Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Winter shutdown....

  • Please log in to reply
35 replies to this topic

#1 Cotts

Cotts

    Just Wondering

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 9820
  • Joined: 10 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Madoc, Ontario

Posted 12 November 2019 - 11:36 AM

I took the Equipment out of the Observatory this morning.  TEC 160, AstroTech 65, AP Mach 1, and all manner of eyepieces, adapters etc.  Cleaned the place out.

 

It being -5C outside means I have to be aware of condensation when the equipment hits the warm, relatively humid air in my house.  The scope was securely garbage-bagged and taped at the objective end of the 160 then I put it in its carrying case.  It will warm up in the house, in the case, in the bag for at least 24 hours before I open it all up.    Part two of the process will be to let the scope sit opened, with no plug in the focuser, for several days to let any stray humidity evaporate out.  Maybe lightly run a fan on it...

 

Repeat the process for the AT 65...

 

This is because ([{  I. DON'T. DO. WINTER™ }])

 

I may pop out on an occasional evening with my grab and go (Discmount DM6 + Celestron 6" f/5 newt) for some quick views.  

 

The Obsy will open up next March.....

 

My "winter observing" with the TEC 160 will be at the Winter Star Party....

 

Dave


  • torsinadoc, gene 4181, retroman2 and 1 other like this

#2 Astroman007

Astroman007

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8670
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2017
  • Loc: Northern Ontario, Canada

Posted 12 November 2019 - 11:59 AM

Would it hurt the equipment to be left all winter in an untouched observatory, until spring?

 

Asking for my own future reference.


  • retroman2 likes this

#3 Simcal

Simcal

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 119
  • Joined: 01 Oct 2018
  • Loc: Caledon, Ontario

Posted 12 November 2019 - 12:02 PM

Hi Dave,

I'm over in Caledon, and yep, winter is here. Ugh.  It was apparent to me it would be soon when my wife started hoarding soups.  Actually blew the driveway this morning.

 

I think I'd leave the bag off and the plugs out while it's warming in the house. Humidity outside has been 83% averaged over last 20 days here in Caledon. Humidity in the house should hopefully be lower.. I noticed a lot of ground fog over the last few weeks as the dew point was hovering around the ambient temp. I'd think that would be getting into your observatory and equipment.  YMMV.  (I track my weather etc on a $20 Raspberry Pi).


Edited by Simcal, 12 November 2019 - 12:03 PM.

  • retroman2 likes this

#4 GalaxyPiper

GalaxyPiper

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 203
  • Joined: 20 May 2017
  • Loc: Sacramento, Ca.

Posted 12 November 2019 - 12:14 PM

With Winter now hitting with a vengeance in the mid west and east, it will pose another "Challenge" for the die hard observer. It has come early this year for some, many of which usually don't see this until mid December. That mean's if heating oil does not go up, it will be used longer, as well as electricity rates and natural gas rates.

 

In California, we have a different problem, the fog. Once that starts to roll in, the only way for me to observe is to climb beyond 5000 feet or roughly a mile to the dark site if I want to see anything. If a winter storm rolls in, that would mean snow at that elevation as well, then the observing season would be over, with maybe a few patches of clear sky from time to time

We have been lucky for several years as the fog has not been that bad, or the winters that deep.

 

Winter is the time for most to polish their knowledge in the back pages of astronomy books, and wish they had Hubble views.

Instead, I get humble views at the limit of my scopes.

 

Straighten out gear, and pack away unused items for the coming months. I don't have a heated observatory either, so I am a slave to the elements and the seasons as well.

But while the mid west and east are shoveling snow, my viewing season is at least a little longer.

 

The high yesterday was 70 degrees and many are still in shorts and short sleeves.

No one here owns a snow shovel, or have seen bags of salt on store shelves, but do recognize snow blowers from catalogs or on news reports from the other winter areas of the nation.

I feel for the Astronomer that lives in those area's, and wish the die hard's all the best in their efforts.

 

I'm so acclimated to shorts, that a hard freezing winter would shut me down, and I would have to hibernate.

Stay warm, and keep a kettle on!


Edited by GalaxyPiper, 12 November 2019 - 03:56 PM.

  • retroman2 and Astroman007 like this

#5 ssagerian

ssagerian

    Maker Uranographer

  • *****
  • Posts: 374
  • Joined: 30 Nov 2013

Posted 12 November 2019 - 12:19 PM

Wow, Bracket, Square Bracket, and Curly Bracket, you are Serious!

Whats the point of having an observatory if you close up shop with the first frost?

How close are you to that Tim Hortons on Russell Rd? Just get a couple of donuts and a hot coffee. lol.gif


  • Astrola72 and retroman2 like this

#6 Gipht

Gipht

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2007
  • Joined: 12 Nov 2016
  • Loc: Prescott Valley, AZ.

