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What was the worst observing session that made you want to quit the hobby?

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#26 Chesterguy1

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 12:52 PM

I think in the beginning, 20+ years ago I had many a frustrating night. Part of that was my impatience and hunger to see and discover. I would go out many nights where the conditions were marginal. That rarely happens anymore. I'm much more relaxed about my sessions, unconcerned about changes in conditions, annoying bugs, a forgotten piece of ancillary equipment and simply more willing to go with the flow, accepting any perceived deficiencies, in the sky, my equipment and, mostly, in myself. I was never ready to quit, but my worst night was dropping my beloved refractor on the concrete. Actually the mount dropped it, but I was the one who didn't secure it. Lesson learned. That incident provided me with a new, and I think better, perspective on my worst observing sessions.

 

Chesterguy


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#27 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 01:05 PM

Wellllll, eating my wife's cooking would make you think about taking up fasting for a bit.

Hopefully, she's not on CN?


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#28 Dave McCrary

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 02:02 PM

In the summer of 2018 I went to a dark site that I had gone the year before.First night was great. Saw the Crescent nebula for the 1st time and Bernard's star. The next day I was driving around and rear ended someone and totaled my car. I had it towed home and had to rent a vehicle (Jeep Grand Cherokee) to go back to get my stuff. My wife talked me into staying to observe. I had backed in with the front of the vehicle facing the observing field. Not being familiar with the jeep at all I did not know all it's little idiosyncrasies. I needed something in the front passenger seat so I opened the door and to my HORROR the HEAD LIGHTS CAME ON! Flooded the field with light. It seemed like minutes before I could get the lights off. As you can imagine I was the hit of the party. It was all too much and I went to bed early without viewing anything. 

 I didn't quit the hobby but I quit that night and will NEVER EVER OWN A JEEP!

DAVE


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#29 dUbeni

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 02:26 PM

Every time I go on a vacation to a dark site I quit observing from my light polluted skies at home for a couple or more months.

 

Bernardo


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#30 Sketcher

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 04:02 PM

I don't recall ever having an observing session that made me think about quitting the hobby.  I've ended sessions sooner than I had planned.  I've been disappointed in seeing conditions, transparency, sky brightness, telescope performance, etc.  I've endured "cold" nights, nights with mosquitoes, even a night with a rattlesnake encounter.  Those kind of things are just some of the night to night differences that we learn to accept and deal with when they occur.  But thinking about quitting the hobby?   That's just not "me".

 

Even after the rattlesnake encounter, after killing the snake I returned to the telescope and completed a Jupiter sketch that I now refer to as my "rattlesnake sketch". Stuff happens.  Deal with it!

 

In my experience, there's always something positive that can be gained from any observing session.  In some ways, I seem to learn more from sessions that go wrong than I do from sessions that go smoothly without any glitches.  And if I learn something, or gained something from a session, then it's not been a wasted session.

 

Perhaps it's about some people being more committed to this hobby than others.  After all, some people actually do quit while others know that the hobby will be a lifetime passion.


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#31 jrbarnett

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 05:14 PM

Here's the thing, sticking with the culinary analogy for a bit, if you like food - and I have no choice, living in foodie central (California Wine Country) - Light Pollution's culinary equivalent would be a blight on regional grasses that tanked the dairy industry, limiting the supply of cheese.  Sure, Cheese is wonderful stuff, but honestly there are many dairy-free delicacies to enjoy when you can't enjoy cheese.

 

Flipping over to observing, medium to medium-high levels of light pollution don't impair planetary, lunar, solar or double star observing.  Double stars are delicious, too.  So even if you're a cheese gourmet/DSO aficionado, there are other things to look at when you can't be out under dark skies.

 

In the immortal words of Stephen Stills, "And if you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with."  winky.gif

 

Best,

 

Jim


Edited by jrbarnett, 20 September 2020 - 05:16 PM.

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#32 Xyrus

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 10:54 PM

I used to live in the DC-Baltimore corridor. These were skies that registered as Bortle NOPE!!! or so. You could literally read a book just from the light pollution. Light pollution filters were useless, and narrowband filters were only marginally better. The dust and pollution from all the traffic made a near permanent haze, and the urban heat island thermals would distort objects into mush even near zenith.

 

I took one of my scopes out only once while lived there. The experience was so bad I never bothered trying again.

 

Now I'm in New England. Much better. lol.gif


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#33 Droro

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 11:50 PM

Some great stories here. I guess it's a matter of personality. This hobby requires a lot of patience and learning (and arguably finance). I myself thought of quitting many hobbies or occupations sometimes mid activity (m.a in math, long distance running, multi pitch trad climbing...) .

I think CN is a great community and is quite the opposite of what internet forums usually are, certainly gives me motivation.
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#34 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 06:04 AM

Every time I go on a vacation to a dark site I quit observing from my light polluted skies at home for a couple or more months.

 

Bernardo

When I come back from my monthly 10-14 days under dark skies, I am ready to switch modes, already have an observing agenda I am looking forward to.  doubles, the planets and brighter DSOs.  Sometimes I might take one night off, mostly just to recover some sleep and switch back to a more normal sleeping schedule but mostly, if it's clear, I am out there.

 

Jon


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#35 Knasal

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 09:18 AM

Not sure about what session made me almost quit, but my decision to go to the 2018 Okie Tex Star Party (aka, Soakie Tex) caused me to consider exiting.

 

The person who managed my RN work schedule at the time was from another department and she was 20 years younger then me. I convinced her I needed this vacation. I pushed the envelope on team dynamics pulling that move (at the time, I worked on a small nursing team with a pretty important mission).

 

Drove from Wisconsin to Oklahoma to sit in rain, cold, wind and clouds for a week. I never took the scope out of the car.

 

The event was shortened due to threat of snow. Clear for 35 years, just not the year I went.

 

While I didn’t quit the hobby, that week certainly changed my perspective. I have not and will not go to a major, distant star party again until I retire (see also, 2017 Solar Eclipse under thunderstorm after 10+ hr drive).

 

And that ain’t happenin’ anytime soon : 2020 has put a whole new perspective on “asking for vacation” as a frontline RN. 

 

LOL, I’m glad I didn’t quit. I’dve lost my sanity.

 

Kevin


Edited by Knasal, 21 September 2020 - 09:30 AM.

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#36 DSOGabe

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 10:20 AM

There's been a few times when I go outside before dusk, see perfectly clear skies, set up the scope to normalize and go back inside. I go back out just after sundown to find the skies overcast. How did the clouds get here so fast?! I tear down while griping about it. Go back out just before bedtime and the skies are perfectly clear again! Really??!! 


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#37 ArizonaScott

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 10:39 AM

I released a leg on my Oberwerk tripod one night, the metal tip slid down and punched through the toenail on my big toe. Pretty messy. Lesson learned: Never wear flip-flops when observing.


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#38 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 11:12 AM

I released a leg on my Oberwerk tripod one night, the metal tip slid down and punched through the toenail on my big toe. Pretty messy. Lesson learned: Never wear flip-flops when observing.

My rule for myself: Never wear flip flops ever.  They are nothing but a trip hazard anyway, and look positively terrible, especially on men.


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#39 Migwan

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 06:37 AM

Love my flip flops and could care less how they look.  That said, I'm not likely to wear them round here for observing.  Too much dew.

 

It's hard to be motivated when the lows are like 10° F or less.  Well last winter I didn't get to take my yearly escape to the SW and truly thought about taking a break.  Perhaps it due to dementia, but I actually did more observing than the winter before.  Quite a bit more.

 

jd


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#40 Keith Rivich

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 08:11 AM

Not enough of an experience to call it quits but it did make me question my sanity:

 

A week ago Saturday night I invited some new friends out to our dark site to take their first looks through a "real" telescope. My 25".

 

First, the humidity was terrible at sunset. The worst I have ever seen. After getting set up I was just dripping wet. And it was hot. Really hot.

Second, the mosquitoes were horrendous. You could feel them smacking into you when moving about.

Third, My scope's drive was acting goofy. I could not get it to go-to or track. I spent a few minutes troubleshooting but gave up and used the scope as a manual. 

 

For anyone with a big non-tracking scope having people who are not familiar with observing observe is a pain. They take to long to get up the ladder. I can put the object on the edge of the FOV so it can drift through but by the time they ask for the third time "where do I look" the object is gone. Sigh. Luckily there were many other scope for them to look through, including Mitchell's 36", so they had a good time. 

 

After they left (around 11:00) I got back to troubleshooting my drive. I put Argo in the mode so I could see the encoder counts. All looked fine. As I was scrolling through the options I saw a "low input voltage" error message. I checked my power supply and it was fine. I then checked the power out to the ServoCat. Not fine. Only 10v. I pulled the RCA connector out and checked the voltage. 12v. I plugged the RCA back in and bingo, 12v to the drive. Just a dirty connection. Two seconds to fix. The scope worked just fine after that. But I had lost my observing Mojo by then. Moon rise was just around the corner so I just poured myself a Scotch and did a little gee whiz observing, BS'd with friends and hit the sack at moon rise.

 

On nights I take my 25" out I sleep in the back of my trailer. A portable ac unit and a blow up mattress make for a decent few hours of sleep. Got up around 9:00 and started breaking down the scope. It was hot. And humid. I went through two changes of clothes. Drove home damp and tired. Got near Houston and there was a wreck on the freeway in the worst possible place. Couldn't get around it.  Added 30 minutes to my drive. 

 

Will I do it again?

 

You betcha!


Edited by Keith Rivich, 22 September 2020 - 08:11 AM.

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#41 Allan Wade

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 08:46 AM

There was the time I left my sunglasses inside so everytime I looked through the eyepiece into the 32" was like getting punched in the face. So I moved onto a few faint planetary nebula, but the dob was acting up with chromatic aberation because there was colour everywhere. The final straw was seeing 4 of NGC 1365's 2 spiral arms, so I packed it in. Hate those sessions.


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#42 Keith Rivich

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 09:54 AM

There was the time I left my sunglasses inside so everytime I looked through the eyepiece into the 32" was like getting punched in the face. So I moved onto a few faint planetary nebula, but the dob was acting up with chromatic aberation because there was colour everywhere. The final straw was seeing 4 of NGC 1365's 2 spiral arms, so I packed it in. Hate those sessions.

Its all those times when everything is clicking that brings us back. 

 

Got me thinking...I know that's bad but I am sitting here in torrential tropical storm rains (via TS Beta) and am quite bored...that if a really bad observing session very early on in my observing hobby could have caused me to throw up my hands and walk away, never to return. I dunno. I could see it happening.

 

However, It's all of those really fantastic sessions that let me just brush off the few really bad sessions one can run into. 


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#43 Xyrus

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 01:47 PM

There's been a few times when I go outside before dusk, see perfectly clear skies, set up the scope to normalize and go back inside. I go back out just after sundown to find the skies overcast. How did the clouds get here so fast?! I tear down while griping about it. Go back out just before bedtime and the skies are perfectly clear again! Really??!! 

Yep. Warm moist air at the ground level will rise as the day ends. If it hits layer where conditions permit, this air will condense and clouds will form (sometimes very temporary depending on the atmosphere). Usually winds will wind up pushing them out, or they'll just spread out and disperse over the course of an hour or two.

 

My general rule of thumb is to wait at least a couple of hours if evening clouds come in. If there is no associated frontal system pushing them in, then more often than not they're local transient clouds that will dissipate.



#44 ShaulaB

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 01:52 PM

February,1986. I was just learning how to use a GEM. It was so cold out, the tears of frustration streaming down my face started to freeze.
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#45 Shane Stroud

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 02:51 PM

The night I ended up face down on the beach with guns pointed at me. Back in 1995, I was setting up my scope on the beach at Barber's Point in Hawaii. Apparently, at a distance, using night vision goggles, a telescope is quite similar to a rocket launcher. Needless to say, the naval base security force showed up, and they were not in the mood to talk.
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#46 grif 678

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 04:38 PM

Several things added up sometimes makes me feel it is time to quit. Old age with aching back and other numerous pains, cloudy weather every time some special event is due, light pollution, plus after seeing things so many times, it some times gets boring to see it over and over and over. Many things contribute to these feelings.



#47 halx

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 04:44 PM

Been observing with a friend over the Sonora Pass some years ago. Breathtaking views. Amazing skies. Great 16"... But after midnight he brought his huge thick down quilt from the car, fluffed it and curled in it in my observing recliner with binos, immediately fell asleep, and been snoring sweetly until the very morning in front of me with the telescope. Such envy... lol.gif


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#48 Pedalpoint

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 10:33 PM

The time I got frostbitten hands while disassembling the dob......

I haven't been out with it that cold since.

 

Bruce


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#49 jcj380

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 09:47 AM

As soon ask "what was the worst meal you ever ate that made you want to quit eating.?"

 

smile.gif

 

Jim

Big Mac that must have been leftover from the day before or something and tainted.  8 hours on and over the bowl.  Now, I'll only drink their coffee.

 

Anyway, the LP at home can be quite discouraging, but not enough to quit yet.


Edited by jcj380, 24 September 2020 - 09:48 AM.


#50 Squanto

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 03:56 PM

Yesterday I dropped a baader Hyperion on my toe.

Yikes! Note to self: add steel toed shoes to the inventory lol.gif. Sorry bout the toe. I’ve dropped my scope once and damaged the focuser which really made me second guess this hobby(I’m fairly new to the game) but after some venting, contemplating and emptying my wallet further, I am now much wiser and glad to be back on the stellar wagon...now if only these clouds would scatter fingertap.gif


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