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Have you ever had one of those nights?

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#1 MyBluOx

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 12:51 PM

As the topic states, last night was one of those nights.

 

 First of all I consider myself an absolute beginner. I've been deep sky imaging for about 4 years off and on. the off is when I have equipment problems. The last equipment problem was the power panel for my LX200gps which took over a year to get due to supply problems. So being that I'm getting older and forgetful I have to relearn everything.

 

 I'm currently working on imaging NGC 2359, Thor's Helmet. my first set of data was 27x600s subs. Thor's Helmet is very dim; so I didn't think I had enough data. I decided to try taking 1200s subs last night. Since it doesn't rise high enough for imaging until around 12am local, I started at 11:30pm.  I start by getting close and plate solve using AstroTortilla. I noticed that my 30s subs for plate solving weren't working. the stars were to dim. Since I was low in the sky I just figured it was the sky glow from Tucson and waited a while to try again. Still did not work. I decided to raise the scope a little and try again. after 2 more try's it worked and I got synced up. I align on the target  setup MaximDL to get the subs. I go to set up guiding using the off-axis guider with my SBIG STi camera. Normally  I use 2-3 second subs to guide with; but I couldn't find a good guide star. This worked the previous night with just 2 second subs. I wondering what is wrong. Am I that forgetful that I missed something or did something wrong. I try 4 second subs and still no good guide star. Am I in the wrong location? I compared a 60s sub of the imaging camera and a sub from the previous night. I have the right alignment.

I decide to use 2xBin on the guide camera and try again. I find a good guide star. I start guiding at 3s subs. That lasted about 15 seconds and Maxim lost the guide star.; so I go to 4s subs and try again. Great it's not losing the guide star. I wait around 5 minutes, it's still guiding. Great! I start the 1200s acquisition. 8 minutes in it loses the guide star. Now I have to start over. I go to 5s subs for guiding and start again. Great everything is working! Not. 12 minutes in the guide star is lost. It starts going in and out. It's now 2am and I give up.

 

 Seeing and transparency were supposed to be 4/5 I would put them at both at around a low 2/5. I watched the guide star fade in and out for around 10 minutes before deciding to pack up and go to bed. Chock it up to a bad night. Lets hear your bad night stories.

 

Jeff


Edited by MyBluOx, 22 November 2020 - 12:52 PM.

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#2 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 02:14 PM

I decided to get some more time on Orion the other night. I have a relatively limited view of the southern skies, so it is imperative that I make the time count. I also have a pretty limited view of Polaris, so I'm limited to only a few places where I can setup. Ultimately what I do is setup in one spot, take as many subs as I can before Orion is blocked, then move on to a second spot, where I can get some more time. Obviously moving everything requires me to polar align again, frame up the object again, etc.

 

Oh, and because of the time of year, I can't even start until around midnight.

 

Well, the night looked promising. Forecast was for clear skies all night. Wind had died down to almost nothing. Temperature wasn't too cold. Moon wasn't too bright and would have set before I began imaging. All in all, the conditions were about as good as I could have hoped.

 

Around midnight, I grabbed my gear and headed outside. I setup in the first spot and started the polar alignment. A few minutes later and I was pretty well aligned and had the camera framed on target. I took a few test exposures and all looked good. I setup the intervalometer to take about 90 x 60s exposures and hit the start button. As I was just about to head inside, I looked up and saw some wispy clouds coming in from the west.

 

Those wispy clouds turned into substantial clouds, and within 10 minutes I went from a nice, clear sky to covered. I stayed out there for another 20 minutes hoping things would clear up. They didn't.  So, I packed everything up and brought it back inside.

 

On the bright side, I ended up getting a really good night's sleep :)


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#3 stardustborn

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 02:35 PM

Yeah we can do all the 1000 things needed to it right only to be foiled by the weather.

 

Last night I heard myself wondering if there will ever be night that everything works perfectly.

 

The guide scope reminds me, no, "I need a star.  Your visions of grandeur stop when I cannot find a star.  Nice try, maybe next time".

 

 

Oh, and this hobby will have one listening to inanimate objects.


Edited by stardustborn, 22 November 2020 - 02:37 PM.

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#4 Jerry Lodriguss

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 12:13 AM

2 nights?

I've had hundreds like that over 40 years.

Separates the men from the boys.

I understand fishing is worse.

Jerry
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#5 alphatripleplus

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 07:43 AM

Every time something beyond my control gets in the way, I just tell myself it will be better next time. Sometimes I almost believe that.


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#6 fewayne

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 01:21 PM

Oh, and this hobby will have one listening to inanimate objects.

I mean, PLENTY of hobbies have you TALKING to inanimate objects. That's what makes this one so special!



#7 csauer52

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 04:58 PM

2 nights?

I've had hundreds like that over 40 years.

Separates the men from the boys.

I understand fishing is worse.

