#116 APshooter

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Posted 03 March 2019 - 01:58 AM

 

So...long term? As in...a few years? We may see cloud cover levels change with the lunar cycle. But, if we are indeed entering a Maunder Minimum period of solar activity...that could have a more significant effect on cloud cover that overpowers the 18.6 year lunar cycle. In that case, we may indeed be in for some very LONG term heavier cloud cover patterns... :sigh:

Yes, I was thinking long term, as in decades to perhaps much longer.  I heard of droughts in the past that lasted a century or more.  I do have other hobbies that are not so weather dependent...but it would be sad if we fell into a twenty or even thirty year cloudy period...that would pretty much be the end of astronomy for me.



#117 Umasscrew39

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Posted 03 March 2019 - 06:30 AM

The key is to be prepared for the one clear night that comes, and to make the best use of it possible...........

 

 

.........But, if we are indeed entering a Maunder Minimum period of solar activity...that could have a more significant effect on cloud cover that overpowers the 18.6 year lunar cycle. In that case, we may indeed be in for some very LONG term heavier cloud cover patterns... sigh2.gif

This sounds depressing.  Problem I have with "being prepared" is I can't even get to this state because I'm trying to get my new setup working in my permanent observatory that I just competed with my scope over 11ft above ground.  So, I need quite a few hours on many clear evenings to get things working in sync which are all new to me, e.g., autofocusing with new autofocus equipment, camera back focus, and software to mention just one challenge for me going from EAA to AP.

 

Jon - nice analysis.  I just hope you are wrong or I am in for months of just trying to get the basics working to see something.frown.gif

 

Bruce 


Edited by Umasscrew39, 03 March 2019 - 06:31 AM.


#118 Jon Rista

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Posted 03 March 2019 - 03:38 PM

This sounds depressing.  Problem I have with "being prepared" is I can't even get to this state because I'm trying to get my new setup working in my permanent observatory that I just competed with my scope over 11ft above ground.  So, I need quite a few hours on many clear evenings to get things working in sync which are all new to me, e.g., autofocusing with new autofocus equipment, camera back focus, and software to mention just one challenge for me going from EAA to AP.

 

Jon - nice analysis.  I just hope you are wrong or I am in for months of just trying to get the basics working to see something.frown.gif

 

Bruce 

I dunno. Solar activity in recent years has been very low. Almost no sunspots, and they expect the next sunspot peak to have far fewer than 100 (which is extremely low, prior maunder minimums have had far fewer than 50 sunspots during peak). They have had some difficulty in determining whether Cycle 25 actually started due to the scant sunspots (solar cycles overlap, sunspots start near the poles and migrate towards the equator as the cycle peaks, then they fade at the equator as a new cycle starts at the poles). During 2017 and 2018, they seemed to be having trouble deciding whether Cycle 25 had started or when it might start. I think they are calling Cycle 25 the 2019-2030 cycle now, however I am not sure if they have stated it has officially started... Anyway, that is how scant solar activity is. 

 

Now, recent studies (actually, they were ongoing for some time but more recently concluded) have demonstrated that solar activity is very important to cloud cover. When there is higher solar activity we receive more energy and matter in the form of CMEs. When CMEs interact with Earth's magnetosphere and atmosphere, it can result in dramatic decreases in cosmic rays entering the atmosphere. The studies have shown that there is a very strong correlation between the amount of cosmic rays and cloud formation. So...when solar activity is low, cloud cover tends to be higher. During a Maunder Minimum, solar activity can be so low that there may not even be any sunspots, and may not even be anything that could really be called a solar maximum. CMEs may not occur at all, in which case the protection those CMEs provide from cosmic radiation plummets. That means higher cosmic radiation, which according to these studies would lead to more cloud formation. 

 

I don't know about anyone else, but since I started imaging in 2013, I've noticed that the amount of clear nights I get has indeed been plummeting. I think my first and second years I had over 100 clear nights. Now, it at best numbers in the couple dozen or so, if that. I am not giving up on AP yet...however, I have put a lot of effort into automation. Without automation, I wouldn't be able to take advantage of half or more of the nights that come along. I just cannot stay up all night to image anymore, and even if I could, I would be significantly less productive doing parts of my sequence manually (i.e. focus). Automation has allowed me to make pretty good use of the clear nights that do come. Narrow band has also helped, as I image through full moon most of the time, just on objects away from the moon. Even if there clear nights become more scant, I think we can still make do if we optimize our procedures. The only thing I don't have automated is an observatory with a roof that can close if weather rolls in. No room for that... I just need some kind of cloud alert to wake me up so I can go out and pack things up if clouds do roll in, and I think I'll be set.

 

FTR, the previous Maunder Minimum (and subsequent Dalton Minimum after a short spurt of activity) coincided with something called "The Little Ice Age"...if that tells you anything. :p Read up on the little ice age...it...well, yeah, for an astrophotographer it is rather depressing, but signs are pointing to a new strong solar minimum of some kind occurring....right now, and potentially lasting for 20-30 years, maybe longer. 



#119 CCD-Freak

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Posted 03 March 2019 - 04:06 PM

We have not had any sunspots in the last 31 days and 46 spotless days so far in 2019.......This impacts both my favorite hobbies....Astro Imaging and amateur radio. )^8

 

 

http://www.spaceweather.com/

 

 

 

John Love

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#120 cfosterstars

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 10:07 PM

Well over the last two and a half months I have been working extensively on capturing a target that does not get much attention - the great Texas Nebula. As most of you know that everything is bigger in Texas and so is its namesake nebula. I have now many nights of integration, but I still cant capture any of its subtle details

 

Austin Nebula.jpg

 

So I decided to try narrowband to cut through the light pollution, but still my image lacks resolution.

 

Austin Nebula NB.jpg

 

Still it looks like I have many more nights to keep getting more and more frames of this under appreciated target.

 

Comments and questions welcome.


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#121 jhayes_tucson

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 10:14 PM

Ugh.  Here's what the new moon cycle currently looks like in northern NM and it seems pretty much the same every month.   tongue2.gif tongue2.gif tongue2.gif

 

John

 

 

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#122 NorthField

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 10:22 PM

Mines changed from polar vortex/ice to hurricane force wind and rain!!!

Sooooo excited to see what happens tomorrow.. not

#123 mgn

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 05:13 AM

After 15 years of use, I've just upgraded from an EQ6 and SXVH-9 to a CEM60EQ and Trius 814 at the same time, this I believe is the correct summoning spell for several months of naff weather in the midlands UK, sorry everybody



#124 Umasscrew39

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 06:12 AM

After 15 years of use, I've just upgraded from an EQ6 and SXVH-9 to a CEM60EQ and Trius 814 at the same time, this I believe is the correct summoning spell for several months of naff weather in the midlands UK, sorry everybody

Troublemaker!!mad.gif ....... lol.gif

 

.......and now after living 10 months in central FL, about 2 nights a month of average seeing and transparency.  Above average and excellent do not exist.  I was getting so aggravated that I went out to my new observatory and decided to do some live viewing (EAA, no post-processing) anyway with below seeing just to use my equipment before more clouds moved in.  I've been trying to learn AP with a new software program but that has been futile in these conditions.  And I also used my SX Trius 814C...  this is as good as it has gets.... very frustrating.

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#125 pyrasanth

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 03:31 PM

.....A warm Spring night- the flash of a meteor across the Milky way spread out like a road in front of you- I've not seen that for so long- perhaps next month......next year...or never againfrown.gif




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