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

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#51 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 04:30 PM

It didn't make me want to quit the hobby but the most depressing moment in all my years of observing occurred when clouds that were not mentioned in any forecasts rolled northward from Maryland during the 2001 Leonid meteor storm.  The skies had not cooperated during the previous three years so this was my last chance to see something that I had wanted to witness ever since I first learned of the Leonid storm. 

I had thought about traveling to Cherry Springs State Park, a 3.5 hour-long drive, to view the storm but the forecasts for the park were not good so I went to a private observatory belonging to a friend.  For a couple of hours, I saw more Leonids than I had ever had previously but then clouds started to roll in.  

Back then there wasn't much in the way of determining what was going on other than a weather radio.  Some of us decided to drive northward, while two others drove westward.  We drove for about an hour and still saw nothing but clouds and decided to give up.  As I drove homeward, the weirdly overcast sky seemed to mock me.

 

As it turned out, the people who drove to the west got to see part of the storm.  Had we gone northward for about another hour we would have too.  The skies at Cherry Springs turned out to beautifully clear, of course.


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#52 rajilina

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 06:49 PM

I wasn’t doing too badly until my neighbors installed a lighted pickleball court 35 feet from the back of my house this past summer. I was hoping the novelty of it would wear off, but here we are months later and they are out there almost every night. The brand name of the light on the court is “Dominator”, and that’s exactly what it does... dominate My. Entire. Yard. It lights up everything like a Christmas tree, from fenceline to fenceline. Yes, I have contacted the city, and yes, it’s a violation of the lighting code for such a court, but do I want to get in a fight with my neighbor? Sigh. And pickleball is LOUD. I can hear the games through my closed window over my television, and in the street in front of my house. So I may be forced to quit on a day-to-day basis, simply because I can’t get peace and quiet in my own backyard.

 

The dominator

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#53 bjkaras

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Posted 25 September 2020 - 01:29 AM

I never really wanted to quit the hobby, but one time I was in Yosemite, on Glacier Point, with my 10” newt, and I brought my brother, who had just bought a nice 6” newt. It turned out there was a forest fire that started while we were there, and the sky filled with smoke. We didn’t get to do much observing, but we did get some nice hikes, so it wasn’t a total loss.



#54 jeff heck

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 07:04 PM

Driving thru a hail storm on my way to  a dark site years ago in central Kansas hoping the satellite image of a clearing line was correct. It was, on my short list for most memorable nights observing. Faith and science can indeed both be right...angel2.gif


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#55 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 07:40 PM

I wasn’t doing too badly until my neighbors installed a lighted pickleball court 35 feet from the back of my house this past summer. I was hoping the novelty of it would wear off, but here we are months later and they are out there almost every night. The brand name of the light on the court is “Dominator”, and that’s exactly what it does... dominate My. Entire. Yard. It lights up everything like a Christmas tree, from fenceline to fenceline. Yes, I have contacted the city, and yes, it’s a violation of the lighting code for such a court, but do I want to get in a fight with my neighbor? Sigh. And pickleball is LOUD. I can hear the games through my closed window over my television, and in the street in front of my house. So I may be forced to quit on a day-to-day basis, simply because I can’t get peace and quiet in my own backyard.

 

You need something like this:

 

https://www.cloudyni...tach_id=1566529


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#56 Avgvstvs

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 10:22 PM

1 Cracking the back of my 8" F7 mirror (the best I ever had!)

 

2 Tripping over astrogear painted black in near total darkness (why black ppl!)

 

3 Getting attacked by 1000's of mozzies, zero'ing in on my breath

 

4 The police dropping by to see if I was up to no good

(I wanted to say that I was watching heavenly bodies! but restrained myself

as the local police are not known for a sense of humour, nor native intelligence)

 

Still in overcoming the challenges, you can enjoy our hobby more if you have the right attitude


Edited by Avgvstvs, 27 September 2020 - 10:25 PM.

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#57 Kurmy

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Posted 29 September 2020 - 09:55 AM

Not an observing session or an isolated incident, but having to look for a parking space for 30-60 minutes every time you return often makes you think twice about going in the first place.
Living in a city can be a real pain.