Jerry

Try reef keeping. These things happen on a daily basis when you're raising SPS....   lol.gif



#8 John Miele

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 05:15 PM

I'll play...!

 

How about driving 4 1/2 hours to a beautiful dark sky site, setting up all the equipment and as darkness falls, getting ready to polar align only you realize you brought a new laptop (strike 1!) and that laptop does not have the drivers loaded to recognize your polemaster (strike 2!) and you have no backup method to polar align so the night is shot for imaging (strike 3!) bawling.gif

 

Ahhh...it's all so fun aint it...lol.gif lol.gif lol.gif


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#9 SkyHunter1

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 09:14 PM

I'll play...!

 

How about driving 4 1/2 hours to a beautiful dark sky site, setting up all the equipment and as darkness falls, getting ready to polar align only you realize you brought a new laptop (strike 1!) and that laptop does not have the drivers loaded to recognize your polemaster (strike 2!) and you have no backup method to polar align so the night is shot for imaging (strike 3!) bawling.gif

 

Ahhh...it's all so fun aint it...lol.gif lol.gif lol.gif

OMG no John, I think I would have lost it for real... I'd say my nights are 50/50 bad and good. About half the time I go out imaging I end up cursing god, man and beast for choosing this hobby. And its not just for the wasted nights, its the 20X that time I spend doing research for every hour I image.

 

I remember once pulling out my car from its parking spot to pack up after the 2nd night in a row  I'd had with no luck. After dragging all my equipment an hour to my imaging site and again using my vacation time to go, I saw my car was pointed straight at my 12K of imaging equipment and for just a moment, a tiny moment, I wanted to hit the gas...

 

To the OP. I feel your pain. Next time you'll get an image that you'll be proud of and you can show to your CN family...

 

Regards,

Skyhunter1


Edited by SkyHunter1, 23 November 2020 - 09:16 PM.


#10 alphatripleplus

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 10:00 PM

I'll play...!

 

How about driving 4 1/2 hours to a beautiful dark sky site, setting up all the equipment and as darkness falls, getting ready to polar align only you realize you brought a new laptop (strike 1!) and that laptop does not have the drivers loaded to recognize your polemaster (strike 2!) and you have no backup method to polar align so the night is shot for imaging (strike 3!) bawling.gif

 

Ahhh...it's all so fun aint it...lol.gif lol.gif lol.gif

And then when you arrive back home, you noticed that you had actually brought your old laptop just in case, but had forgotten about it.

 

(No that didn't happen to me, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did).



#11 klaussius

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 10:01 PM

I got a good one.

I live in the southern hemisphere, so a lot of the iconic objects from the north are either never rising or only barely from here.

So last vacation i planned, I chose to go all the way to the other side of the planet. Did many things, but I set aside a few days to go to a remote observatory and enjoy a truly dark site in the northern hemisphere.

It was a big trip. Expensive and got me all hyped.

Now... planning for such a trip is tricky. Especially for weather. I planned to stay a few days at the observatory to maximize my chance to get a clear night.

So... the day comes. Cloudy except a single night. So you can imagine I had high hopes for that night.

The sky was amazing, and I took my time to do some visual with the big 800mm RC at the dome. Awesome experience.

But then I went out and set up my gear.

I could tell you how none of my subs were usable because I just did not know how to manage dew yet. At my location I rarely have to face it so it was my first battle with dew. And I lost.

But the thing that was more immediately obvios and obviously a planning snafu.... was the big full moon rising as I had just found my target.

Way to go from Bortle 1-2 to Bortle 6 in 5 minutes.

Seeing the moon rise in that dark sky was quite cool, if you ignore the consequences it had on my planned activity. I also at least had had a gelluva time on the 800mm RC.

But I got no souvenir images from that trip. Quite disappointing in that sense.

#12 Wildetelescope

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 12:31 PM

I'll play...!

How about driving 4 1/2 hours to a beautiful dark sky site, setting up all the equipment and as darkness falls, getting ready to polar align only you realize you brought a new laptop (strike 1!) and that laptop does not have the drivers loaded to recognize your polemaster (strike 2!) and you have no backup method to polar align so the night is shot for imaging (strike 3!) bawling.gif

Ahhh...it's all so fun aint it...lol.giflol.giflol.gif


Nights like that are why I always bring out some eyepieces, so I can at least star hop. 😃. Any night under the star is well spent .
Jmd

#13 Wildetelescope

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 12:31 PM

I'll play...!

How about driving 4 1/2 hours to a beautiful dark sky site, setting up all the equipment and as darkness falls, getting ready to polar align only you realize you brought a new laptop (strike 1!) and that laptop does not have the drivers loaded to recognize your polemaster (strike 2!) and you have no backup method to polar align so the night is shot for imaging (strike 3!) bawling.gif

Ahhh...it's all so fun aint it...lol.giflol.giflol.gif


Nights like that are why I always bring out some eyepieces, so I can at least star hop. 😃. Any night under the star is well spent .
Jmd


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