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Does anyone have experience observing in Cuenca Ecuador?

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#1 LasVegasMikey

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 02:28 PM

My apologies if I’m asking this question on the wrong forum. My wife and I are considering an extended vacation (3-6 months) in Cuenca. I’m pretty excited to have the opportunity to see some things that are normally not visible from North America. Unfortunately, she just read something on the internet about it being near the rain forest and only getting 2-4 hours of sunshine each day. Others have said that it rains at least a little bit every single day.

 

I’m looking for some feedback about whether or not it’s worth taking my telescope with me. (BTW, before someone suggests binoculars, I’ve got a pretty serious tremor that no longer allows me to use them. I could probably do it with a tripod, but if I’m going to that extent...).

 

What about astronomy clubs and groups? It is a college town, so maybe???

 

Any feedback will be appreciated.

Mike


Edited by LasVegasMikey, 16 June 2019 - 02:30 PM.


#2 Alex McConahay

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 02:59 PM

I have no experience observing in Cuenca. But do not miss the Galapagos when you are there, if not for astronomy, just for all the weird stuff to see

 

Alex


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#3 davidpitre

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 08:20 PM

I was in Cuenca about 2 years ago. Wonderful city, but not much for star gazing. Very often cloudy, and substancial light pollution. There are places to get out of the worst light pollution, but clear skies seem fairly rare. I’d just bring binocs. That’s what I did
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#4 LasVegasMikey

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 01:19 PM

I was in Cuenca about 2 years ago. Wonderful city, but not much for star gazing. Very often cloudy, and substancial light pollution. There are places to get out of the worst light pollution, but clear skies seem fairly rare. I’d just bring binocs. That’s what I did

Thanks David, I was hoping for a different answer but was afraid of the cloud cover. Thanks again for sharing your insight.

Mike



#5 Adun

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 02:45 PM

Hi I live in neighboring Colombia (in a big city), and I've taken a small 80mm refractor on an airplane to a remote place to better observe what my C6 and 10" dob can't show me from home.

 

According to weatherspark, the cloud cover at Cuenca is lowest by early August, with 30% of the time "mostly clear" (60% "partly cloudy", only 13% daily chance of rain), which sounds reasonable to me. On the other hand February is the worst, with 90% of the time "mostly cloudy" or "overcast".

 

So, the cloud cover will depend on the months you plan to visit, with August seemingly the most favorable.

 

There is also light pollution. Light pollution maps show Cuenca itself to be light red, which is bad, so bringing a telescope wouldn't be worth it unless your 3-6 month vacation includes trips to more rural places (which is highly advisable anyway, specially if you or your wife are into birds).

 

I can tell you, from my city, Omega Centauri is a sad, sad, barely visible fudge, even on my 6" or 10" scopes. 

 

That's why I took an 80mm refractor on an air trip to the coast. Omega Centauri was very bright, but sadly unresolved because of lack of aperture. Still, The Carina nebula was amazing even with just 80mm, as are open clusters (NGC3532 being my favorite) and other DSOs.

 

From Colombia and Ecuador, the southernmost sky is still somewhat low on the horizon, which makes a dark observing location important, and it's  better to avoid having a city's light cone south from you.

 

For me, it was definitely worth the hassle of taking a small 80mm refractor + mount on that trip to the coast.

 

For you, if your 3-6 month trip happens around August, and you can travel to some darker places around Cuenca, maybe bringing a scope could be worth the hassle. Your C6 with reducer would be ideal in terms of aperture+resolution vs portability (I love mine and use it for DSO), and the OTA does fit in the airplane's overhead compartment (as carry-on), but the NexStar mount might be an inconvenience to bring as luggage.

 

An alternative would be to bring something tiny, easy to pack and carry, like a Meade AdventureScope 80, or a Zhumell Z100, plus your Celestron Zoom. Both can work on a decent ball-head tripod, which you can easily purchase in Quito.


Edited by Adun, 22 June 2019 - 02:48 PM.

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