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Who hibernates in the Winter months because of the Cold?

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#1 Stargazer3236



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Posted 26 January 2020 - 07:10 PM

I know I do. If the weather warms up to at least 40 degree F, I will venture out, but my hands always suffer Frost-nip. However, the rest of my body is usually very warm.

#2 vtornado



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Posted 26 January 2020 - 07:46 PM

Are you wearing a good hat?


If I am wearing a hat, I can get buy with thin cotton gloves down to 20F.

No hat, and my tolerance for cold goes way down.


I have observed, at 0 - 10 F, but there has to be something exciting (lunar eclipse, commet etc).

I have insulated work coveralls for that.  Easy on, Easy off.


I observe less in the winter, because at about 20F, frost on optics, and frost in my bones send me in.

And unfortunately in the upper midwest, clear skies mean below normal temps.


That being said in December we had a few nights of 40 degrees AND clear skies.  That was awesome.

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#3 frankreed45


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Posted 26 January 2020 - 07:50 PM

I don't exactly hibernate but my outings are much more brief than during warmer weather. I don't tolerate the cold well - I'm 74 y/o and quite thin-about 5'7" and 140 lbs. I will say that if it's really cold I do not venture out . 

#4 RyanSem


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Posted 26 January 2020 - 07:56 PM

Will agree on the hat. 


My observations in the winter definitely decrease.. but that is also due more to the poor sky conditions vs. summer. As long as it's over 20 degrees I can find a good reason to get out there. 

#5 Old Man

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Posted 26 January 2020 - 07:59 PM

  I pretty much hibernate, did not always have to, but bad health gives me no choice.

#6 JMW



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Posted 26 January 2020 - 08:01 PM

I am doing grab and go using SVR90T/FTQ/Gitzo5541LS and night vision on scope or hand held when it is cold.


I try to go south for a long weekend every few years to Death Valley to enjoy long dark evenings with much warmer temperatures.

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#7 Cotts


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Posted 26 January 2020 - 08:07 PM

In my 30's and 40's I could stand -15C observing......  Observe for 90 minutes, warm up for 30 in the house, go back out for an hour... That would be about it.


Now I'm 68 and I can't do anything under +5C...   My tolerance for cold is pretty much gone.   I'm turning into my grandfather who, in his 80's, wore layers of sweaters and long underwear in the summer because he was always 'cold'...


So I hibernate, astronomically speaking, from November to March ----- except for the Winter Star Party.



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#8 wrnchhead



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Posted 26 January 2020 - 08:32 PM

I'm "only" 42, but every year I like the cold less. In November it was in the 40s at nightfall, and just about 32-33 overnight. I got my imaging gear set up and sat in the pickup with the laptop. Tonight it's clear and moonless, but since I work tomorrow, observing from home is my only choice. And with the terrible local light pollution plus the city's, I can't bother. Plus the yard is saturated from melted snow. Booo. Come on spring! 


I do now know that I am going to get a new dob. I had a GSO 8 for a year, and I should have kept it. Perfect grab and go. I may go with a lighter truss 12". A gem just takes that ease of setup away, and by the time I'm looking at something, I'm shivering. 

#9 Frisky



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Posted 26 January 2020 - 08:39 PM

We have the worst winters in the lower 48, but this year has been fairly mild. I go out every clear night. Just dress extra warm and limit observing time. If you prepare in advance, you can hit a lot of targets in 25 to 45 minutes. That's long enough and allows you to avoid stuff freezing up. Many nights, I go out early and then late. Two short sessions is better than one long one in the cold.



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#10 gwlee


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Posted 26 January 2020 - 08:46 PM

I tend to observe fewer nights and for shorter sessions in the winter. It’s in the low 40s this evening, so put the Dob out to cool an hour ago. Expect to wimp out after about 30 minutes though.

#11 Stargazer3236



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Posted 26 January 2020 - 09:45 PM

My typical wearing set up is REI long underwear bottoms, pair of lounge pants, heavy duty insulated ski pants, short sleeve shirt, fleece pull over, two pair of socks, LL Bean Warden coat (good to -10F), Sorel Caribou boots, pair of under gloves then pair of mittens with fold back cover.


When I get my hands on a new ASIair, I plan on wearing less, warming up my car and sitting inside at my favorite imaging spot and do my work in warming comfort.

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#12 vdog



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Posted 26 January 2020 - 10:04 PM

Not me, I live in the CA central valley.  Outside right now, it's 54 degrees.


Totally cloudy, though, or I'd be out.

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#13 JoeMom



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Posted 26 January 2020 - 10:15 PM

Any clear day I will go out no matter the temp since I bought my telescope. I have lugged my AVX and c6 outside in sub 0 temps. It’s exciting to see new things and I can’t waste a clear night.

#14 jgraham



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Posted 26 January 2020 - 10:30 PM

When it is comfortable to be outside I love to put in some serious eyepiece time, but I hate to lose clear nights that are too cold in the winter and hot/bug ridden in the summer. On those nights I switch over to remote observing using my dedicated EAA kit; gear outside and me inside. I haven't missed a clear night in years!