Posted 12 November 2019 - 12:27 PM

Some people are more sensitive to the cold.  A friend tries to get out with me  in the cold, but the expressions on his face are like a near death experience.  We are all different,  which is something that make the world a lot more fun.


  • retroman2 likes this

#7 Cotts

Cotts

    Just Wondering

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 9820
  • Joined: 10 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Madoc, Ontario

Posted 12 November 2019 - 12:36 PM

Wow, Bracket, Square Bracket, and Curly Bracket, you are Serious!

Whats the point of having an observatory if you close up shop with the first frost?

How close are you to that Tim Hortons on Russell Rd? Just get a couple of donuts and a hot coffee. lol.gif

Russell Road?  Ah,, Highway 62 (Russell Street) and Highway 7.   About 12km one way...

 

My tolerance for the cold has diminished greatly in the past 10 or so years...

 

I'd be a Florida 'snowbird' if I could afford it....

 

Dave

 

also, I forgot this one:  |


  • ssagerian and retroman2 like this

#8 Cotts

Cotts

    Just Wondering

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 9820
  • Joined: 10 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Madoc, Ontario

Posted 12 November 2019 - 12:55 PM

Hi Dave,

I'm over in Caledon, and yep, winter is here. Ugh.  It was apparent to me it would be soon when my wife started hoarding soups.  Actually blew the driveway this morning.

 

I think I'd leave the bag off and the plugs out while it's warming in the house. Humidity outside has been 83% averaged over last 20 days here in Caledon. Humidity in the house should hopefully be lower.. I noticed a lot of ground fog over the last few weeks as the dew point was hovering around the ambient temp. I'd think that would be getting into your observatory and equipment.  YMMV.  (I track my weather etc on a $20 Raspberry Pi).

 Air at -5C can hold 3.37g/cubic metre of water vapour.  That's at 100% humidity.  83% of that would be 2.8g.  Now take that -5C air parcel with 2.8 g of vapour in it and warm it up to +20C.  The 100% carrying capacity of 20C air is 17.3g.   But the warmed up air has only 2.8g of vapour in it. 

 

So the RH of the warmed up air of the sealed scope case without adding any water vapour will be 2.8/17.3 x 100% =  

 

16.2%   This is Sahara desert dry.... 

 

Meanwhile, the 20C air in my house  at 50% humidity holds about 8.65 g of vapour.  If I let that air touch my cold -5C  telescope (recall, saturated -5 air can only hold 3.37g) then there will be immediate and prodigious condensation on my scope and all its parts.

 

That's why you cover optical equipment carefully before bringing it in the house from the cold and you leave it covered until it gets to room temperature...24h is a good guideline...

 

This is also why your house in winter at 20C feels a lot colder than at 20C in the summer.  It's a whole bunch drier because infiltrating outside air gets warmed up without moisture being added.  Evaporation rates from exposed skin go up when it's dry and evaporation makes your skin feel cold.

 

Dave


  • retroman2, kathyastro and Simcal like this

#9 Simcal

Simcal

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 119
  • Joined: 01 Oct 2018
  • Loc: Caledon, Ontario

Posted 12 November 2019 - 01:03 PM

bow.gif   Thanks for the education.  Makes sense, I hadn't considered the temp differential.  I better get a cover figured out!


  • retroman2 likes this

#10 jrkirkham

jrkirkham

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 11
  • Joined: 22 Nov 2009

Posted 12 November 2019 - 01:13 PM

My cold tolerance has gone down a lot over the past few decades. In my youth, when my body was strong and my brain wasn't, there were two times when I spent the night observing at 18F. That is my personal coldest. One of those nights I spent a good part of the evening sitting in a reclining lawn chair with a sleeping bag draped over me. I was recording a meteor shower. 

This fall I had hopes of getting an observatory up before winter hit. Too late, I can't dig the footings now. That will have to be my spring project. I think I'll hibernate until spring.


  • retroman2 likes this

#11 Joe Eiers

Joe Eiers

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 707
  • Joined: 08 Sep 2011
  • Loc: Arcata, Ca.

Posted 12 November 2019 - 01:45 PM

When I was 19 I was crazy nuts with my C14.   I somehow was able to observe all night, night after night, in 20 deg temps in my t-shirt with zero brains.   I had a 3" finder, my good ol' Skalnate Plaso Atlas of the Heavens and coudn't get enough of star hopping through galaxy fields.

  Now days, winter hits, as soon as the temps hit 50 degrees I throw the Telegizmo 365 cover on the C14, go inside the house, take off my observing SUIT, my coats, my 3 pairs of pants, turn up the heater, climb in bed and warm up.

 

   Won't be long before those 32 degree nights hit.  The C14 will be covered till the Spring thaw!

 

    What happened to me!!!

