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Visibility issues. How do you do?

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#1 EEBA

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 12:33 AM

How do you do if your house in the city is surrounded by obstacles?.
I live in a hometown complex where the houses are 2 story. I have my telescope in a small patio in the back of the house. Facing north, I visibility because the wall of my house blocks everything, locking south, west and east several huge trees block everything.they just leave me a small area to see Sirius, orion, and venus for about 49 min now before the trees block them. There is a bigger area behind the block houses, but also several trees block the sky. Today, after many cloudy nights, being at home because of the corona virus issues, I was excited to have the sky clear. When I finished alignment, Orion's nebula was blocked. I feel sad and frustrated. Does anyone experience the same issue?

Enrique.

#2 Prima Luna

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 01:28 AM

Can you bring the scope out to the parking lot at your complex, or better yet, to a nearby grassy field/area?


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#3 Rustler46

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 03:34 AM

Enrique, I don't know if my reply is a direct answer to your query. But here's my take on the subject.

 

We just have to do what we can under our circumstances. I've found myself under many differing light pollution and sky blockage conditions. At times in a large well-lit city I'm doing well to see a dozen naked eye stars. There times the view is mostly blocked by trees. But some constellations are recognizable in the gaps. Once after a night at a dark site I packed up to go home thinking it was morning twilight only to discover that the Zodiacal Light was the brightness in the east - not the dawn. Often weather or unplanned circumstances interfere with a planned observing session. But to keep the interest alive, just view these as part of the adventure. Wherever I can look up at the sky, my old friends are still there. And down below, so am I.

 

While old age has limited available energy to go out on a clear night, after some 58 years I still long to get out into my little dark spot next to my vegetable garden. Yeah, large parts of the sky aren't accessible due to buildings and vegetation. But in the areas available there is plenty to see. My small town light pollution regime isn't terrible (yellow-zone, Bortle 4-1/2 to 5). But there are no lights shining directly in my eyes. Sometimes a dark cloth is over my head to preserve night vision, while my eye is at eyepiece.

 

Now I know my situation is nowhere near as bad as yours. Yet there are things you can see. Try exploring the piece of the sky that is open. Double stars are everywhere to be enjoyed. Other objects may also be of interest. Some amateurs enjoy viewing deep red stars. It all depends on your interests and conditions under which you observe. I believe there are planetarium programs that allow you to map your local horizon to help planning your observing sessions. Do what you can to get away from obstructions, perhaps going to a darker site. Use "cloudy nights" to observe on-line or study reference sources about objects of interest to you. Just do what you can. Imagine what it would be like to describe what you see to someone who is blind. Keep a log book of your observations. For years mine was written in pen on dew dampened paper. Later these were all transcribed into a spreadsheet database. It is always fun to see all the observations of a particular object over the years with different telescopes, under different conditions. Nowadays I use a digital voice recorder to capture observations. Then at a later convenient time these are added to the observation database.

 

Sorry for the rambling answer, Enrique. But I hope some of this will be of encouragement. You'll get out of amateur astronomy what you put into it, regardless of your circumstances. Just don't let unfavorable conditions keep you away. There's a whole universe of wonder out there for us to explore by whatever means is available to us.

 

Kind Regards,
Rusty


Edited by Rustler46, 27 March 2020 - 03:38 AM.

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#4 phillip

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 04:23 AM

My area is well lit, some parts open but loads of trees. 

 

I am fortunate as couple mile venture to near wide open area. Still some lights but not too bad, few more miles get near a dark site when needed. 

 

Looks like you need to go out further for open areas. Planets are great as can view them under a street Light! Never tire observing Those!

 

Good Luck

 

Need clear sky Here!

 

Xt8i dob


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#5 Blackbelt76

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 08:39 AM

I have a similar issue, though perhaps not as severe.

For me; if a object is less than 20 degrees above the horizon, I'm not too interested anyway.

I concentrate my visual time North, south and west as light pollution is really bad to my east.

On the bright side, I set up at the bottom of my driveway; I call it "The Sidewalk Observatory" smile.gif

 

If the sky conditions look to be excellent; I am happy to travel 30 miles for unobstructed site 2 bortle scales better

than my home.


Edited by Blackbelt76, 27 March 2020 - 08:40 AM.


#6 astronomus1930

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 11:41 AM

Enrique,

Living in downtown Chicago, I share your frustration at viewing through limited slices of the sky. A couple of things that help me:         (1) limit myself to one/two/three targets and enjoy them thoroughly before they move out of sight. My observing sessions may be of short duration, but satisfying.

(2) invite a friend or neighbor to join me and draw renewed joy from their excitement at seeing something as incredible as M42 for the first time.  

 

We're drawn to observe despite obstacles.

