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

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#101 wxcloud

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Posted 22 August 2021 - 11:39 PM

Think I'm in the process of "one of those nights" earlier today I managed to make some progress on solar imaging, I think getting a couple bugs in that system squashed (still waiting to see if it was a whiff however) and now this evening I'm sitting here now waiting for the sheet of clouds that rolled in while I took a break trying to get my barely used edge 8 to find something!

Went off the rails right off the bat when I set up, I used my regular deep sky area instead of listening to myself and move things forward about 6 feet to get the line of sight away from the neighbors trees and get an earlier start trying to put that focal length to use on some planets.

While I was waiting, I opted to polar align the mount as broken clouds kept getting in the way. Welp, once again had an issue with that where putting Polaris into the circle didn't work because the circle was stuck on the corner of the screen! So had to redo things.

Finally got that taken care of and since I was basically going to do planetary tonight I opted to use solar system alignment. Can't find anything. After scrapping the failed alignment 3 times and selecting daylight savings and unchecking it the scope seems a bit off. No finder on the thing since it's been in the box for about a year. Would be hard to tape a telrad onto it since I can't locate anything. Sigh.

So now as I wait to see if clouds break log enough to try again.

Though I could make a little more progress in solar system work then doing deep space but seems Murphy followed me there too.

Few and far between outings, with DSO stuff I was lucky to get 2 hours on rare nights of data, figured I'd get somewhat better with solar system stuff but same issues. Spending more time fiddling with the stuff to look at the sky instead of actually looking at stuff in the sky.

If my skies where not bortle 8/9 trash, that I need to circumvent with photography and filters I'd likely just dump imaging and get a large dob. Known my luck however it's end up be a collimation nightmare :(

Guess I should go check it out and see what the clouds are doing or just pull things back in and put back in storage.
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#102 Jon_Doh

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Posted 23 August 2021 - 08:20 AM

For me, not any one or two sessions, but my continuing degrading skies.  Since I returned to the hobby nine years ago light pollution and lateral pollution from our subdivision has increased substantially.  Combine that with perpetually cloudy skies and it makes you want to throw in the towel.  I invested in an evScope to try to combat the light pollution, but can't get a cloud free (even partially) evening to observe.  As for dark sites, they're too far away.  



#103 Leia

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Posted 28 August 2021 - 09:56 PM

I had junk tasco that had I not been so into this hobby, I might have quit. Also dropped a 4in Celestron Onmi AZ 102 once. Tube still has small dents, and my mount is now modded to not drop scope as easy.



#104 weis14

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Posted 30 August 2021 - 08:30 AM

I've never had a session that made me want to quit the hobby, but there have been several that resulted in the immediate sale of equipment.  One even led to a wholesale change in observing philosophy.  

 

This happened one night in August 2020 when observing at my mother's house near Au Gres, Michigan.  Her house is in the woods with a nice clearing that allows full observation above about 10 degrees of the horizon.  Skies are probably Bortle 3 most nights, but the transparency can suffer from humid conditions due to the wetlands between her property and Lake Huron about 2 miles away.  

 

I planned to observe with my CPC1100 and make valuable use of a night of exceptionally clear skies, no bugs (because it was too cold - I think) and a big light bucket.  This is a rare combination for me.  Unfortunately, there was so much dew that the scope was literally dripping by 12am.  Because I was running three dew heaters at nearly max power (corrector, telrad and eyepiece), I quickly drained my 17-amp hour battery.  I switched to my smaller 8 amp hour battery and shut down all dew control except the corrector.  It didn't matter, the corrector completely fogged over by 1:30pm despite having a dew heater and dew shield.

 

To make matters worse, as I was packing up the next morning, I put the CPC in its case back in my SUV.  The big case and scope weighed close to 100lbs, so I had ramps to wheel the scope into the car.  I slipped on the still slick ground and hurt my back keeping the scope from falling down the ramps.  I decided right then and there that I was done with the CPC and that it would be sold.  I've never regretted it.

 

Edit:  In proper conditions, the 11" SCT is a great scope for visual.  I just don't have those conditions very often.  


Edited by weis14, 30 August 2021 - 08:31 AM.

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#105 Ballyhoo

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 01:44 AM

Hello Cners, 

I dont need to say much about it just a pic will say alot. This is close. It was giffted to me just a week ago. And it is toast.

 

yeah, that's a dooozy for sure.  frown.gif


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#106 Astroman007

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Posted 30 October 2021 - 12:25 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??!! 

That's me right here, more than a few times. Not most of the time, thankfully. My only real gripe relating to the hobby (besides slight increases in LP). Good to know I'm not the only one! lol.gif


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#107 bjkaras  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 02 November 2021 - 05:49 PM

Light pollution is getting worse. The only things I can really see well from my home are the moon and planets. Maybe a few DSOs. For anything else I gave to go to a remote site, and since it’s not as safe out there as it used to be I’m thinking I might have to go armed. At least that’s what my wife wants me to do.