 

    Joe


  • GalaxyPiper and Astroman007 like this

#12 ssagerian

ssagerian

    Maker Uranographer

  • *****
  • Posts: 374
  • Joined: 30 Nov 2013

Posted 12 November 2019 - 02:25 PM

Russell Road?  Ah,, Highway 62 (Russell Street) and Highway 7.   About 12km one way...

 

My tolerance for the cold has diminished greatly in the past 10 or so years...

 

I'd be a Florida 'snowbird' if I could afford it....

 

Dave

 

also, I forgot this one:  |

I hope that is not your version of the ascii art middle finger? I am not criticizing you decision.

 

Even though I hate the cold, I look forward to winter.

Its a challenge, right? 

To dress warm (Marino wool sock, aerogel gloves, down jackets, balaclavas), use technology to keep warm and our instruments operating?  dew heaters, space heaters, remote desktop, BYEOS, SGP etc

Its dark when I get home from my day job,

Twelve++ hours of darkness!

no mosquitoes,

my cameras have less image noise,

with any luck it so cold that the humidity has been turned to frost.

For me, winter is a time to spin up my activities



#13 Stevegeo

Stevegeo

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 375
  • Joined: 29 Jan 2019
  • Loc: Otisco ny.

Posted 12 November 2019 - 05:10 PM

Wow, I'm 63 and for me winter is the best time to go and hang out in my observatory..

The nights are crisp and clear... when it's not snowing.... lol

And I don't mind the cold.... and I'm in upstate NY....  been out last winter when it was a toasty -15F

I dont have a warming room, just a warm hat, gloves, and other winter gear... 

 

My dome rotates easily and shutters open a little longer when it's cold, I don't mind...  winters a great time if you can handle it...    I'm naturally warm blooded ( ask the wife) , a regular heater in body form.  

My observatory at my other house....

1209181007_Burst01.jpg


  • jrkirkham, GalaxyPiper, Astroman007 and 1 other like this

#14 John Fitzgerald

John Fitzgerald

    In Focus

  • *****
  • Posts: 7053
  • Joined: 04 Jan 2004
  • Loc: ROR Obs. near Pettigrew, AR

Posted 12 November 2019 - 05:44 PM

I generally don't go out when it's below freezing, or within three days of full moon.  We get lots of clear nights in typical winters when it stays above freezing until 10 PM or so.  I use those.  The main scope stays in the Exploradome year round.  No pollen or bugs to deal with most winters.


Edited by John Fitzgerald, 12 November 2019 - 05:49 PM.

  • Astroman007 likes this

#15 TimN

TimN

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3154
  • Joined: 20 Apr 2008
  • Loc: Ontario, Canada

Posted 12 November 2019 - 06:57 PM

Dave, I live about 300km north of you and winter is my best time for astronomy. I don't do observing in winter - l'm 72 and I can't take the cold as much as I used to. So, over time I switched to mainly imaging in winter. I'm pretty well entirely automated except opening and closing my POD. I can monitor things from the inside and leave things running when I go to bed. I process the image during the day. I don't worry about leaving stuff in the POD. I run a couple of heater/dehumidifier  devices during non imaging times.

 

So, I've changed my winter astronomy from a nighttime outdoor hobby to a daytime indoor hobby. Plus, I have something - my images - to show my family. Its hard to get everything going - but its worth it. Something to consider.


  • t-ara-fan, Astroman007 and Stevegeo like this

#16 Simcal

Simcal

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 119
  • Joined: 01 Oct 2018
  • Loc: Caledon, Ontario

Posted 12 November 2019 - 07:03 PM

Just thinking, not sure if you guys know, but there is a wide variety of 12v heated vests, gloves, socks, jacket liners etc in the motorcycling world.  Gerbings is a major brand, but there is other stuff as well.  Very toasty.  I can vouch this stuff works pretty good.  Maybe worth a look to extend your season?  

 

https://www.revzilla...AiAAEgJ4IvD_BwE



#17 John Fitzgerald

John Fitzgerald

    In Focus

  • *****
  • Posts: 7053
  • Joined: 04 Jan 2004
  • Loc: ROR Obs. near Pettigrew, AR

Posted 12 November 2019 - 07:05 PM

Getting garbed up with all that stuff just isn't worth it to me.  Besides, being warm otherwise while breathing cold air makes me quite sleepy, usually.



#18 mclewis1

mclewis1

    Thread Killer

  • *****
  • Posts: 19240
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2006
  • Loc: New Brunswick, Canada

Posted 12 November 2019 - 07:47 PM

Would it hurt the equipment to be left all winter in an untouched observatory, until spring?