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#15 Vesper818



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Posted 26 January 2020 - 11:12 PM

Old and skinny and cold don't mix too well, even in mild California winters. I'm 5'6", and abt 120 lbs, so I bundle up even for 40°F weather. Best things are simple altaz Refractor that moves with a little nudge,fuzzy sweaters and heated ski gloves to keep cranky digits happy.
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#16 SonnyE



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Posted 27 January 2020 - 12:06 AM

I think the lesser Sunlight of our Winter months tends to make us less active, and I find myself getting sleepy earlier.

But doing EAA, and being inside where I can be warm and comfortable helps me a lot. I can set out my telescope, hook up my Baby Dell, do my alignment, pick a target, then come inside to while away the evening.

I don't have to go back out until I'm ready to call it a night, and bring in the telescope and computer and cover things up.

If I had to stay out, I'd quit a lot sooner.

#17 msl615


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Posted 27 January 2020 - 03:41 AM

HI from Fairbanks, Alaska. I was out last night with the scopes at -11F and a lot warmer than last week where we dropped down to -25F at my pier. We are up in the hills above town and that keeps us warmer...it was below -40F down by the river.  I have written a  lot in these forums about keeping scopes, mounts, eyepieces, focusers and even RDFs working at these temps. If you search on my name, you can find a long discussion from a few weeks ago with my latest DIY tests on cold solutions.

For us, dark=cold. There is no dark=warm, so all nighttime work is in the cold. But, the auroras are great, and sometimes I just set the scopes aside and sit down to watch the show. 

This is a great place for astro events and to see the sun barely skim the surface at noon transit (picture attached) near winter solstice is beautiful.

Many times I have to dig my way into the pier through snow, so astro time can take some effort ahead of time to get things ready. I turned 67 this last week, and the adventure continues. 


Attached Thumbnails

  • solar noon transit.jpg

Edited by msl615, 27 January 2020 - 03:41 AM.

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#18 j.gardavsky


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Posted 27 January 2020 - 05:03 AM

Wearing what I used to wear during the winter skiing down hill, this helps.


The only difference to the other seasons is, I take out the eyepieces which have been specified for use under the low temperatures. And these are, unfortunately, the expensive Leicas, Swarovskis, and Zeiss, from the spotting scopes, which also won't fog.


Otherwise, no problem,


#19 Tony Flanders

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Posted 27 January 2020 - 06:33 AM

I know I do. If the weather warms up to at least 40 degree F, I will venture out, but my hands always suffer Frost-nip. However, the rest of my body is usually very warm.

Have you tried chemical hand-warmers? They're magical. Incidentally, it's technically impossible to get frost-nip when the temperature is above freezing. But it's certainly possible for my hands to be painfully cold, or even unusable, when the temp is between 32F and 40F.


I wonder if (like my wife) you have Reynaud's Syndrome. Do your hands turn yellow?


At age 65, I feel the cold a lot more than I used to. Even so, winter remains my favorite season for astronomy. But I do wear lots and lots of clothing. Last night, with the temp probably still around 40F, I was wearing lined pants, overpants, and a heavyweight down jacket. And a winter hat, of course -- that goes without saying. I usually put on my winter hat when the temp drops below 60F.

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#20 ascii



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Posted 27 January 2020 - 08:08 AM

Obviously, I have it pretty easy as far as winter temperatures go, since I am in Orlando, Florida.  We go below freezing for few, if any, nights each year.  That said, I'd take any clear winter weather above freezing over what we get every night in summer - sweating like pigs and getting chomped by mosquitos on any square millimeter of skin not doused in repellent.  Summer is the season to hibernate here.

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#21 wrnchhead



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Posted 27 January 2020 - 09:03 AM

You Alaska guys are crazy haha. I tell in "real life" friends about you all. But comfort is relative. A Floridian will complain about 50 degrees and some of us laugh. But after a year somewhere, you tend to get used to it. 

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#22 MP173


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Posted 27 January 2020 - 09:24 AM

The cloud cover is more of a factor than cold, although 10 degrees is usually my limit.  


Good layers of clothing helps.  My biggest issue is with my writing hand as all observation sessions are entered into my logbook with sketches.  Thus, my right hand seems to get cold quickly.  I use a thin glove on my right hand.  Usually the winter sessions are about 60 minutes compared to 90 - 120 minutes in warmer weather.



#23 Feidb



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Posted 27 January 2020 - 09:27 AM

It's not really that much of a problem here in Las Vegas. However, clouds and wind ARE an issue. My go or no go test is if it's cold enough to be uncomfortable, and there's any kind of breeze, forget it. To me, that's much below 50. Sounds wimpy probably to you easterners, but I've been around way too long and know my limits.

#24 Beaver


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Posted 27 January 2020 - 09:45 AM

I hibernate. Not only are clear nights usually very cold, but the roads to nearby dark viewing sites are typically not very passable without a 4WD vehicle.

#25 viewer


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Posted 27 January 2020 - 10:31 AM

I'd rather stay inside if it's below -20C (-4F). No problem this winter though, it's been exceptionally mild. And even some clear nights at 0C !

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