#108 Droro

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Posted 03 November 2021 - 03:14 AM

Light pollution is getting worse. The only things I can really see well from my home are the moon and planets. Maybe a few DSOs. For anything else I gave to go to a remote site, and since it’s not as safe out there as it used to be I’m thinking I might have to go armed. At least that’s what my wife wants me to do.

same here,  although ive discovered that after 10-11 pm i can see open clusters quite well in the 80mm , plus AP works not bad for brighter nebula. 



#109 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 03 November 2021 - 04:28 PM

The worst observing experience would have to be the time when an observing buddy of mine and I decided to get to the Manning Park observing site early and get good spots. The site that we observed from at Manning Park Provincial Park was almost a 4 hour drive from where I lived. I'm not sure, but I believe this particular Manning Park Star Party was being held in late summer early 1990's. 

 

We both arrived at the entrance to the park at the same time...only to find that "Because of the danger of Forest Fires, all access roads into the Park were closed as was Manning Park itself, though I believe the main Lodge (hotel) and restaraunt were open. 

 

Gary and I looked at the offensive sign which forbade our stargazing activities and were speachless for about a minute. Then came the expletives and curses. Driving all this way without any prior warning that we were wasting all that driving time and gas! But unlike "Sparky" Griswold from National Lampoon's Vacation, there was no hapless security guard that we could force into letting us into the park so that we could enjoy our most favorite observing sites! So, we began the long trip home...wondering whom we could blame for this disaster.

 

Clear skies and keep looking up!

RalphMeisterTigerMan


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#110 dave253

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Posted 04 November 2021 - 05:19 AM

My last clear nights observing was October 6. 
Since then, I think I’ve seen Achernar, Fomalhaut, and Jupiter once through the clouds. 
This hobby hooks me in too completely to ever give up. 

I know a majestic starry night is just around the corner. 


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#111 nstiesi

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Posted 04 November 2021 - 07:57 AM

This thread kinda hit home for me.  I have been "in" this hobby for years (like, more than 5 since I bought my first basic scope), and I can probably count the number of real observing sessions on 2 hands.  I live in a light polluted area, have no real access to a dark site, no family or friends with mutual interest, and am kind of wary of just trekking out to the middle of nowhere.  My neighborhood also just installed TERRIBLY bright LEDs which made my already crap skies even worse.

 

I have been to a dark site ONE time.  It was moonlit and cloudy, and if not for waking JUST before dawn, I would have missed out on a ~5 minute long transformative experience that I have not been able to replicate for over 4 years (by getting back to a dark site).

 

I live in South Florida.  Bugs, humidity, heat, city lights keep me inside almost all summer, so I NEVER see summer stuff.  In the "winter" the weather is only really good for a few fleeting days after a front moves through, and if that doesnt coincide with a weekend, well, good luck.  I am on the younger side, with young kids, so of course I have less free time due to kids, work, and a long commute.

 

I feel like I "quit" before I even began (even though I havent actually quit at all).  I am struggling with, not if to continue, but HOW to continue.  The limited experience I HAVE had have been GREAT.  My only solace is that the sky really isnt going anywhere, and hopefully will be ready when I am....


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#112 nwcs

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Posted 04 November 2021 - 04:26 PM

I haven’t had so much a bad observing session as I e had frustration at trying to get various technology working together and work. Combined with raising a special needs child it limited my patience. It was one reason why I wasn’t on the forum here for about 4 years.

While some will troll my choice, the Stellina has brought me back in. Being able to setup in a few minutes on a whim and get some results right away is a breakthrough for me. It’s great to walk outside and back in with a smile on my face again. My wife loves it as well.
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#113 Astroman007

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Posted 05 November 2021 - 02:04 PM

This thread kinda hit home for me.  I have been "in" this hobby for years (like, more than 5 since I bought my first basic scope), and I can probably count the number of real observing sessions on 2 hands.  I live in a light polluted area, have no real access to a dark site, no family or friends with mutual interest, and am kind of wary of just trekking out to the middle of nowhere.  My neighborhood also just installed TERRIBLY bright LEDs which made my already crap skies even worse.

 

I have been to a dark site ONE time.  It was moonlit and cloudy, and if not for waking JUST before dawn, I would have missed out on a ~5 minute long transformative experience that I have not been able to replicate for over 4 years (by getting back to a dark site).

 

I live in South Florida.  Bugs, humidity, heat, city lights keep me inside almost all summer, so I NEVER see summer stuff.  In the "winter" the weather is only really good for a few fleeting days after a front moves through, and if that doesnt coincide with a weekend, well, good luck.  I am on the younger side, with young kids, so of course I have less free time due to kids, work, and a long commute.