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#58 Javier1978

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Posted 29 September 2020 - 10:41 AM

I wasn’t doing too badly until my neighbors installed a lighted pickleball court 35 feet from the back of my house this past summer. I was hoping the novelty of it would wear off, but here we are months later and they are out there almost every night. The brand name of the light on the court is “Dominator”, and that’s exactly what it does... dominate My. Entire. Yard. It lights up everything like a Christmas tree, from fenceline to fenceline. Yes, I have contacted the city, and yes, it’s a violation of the lighting code for such a court, but do I want to get in a fight with my neighbor? Sigh. And pickleball is LOUD. I can hear the games through my closed window over my television, and in the street in front of my house. So I may be forced to quit on a day-to-day basis, simply because I can’t get peace and quiet in my own backyard.

 

 

That's too bad!

 

I wouldn't fight my neighbors either, but I would do anything to preserve that beautiful observing spot: trees, fences, a wall, a dome, you name it.


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#59 Keith Rivich

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Posted 29 September 2020 - 06:50 PM

I wasn’t doing too badly until my neighbors installed a lighted pickleball court 35 feet from the back of my house this past summer. I was hoping the novelty of it would wear off, but here we are months later and they are out there almost every night. The brand name of the light on the court is “Dominator”, and that’s exactly what it does... dominate My. Entire. Yard. It lights up everything like a Christmas tree, from fenceline to fenceline. Yes, I have contacted the city, and yes, it’s a violation of the lighting code for such a court, but do I want to get in a fight with my neighbor? Sigh. And pickleball is LOUD. I can hear the games through my closed window over my television, and in the street in front of my house. So I may be forced to quit on a day-to-day basis, simply because I can’t get peace and quiet in my own backyard.

 

Go buy a cheap giant mirror and aim the light back to their house. 

 

You can get 5 25x25" wall mirrors from Ikea for $100. Attach them to a nice sized plywood wall. 

 

Or invite them to observe Saturn. Then talk about the lights...


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#60 tommm

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 11:32 AM

On a beautiful clear calm day I loaded up in the late afternoon and drove 2 hours to a dark sky site near the Black Rock Desert. I arrived just before dark and found there were 30+ mph winds blowing clouds of playa dust. I sat there in my vehicle rocking back and forth in the wind watching the dust clouds for a while before sighing and driving back home.  Didn't make me want to quit, but it was years before I tried going to that site again, and only after checking the Clear Sky Chart and the NOAA forecast for that area.



#61 JimMo

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 01:59 PM

One time I was observing at a State Game Preserve on the western shore of Lake Erie right after 9/11. I had only been observing a short while and had an 8" Meade SCT and found a spot off of a dirt road that looked like a parking/fishing area. I set up and was enjoying some bright DSO's when I was blinded by flashing lights and surrounded by cops. I knew where I was but forgot it was just a few miles north of a nuclear power plant and someone tipped off the cops that there was someone suspicious with what looked like a cannon or mortar. Shook me up pretty good, but I did use that spot again a few times and the cops then knew who I was. Ended up finding a much safer observing spot so it didn't make me quit. There were a few times when I didn't dress warm enough and my fingers and toes have gotten really cold so I did quit going out to remote sites between November and March. Except for the Winter Star Party some years.


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#62 Jethro7

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 06:49 PM

Hello CNers

I have never had the feeling that I want to quit the hobby , even with the troubles both self induced or ( IT) happens. I take a deep breath, wind my watch then deal with the issues. Some times it does get realy frustrating especially doing AP with all the cables, computer settings and what nots trying to troubleshoot the problems. I've given up on a AP session or two reverting to a nice viewing session instead, out of the frustrations, so all was not even close to being lost. Or having the first clear skies I've had in weeks with excellent Transparency but poor Seeing conditions because the darn Jet stream is on top of me. That's my issue right now and that will more than likely be out come tonight. I will set up in about thirty minutes but I am not expecting anything different in the Seeing Conditions tonight that will be different than the last two nights. I am going to try though and maybe I will get lucky tonight. This type of situation  to me is the most frustrating  situation in this Astro Hobby because most of the good seeing nights are few and far between.This lack of good seeing nights I believe is one of the biggest reason why people drop out of the hobby. The few good seeing nights feel very special to me and I appreciate them all the more, and they are well worth the wait. To quit, not me. Time to get set up. 

 

HAPPY SKIES TO EVERYONE AND KEEP LOOIKING UP Jethro


Edited by Jethro7, 01 October 2020 - 07:14 PM.

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#63 Travellingbears

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Posted 11 October 2020 - 08:40 PM

Came in from our deck after conditions changed. My dear wife took a quick look at the sour expression on my face. My wife asked that I not start my repetitive grumbling about the poor ‘seeing’ conditions at our MD shore retirement location. She had no regrets that we did not select property in rural VA where I would have better night skies. Only our dog seemed happy to see me. Felt like selling off majority of my equipment or providing to local schools and just keeping one portable scope/mount. I was about to also undergo cataract surgery on right eye so for many months visual observation had been a struggle.

 

Note: Wife eventually agrees to backyard observatory (convenient alternative) vs remote site property. So in retrospect I didn’t have such a bad night after all. Observatory commissioned in Sept 2020. Had cataract surgery (right eye in 2019 and left in 2020) so hoping to return to do more visual.

 

Dave


Edited by Travellingbears, 11 October 2020 - 09:24 PM.

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#64 Jeff Lee

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 08:56 PM

I stopped viewing due to a lot of personal issues (sick folks and other things) for about three years, but never sold my stuff. Geared up for EAA and have done more viewing in the last three years than any other years. Missed it when I wasn't doing it, but life really got in the way until one day my brother asked me to watch his dog while his wife had a procedure that would require a couple of days stay in a hospital. Took my binoculars  (20 x 80) to watch river traffic. His B4 skies called to me, after the first night I was back in the game. Got home and over the next three years bought all the EAA equipment I personally needed and @71 go out most clear nights or view from within the house. 


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#65 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 08:58 AM

This unfortunate incident did not happen to me and I was not there to witness it, but it's one of those terrible stories that can make amateurs cry.

 

As the story goes, this particular event happened at the 1985 (I believe) Mt. Kobau Star Party which is located in the Okanagan in southern B.C. just a little was from Osoyoos.

An amateur decided that this would be a great place to test out his brand-new, black tubed, fork mounted Celestron C11 which had just took delivery of a couple of weeks ago. Apparently he got a package deal from the vendor with every accesory that Celestron had to offer for the C11. This particular amateur was one proud owner.

 

Well anyways, one particular night a very strong wind started up and for some reason or another he decided not to take the scope down and left it up in the wind. Now I'm not exactly sure the series of events or exactly how it happened, but at some time during the night everyone within listening distance heard a horrible crash. The owner and several other amateurs ran over to see that the C11 had somehow landed on it's front. Picking the telescope up slowly and putting it right-side up revealed what every SCT fears. The corrector plate wasn't just cracked, it was smashed. Kaput and broken. The next morning the poor guy packed up and no one from the R.A.S.C. Vancouver centre ever saw him again.

 

I imagine such an accident would anyone think about taking up another hobby!

 

Clear skies!

RalphMeisterTigerMan


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#66 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 10:26 AM

I never totally quit viewing the sky, but nearly did from late 2013 until 2018 or so.  We bought this run down, overgrown 13 acre place in Sept 2013.   I retired in spring 2014, and the remodel and outdoor cleanup took the better part of four years.  On nice viewing nights, which would usually be preceded by nice days, I would be so worn out I would want to simply rest.  I probably saved 50K in labor by doing almost everything myself, but it cost me a lot of viewing.  The stars were still there when I finished, though!  It wasn't because of any incident, just a lack of time and energy.


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#67 Phil Cowell

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 11:37 AM

Never had one that made me want to quit. Had a few that made me ask what the heck am I doing out here in below zero temps



#68 BJ4232

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 02:04 PM

 

  I guess if my wife said something like observing or me....  I would give it up, reluctantly, then.

By it, I take it to mean you would give up your wife? 

 

There are times I feel the same way... lol.gif lol.gif

 

Bill J. 


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#69 wxcloud

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 08:18 PM

Can't say it's been a single session, just more of a conglomeration of things since I've picked the hobby back up and dumped a bunch of cash into it (probably before I was ready), but I'm more of an astro photographer, so not sure I quite fit in the post?

Anyway this past year, a wonky mount, non conducive work schedule, bad weather, neighbors lights, now wildfire smoke, being too tired from work to do anything. Having a potential clear night, setting up and clouds roll in for a few hours causing me to pack it in, only to have it clear out right before I turn in for the night. When actually getting images, not enough data usually grabbing an hour or two a month of light frames sometimes trying multiple objects to get something.

It's been a rough restart to the hobby. I'm almost considering mothballing the hobby for a while and maybe try visual.

Dig out my old orion xt10 dob from it's crypt and see if I can get it under my light polluted red / white zone. Or probably something even more grab and go, my William optics ZenithStar 61 and perhaps at80edt when it comes in, but my skies are so bad, I don't expect to see much.

Saturn and Jupiter are already in the muck at dark. Mars possible as well as the moon and perhaps some open clusters. Might even go onto double stars.