Martin, I leave my CGE, 2 simple small format computers (one is entirely fanless), hubs (USB and S-Video), 19" LED TV/monitor, 12v linear power supplies, and a few other bits and pieces out in my observatory 24x7 for the past 5 years with no electronics failures. IMHO the biggest issue is humidity. A few times a year I run a dehumidifier when the dew point and temperature converge at a point were I would get dripping gear. I also have passive (desiccant based) dehumidifiers in my storage cases and drawers to prevent mildew with my eyepieces, focal reducers, adapters, and cameras.

 

 

My biggest seasonal issues are 1) the same as Dave's increasing intolerance to the cold and 2) the increasing frequency of freeze/thaw/freeze cycles where we get more rain/wet snow events in the winter which are murder on my ability to keep my observatory free of ice build up.


  • Astroman007 likes this

#19 sunnyday

sunnyday

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1406
  • Joined: 23 Sep 2019
  • Loc: Ottawa,Canada

Posted 12 November 2019 - 07:52 PM

Wow, I'm 63 and for me winter is the best time to go and hang out in my observatory..

The nights are crisp and clear... when it's not snowing.... lol

And I don't mind the cold.... and I'm in upstate NY....  been out last winter when it was a toasty -15F

I dont have a warming room, just a warm hat, gloves, and other winter gear... 

 

My dome rotates easily and shutters open a little longer when it's cold, I don't mind...  winters a great time if you can handle it...    I'm naturally warm blooded ( ask the wife) , a regular heater in body form.  

My observatory at my other house....

attachicon.gif 1209181007_Burst01.jpg

verry nice setup there



#20 sickfish

sickfish

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 7604
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2009
  • Loc: Watertown Ma. Cape Coral Fl.

Posted 12 November 2019 - 08:03 PM

I have lived in Ma. for 52 years.

I do a good chunk of observing in the cold.

Doesn't bother me being out in the cold but I am really getting sick of winter, the darkness, cold and just dealing with the weather. Going to make a change soon to end dealing with winter for good.



#21 brownrb1

brownrb1

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 204
  • Joined: 17 Oct 2016

Posted 12 November 2019 - 08:43 PM

Hi,

I'm now just finishing building my ROR observatory and warm room. The observatory is about 30 minutes away at my daughter's home outside of town. I've just started using it about 2 weeks ago and my goal now is to be able to us it remotely when I'm unable to get out there. I'm now trying to be more proficient using my acquisition software. I used to love winter but now at an age where I appreciate being warm and comfortable.

Dick



#22 sberrada

sberrada

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 103
  • Joined: 28 Aug 2011
  • Loc: Montreal, Quebec

Posted 12 November 2019 - 10:26 PM

Hi Everyone,

 

great discussion because I fall in the category of those who dislike winter especially when the temperatures drop below -10C.

My question is whether anyone has experience with operating an observatory for imaging at very cold temperatures, say -20C or colder?  And what suggestions or lessons learnt can you share to make things work better at such cold temperatures ?

 

My expérience at such temperatures is not good: the cables harden, grease viscosity rises in the mount and the computer fan can seize ...... .

 

i am planning to build a ROR observatory near Mont Tremblant (Québec) next spring, and have resigned myself to the idea that I would close the observatory from December to March because the night time temperatures regularly drop to -20C and colder those months.  Although it would be nice to use it part of these months because the nights are so long;   Is this feasible  ?

 

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

 

thanks

Sam



#23 Cotts

Cotts

    Just Wondering

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 9820
  • Joined: 10 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Madoc, Ontario

Posted 12 November 2019 - 10:28 PM

I have lived in Ma. for 52 years.

I do a good chunk of observing in the cold.

Doesn't bother me being out in the cold but I am really getting sick of winter, the darkness, cold and just dealing with the weather. Going to make a change soon to end dealing with winter for good.

If I were an american Citizen I'd have already moved to southern Arizona or New Mexico.....

 

Canada doesn't have any such place to move to..

 

A number of years ago the Turks and Caicos Islands in the West Indies made a serious bid to join Canada...  I was cheering for them, let me tell you..

 

Dave


  • CCD-Freak, sickfish, Astroman007 and 1 other like this

#24 sunnyday

sunnyday

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1406
  • Joined: 23 Sep 2019
  • Loc: Ottawa,Canada

Posted 12 November 2019 - 10:32 PM

If I were an american Citizen I'd have already moved to southern Arizona or New Mexico.....

 

Canada doesn't have any such place to move to..

 

A number of years ago the Turks and Caicos Islands in the West Indies made a serious bid to join Canada...  I was cheering for them, let me tell you..

 

Dave

you are not the only onewink.gif



#25 greenstars3

greenstars3

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 200
  • Joined: 20 Dec 2017
  • Loc: Wind River valley

Posted 13 November 2019 - 01:24 AM

Hi friends from wonderful  Canada

From Canada can you go to the British Virgin Islands without immigration problems to avoid the cold?

 

Robert




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics