I like observing and I have a lot of good equipment, but it's really tough to go out in the bitter cold. Do many people here go out and observe in the dead of winter? Boston area is not the greatest place for this hobby. Any suggestions on how to observe in the cold other than dress warm? I'm not a young guy anymore and it will probably become more difficult in years to come. Also, I would think that it's not great for the optics as well. I'm wondering what rapid temperature does to aluminized mirrors with the mis match in CTE between the aluminum coating and the fused silica glass.
It never gets cold in Boston! It used to go below 0F fairly regularly, but it's been a long time since that was true. And 0F hardly counts as cold unless there's a really strong wind.
Boston is the semi-tropical face of New England, fronting as it does on the ocean. Spend a winter in northern New England, or even far-western Massachusetts, and Boston will never seem cold again.
Optics couldn't care less about temperature -- at least not at any temperature that humans can survive for more than a few minutes. Purely mechanical components, like Crayford focusers and Dob bearings, likewise. Mechanical components with lubricants, including most rack-and-pinion focusers, can stiffen up in cold weather, in which case the answer is to re-pack them with lithium grease.
Electronics can indeed get balky at cold temperatures, especially displays. And batteries can get flaky indeed. In general, lithium batteries are best. But displays may require some external heat source to operate well at 0F.
The best answer is to dress warmly -- much, much more warmly than you are used to dressing. Yesterday morning I went out for an hour when the temp was 6F, and it was quite windy. Wearing Sorel boots, a ski bib, and an expedition-weight parka, I was barely aware that it was cold at all, except for my hands.
The only real problems are your hands and face. You can't see if your face is covered, and there's a limit to how much insulation you can place on your hands and still manipulate anything. My answer for that is to use chemical handwarmers; they're miraculous.
Edited by Tony Flanders, 25 January 2021 - 08:23 AM.