Was wanting to pull the 61 out last night for Mars peeping, it clouded up by the time I got off work. Well, perhaps tonight? Smoke from existing and new wild fires starting to creep in. Looks like clouds next week or so with small chance of breaks between them.

Sorry just had to vent some :(
It's been a bit rough for daytime photography also.

Edit: after work tonight with some pretty bad seeing and probable smoke in the atmosphere, I took the 61 out and couple eye pieces to try and bag Mars. As expected cranking the magnification up to ridiculous, like a 2x cheapo Meade barlow and 4.8mm nagler, I got nothing but a now dimmer dot. Might have seen just a small smudge of surface detail, a dark area but could be my imagination lol.

Tried m45 and took a bit, fit nicely in the 24mm panoptic. Couldn't detect much of a glow other then the dark gray background sky. Most stars looked blue, as expected. Fiddling with the focuser I managed to get a semi 3d look to the brightest stars against the background stars. My panoptic don't fit proper in the diagonal, the set screw hits the bottom of the eyepiece.

Went for a quick hunt for the double cluster and found it? A couple small rough spots with a couple brighter stars in front. Not sure if this really was the double cluster.

A quick search for Andromeda yielded nothing but a strain from being bent over awkwardly.

Was just curious if I could do some visual stuff. Really not sure on it... Packing it in, I managed to smack the scope under the stairwell...

Edited by wxcloud, 15 October 2020 - 11:11 PM.


#70 csrlice12

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 09:52 AM

Worst session....more like worst season.  That would be happening right now with the pandemic and forest fires.



#71 Echolight

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 08:27 PM

It's only been a few months for me. But I think it's going to stick. Haven't thought about quitting but I'm always thinking about what I might see with a different scope.
The latest addition of the mew SW 80ED was a real eye opener with it's enormous field of view. And I love the small size and stability on the Unistar. But now I'm wondering how many more stars would show up in a same length 120mm scope with it's full extra magnitude and brighter image in my 20 hyperwide. This seems the most feasible upgrade right now as it wouldn't take up much space or take more time and effort to get a little more.

 

But....I do think about quitting buying stuff and just making the most of what I have. Possessions weigh you down.


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#72 csrlice12

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 10:19 AM

Possessions weigh you down.

Yet we go to the gym to lift weights....I just lift eyepieces cases outdoors in the dark.



#73 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 10:56 AM

Worst session....more like worst season.  That would be happening right now with the pandemic and forest fires.

The smoke cost me several sessions, here in Arkansas.  The pandemic actually led to more observing, since we were home all the time.    The winter cold is when I don't venture out, when it's below about 40 degrees F.  Maybe get four or five nights between late November and late February. 



#74 rajilina

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 11:47 AM

You need something like this:

 

https://www.cloudyni...tach_id=1566529

I doubt this will help. All this does is make the bulb not directly visible. I can already get the city get involved to make the neighbors alter the light so it’s not going directly in my yard, but even if they do, the overwhelming ambient light that would still come from it will nevertheless make it difficult to see anything through a telescope. I’m actually pretty openmouthed that this type of court is even allowed in a residential area, or so near a neighboring house. My neighbors on the other side of me have commented on the light and noise, and you can hear and see that a game is being played from several blocks away (yes, pickleball is loud). When this light is on, there is a glow all around the FRONT of my house that looks like a spaceship landed in my backyard a la the X-Files. I’m pretty sure that it has also dropped my property value by quite a bit - who would want to live next to something like this if they didn’t have to? It’s a nightmare.

 

Desperate to have some daily astronomy back, I’m now considering how to observe from my front yard. This will be difficult both from a light pollution and security standpoint, but I think I have something figured out.


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#75 rajilina

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 12:02 PM

That's too bad!

 

I wouldn't fight my neighbors either, but I would do anything to preserve that beautiful observing spot: trees, fences, a wall, a dome, you name it.

That’s the situation I’m in. Fortunately, my husband is pretty supportive about the astronomy thing and although he’s completely unwilling to complain to/fight the neighbors, he is willing to figure out some alternative solutions for the time being. We tore our deck out last year for a home remodel and haven’t replaced it yet, so some kind of shielding, landscaping, or whatever will be worked into the plans for the new deck next year in an attempt to get some of the dark back. As it is right now, we can’t use our backyard for anything (astronomy, a bbq, a firepit party, anything!) when they are playing and this light is on, so something will need to be done. 

 

Fortunately I do have a very good private dark sky site available to me year round and my trailer to facilitate that from April to October, so I haven’t completely lost the ability to get out and observe. 


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