 

Clear Skies

 

Bob


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#7 EEBA

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 06:06 PM

Apparently I'm not alone. About 2 weeks ago, I went to salton sea ,CA. It is located 2 hours away from home. The sky was beautiful, and I got to see several nebulas, galaxies, double stars, and star clusters. I think realistic speaking I only can do that every 45 to 60 days. My scope fits in my car without problem.[celestron 8 se sct). THERE is a park about 2 miles away from home. I went once but it is scary to be alone at night time. I wish I had a house with a big dark backyard. I guess, I will try the park again.
Thanks for your thoughts
Enrique
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#8 tgrlx200

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 10:08 PM

I live in an area with bortle 6 skies and an unobstructed area that is open for about 1/2 the sky after about 30 degrees up. One thing I have done is get a deep sky atlas and focus on what I can see in those areas. I try to make a list of what I would like to observe that includes many objects, so if one I wanted to observe is out of view, I have something else to look forward to. I have also resorted to EAA to combat light pollution, which has helped immensely. During all of this I learned I like to observe galaxies, with many being on the edge of visibility. I have had to learn to overcome my struggles and focus on what I have and how to solve problems I could not overcome. I have a 10" Meade LX200GPS and health challenges last year (I almost died of cancer) made it so I could not lift any thing over 10 lbs. And that was a struggle. Luckily the year before I mounted my scope on a rolling table that I designed and built but my garage man door was 6" above the pavement on both sides and I could not lift the table over it after I got sick. I had family come over and we built a 6" platform in the garage that I store my scope on, that was level with the bottom of the door stoop and bought a ramp to be able to push it outside. This enabled me to get the scope outside to do some veiwing. It's not ideal but it works for me. And that's all that matters. Life is not always ideal and I have to accept that and then decide what I can do to enjoy what I do have. With the setup I have I can go out any clear night, which in Northern Ohio this time of year is not much. I also just got laid off for 3 weeks because of the pandemic. Hoping it is only that short but now if it is clear during the week, I am out there observing the sky. Which I could not do when I was working. Whenever life throws me lemons, I try to make lemonade. I hope you find what works for you and run with it. Life is too short.

Edited by tgrlx200, 27 March 2020 - 10:10 PM.

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#9 Astro-Master

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 12:32 PM

Apparently I'm not alone. About 2 weeks ago, I went to salton sea ,CA. It is located 2 hours away from home. The sky was beautiful, and I got to see several nebulas, galaxies, double stars, and star clusters. I think realistic speaking I only can do that every 45 to 60 days. My scope fits in my car without problem.[celestron 8 se sct). THERE is a park about 2 miles away from home. I went once but it is scary to be alone at night time. I wish I had a house with a big dark backyard. I guess, I will try the park again.
Thanks for your thoughts
Enrique

It sounds like you might live in the San Diego area.  If that is the case you might want to check out the local Astronomy club, SDAA, they have a 10 acre dark site 60 miles east of San Diego at Tierra del Sol that is open to members anytime.


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#10 Tank

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 05:56 PM

Couple of buddies and a close parking lot would be best
Backyard I would get familiar what part of the sky is visible and plan you night viewing counter clockwise from the time you start

#11 EEBA

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 05:59 PM

Thanks Tgrlx, your history makes feel bad, I probably am impatient with this hobby. It might be better to have lower expectations how often I will use my telescope and the quality of seeing in the city. I live in West covina, far from San Diego. I joined Pomona valley amateur astronomy club, I went to the my first meeting. Then the Corona virus came. Everything was stopped.in the mean while , I check the weather every day, spend time in this forum waiting for better times.
Enrique
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#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 03:55 AM

Thanks Tgrlx, your history makes feel bad, I probably am impatient with this hobby. It might be better to have lower expectations how often I will use my telescope and the quality of seeing in the city.

 

 

Enrique:

 

It will get better.  This has been a very cloudy winter-spring for Southern California.  You're in Covina so you're quite far from the ocean so the marine layer shouldn't be much of problem for you in the coming months. 

 

It's good you're excited and chomping at the bit to go but this hobby is one that does require patience.

 

Jon


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#13 EEBA

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 09:01 AM

Today, today, today. I spent all the night up because the weather said the sky will be good. It was cloudy most of the might, but around 2 am, the sky turned blue and stars showed up. I just had to wait until 330 so Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter with its moons to have our first encounter. It was totally worth it. I used my 8-24 mm baader zoom and tried 6mmm. The best was at 8 mm. (250x) I had enough time to get my DSLR and take pictures of all 3 planets. It was fabulous, and from tiny patio with almost the sky covered by trees. It was a great session. I just wanted to share with all of you.

Enrique
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#14 tgrlx200

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 10:51 AM

I am excited to hear you had a great night observing. I am jealous that you had a clear night. The forecast here is for 2 weeks of clouds and rain but I know somewhere in there will be a clear night. Sometimes the forecast changes daily. Last week there was supposed to be a 2 hour window of clear skies that lasted for 12 hours. I wish I could be wrong as much as the weather person and keep my job. :)


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