 

I feel like I "quit" before I even began (even though I havent actually quit at all).  I am struggling with, not if to continue, but HOW to continue.  The limited experience I HAVE had have been GREAT.  My only solace is that the sky really isnt going anywhere, and hopefully will be ready when I am....

nstiesi, where do you live?
 



#114 nstiesi

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Posted 06 November 2021 - 09:30 PM

nstiesi, where do you live?


South Florida. Southern part of palm beach county. JUST to the west of the worst of the light done.

#115 twidget

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Posted 07 November 2021 - 02:01 AM

I hope this is the correct forum for this mini-rant.......    

 

     I came to the realization this evening, after fighting new equipment, new configurations, new plans, old eqpt, old configurations, old plans, and various combinations of the same all day, not to mention the non-forecast murky cloudy sky tonight, and the smoke from corporate farms burning off crop stubble en masse, and the dew, and neighbors' lights, and a power outage, that the Marquis de Sade must have been an astronomer who later became a time traveller, and eventually travelled forward in time to the current era to learn what new and cool astronomy-related ideas and technology he could learn from amateur astronomers to take back to the latter part of the 18th century. While here, he had an experience like I had today (who amongst us hasn't ??), and decided to go back to his own time and inflict the same pain on others. Hence, his legend was born.

 

     I think thumbscrews, bamboo under the fingernails, waterboarding, being drawn, tickled, and forced to watch every episode of Maude between viewings of Love Story, all at the same time, would be easier to bear than a day/night like I just had crazy.gif

 

Anyone else out there have tales of one of those days they'd like to inflict on the rest of us?

 

Clear Skies, and Happy Daylight Standard Time, to ALL

 

Mike


Edited by twidget, 07 November 2021 - 02:09 AM.

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#116 darthteddy93

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Posted 13 November 2021 - 10:43 PM

I've had a few. Mainly some variation of "driving all the way out to a dark sky night only to not be able to find a single thing in the sky while freezing to death". 


Edited by darthteddy93, 14 November 2021 - 09:23 PM.

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#117 DSO Viewer AZ

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Posted 14 November 2021 - 09:51 AM

I actually had an experience after a very good session. I had viewed for around six hours under some incredibly dark super clear skies, saw a ton of amazing galaxies all through Virgo and neighbors. Everything I wanted to see was popping out at me. Nothing was not found. But, it was freezing, I had thick winter gloves, full set of long Johns, three flannels, a sweater, a large jacket, jeans, sweatpants, one pair of regular socks, and a nice pair of wool socks, and thick sole boots, wrapped my self in a thick blanket, made some crappy coffee and sat to watch the sunrise. Still freezing. I was all by myself, sitting in a lawn chair knowing I had a camp site to take down and a three hour drive home. Did I mention it was Freezing? And it hit me, what the H-ll am I doing out here? My wife was cozy in bed with my hound dog, warm, there would almost certainly be better coffee and some kind of wonderful breakfast on hand, and I’m out here freezing my kiester off, for what? To look at faint fuzzies in a scope I will never be able to get to or really explain to anybody? Would anybody care that I had amazing views of Markarians chain? Would anybody in my world even know what that is? What am I doing here? For about a hour I really gave consideration to moving on from the hobby. What’s the point of all this? Why am I still freezing? What a horrible feeling, I had invested so much time, money, energy, and dedication just to get to this point? 
Well, as the sun peaked over the horizon, I tore down camp loaded up and started my three hour drive through “nothing much to look at” AZ and this gave me time to ponder all these questions. Final answer, I KNOW these things exist. I have seen things with my own eyes arguably less than 98 percent of the population has ever seen or know exist, even in nasa photos. My dedication had paid off. I had achieved what I had set out to do. I did not let “I’m to busy”, or “I don’t have time” to get in the way. I just did it. Yes to my body it was miserable, but I had achieved something only I will truly understand. That is what was most important. 
By the time I got home I had turned it all around and couldn’t wait to get back out. That was almost a year or so ago, and I very regularly go at least once a month, sometimes more, and still can’t wait to get out. I never had this thought come back into my noggin. Sometimes you just have to get out of your own way and push through. And in the end you are doing it for you. As my wonderful wife told me, If it makes you happy, what are you waiting for, get going. And so I continue to go. Even if it’s freezing.


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#118 asterope62

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Posted 14 November 2021 - 01:50 PM

I've never had an observing session that made want to quit,  however there was one time that I forgot to bring my eyepieces to a star party, fortunately 5had brought some binoculars along, so it wasn't a total loss.  I've also traveled hundreds of miles to a major star party, only to have every night clouded out.



#119 twidget

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Posted 14 November 2021 - 09:41 PM

DSO Viewer AZ,

     Yours isnt a tale of de Sade's Revenge, but a story of inspiration and motivation! I tell myself every time I have a "bad session" or "bad prep day", the same things you told yourself last year. Like you noted, family (except my ever-loving wife, SHE cares!) and friends seem not to care one whit, most times, about my hobby (addiction?), usually don't even comment about the images of mine I share with them (my images aren't award-winning, but they aren't terrible, either). I've never had a night, or day for that matter, when I seriously considered quitting amateur astronomy! Not even for 1 second.   I've wished I had a phaser to eliminate the nearby sources of light intrusion and LP, though, MANY times, but observing and recording the heavens is what I've waited for, and worked towards, my whole life.  Of course, there ARE times when I say "S**** THIS NOISE, I'm going to bed/watch TV/for a walk/whatever" smirk.giflol.gif     And, with the probability that LP and satellite trails and cloudy nights will ALL increase in my waning years, I am even MORE determined to self-abuse myself with this hobby/addiction while I still can!!!!! 

 

And, Asterope, you DID go prepared for the possibility of a lost scope-observing night by having your binocs handy, and the clouded-out Star Party probably allowed you MUCH time to share stories and images with other, similarly-disappointed, observers smile.gif

 

Clear Skies!!

 

The Marquis and Mike


Edited by twidget, 15 November 2021 - 10:50 AM.

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#120 ShaulaB

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Posted 14 November 2021 - 09:56 PM

A less-than-perfect sky never made me want to give it all up. Any time I can get outside, even in the rain or snow, is golden. Equipment failure? It was probably my fault for forgetting something. The social aspect of astronomy can make me discouraged sometimes. Some knuckleheaded humans have made me wonder why I am in an astro club though.

Recently, there was a multi-page thread started by a young poster remarking about comments by rude old geezers. On a related note, I have had a few experiences where men have doubted my knowledge and ability to use instruments. Even after demonstrating skills superior to theirs, some guys just don't want women encroaching in on their boys' club. At outreach events, there are a few men who do not like having their misconceptions corrected by me, regardless of how politely it is done.

However, most guys I observe with are great, friendly, kind, and helpful.

Edited by ShaulaB, 14 November 2021 - 09:58 PM.

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#121 twidget

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Posted 15 November 2021 - 12:10 PM

Shaula,

 

     Your post reminded me of something I read once, some comments from Andre Norton later in her life. That was the pen name she had to use to get her fantastic science fiction, and fantasy, stories published. As a youngster growing up, her books were among my favorites, great stories of (usually) teenaged young men growing up out there in the wide universe. In the interview I read, she talked about the blatant sexism displayed towards her by nearly all of the big-name, mold-school (intentional misspelling) sci-fi authors, editors, and publishers of the time. I was not aware of the fact that she was a female when I read her books (a story on an electronic device IS NOT an "e-book", it's a story on an electronic device, an e-story). So, upon learning that this wonderful author was a lady, I reread all her books that I had, probably 25 of them, but in my mind I switched male leads to female leads, and vice versa, and guess what? They stories were just as powerful and engaging and good, as when I read them the first time !!

 

     My point is, in case the OP thinks I have strayed off-topic, I WILL NEVER intentionally cause a bad experience for a female astronomer because she is a she and not a he, that might cause her to quit amateur astronomy. And, shame on those "men" who do cause that reaction.

 

     Anyways, don't give up the ship, and keep the Pole Star always in front of you!

 

Clear Skies !!

 

Mike


Edited by twidget, 15 November 2021 - 12:11 PM.

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#122 Exnihilo

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Posted 18 November 2021 - 03:31 PM

Trying to observe in the mountains on the edge of Death Valley, many years ago.  The wind got pretty intense; we were camping that night, and a tent got blown away.  Everything ended up really dusty.



#123 PKDfan

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Posted 18 November 2021 - 07:40 PM

I have never considered leaving but my disgust level reached new highs when I could not get a sharp image of the moon one evening when it was fairly high in the sky and could not get past 40×!!

 

Super unstable upper atmosphere that night which was highly irregular for my location.

 

 

Aside from the hideous LP levels here too.

 

 

 

 

Clear skies & Good seeing

Edit typo


Edited by PKDfan, 18 November 2021 - 07:41 PM.

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#124 kathyastro

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Posted 18 November 2021 - 08:20 PM

I have had many sessions where I ended up thinking, "Well, that was a total waste of time and megabytes."   And I have been to star parties where there was no clear sky to be seen for the entire duration.  But, no, I have never considered giving up.


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#125 bjkaras  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 13 March 2022 - 10:13 PM

I drove to Yosemite and set up on Glacier Point only to learn there was a forest fire. Around 9pm the sky was full of smoke. My brother had just bought his first telescope and he was looking forward to his first night at a dark location.




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