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What did you NOT observe with your classic telescope today?

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#26 rcwolpert

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 10:51 PM

I totally get this:

It's not a matter of using a grab and go (I have a great one and a number of amazing binoculars), it's more "what do I really feeling like doing tonight" and am I going to feel guilty for not taking out a telescope.”

I’ve run thru all the same excuses: clouds, haze light pollution, obstructions etc. and for me, Temperature is a big one, except my cut-off is 45° unless there is some interesting transient or periodic phenomenon I want to see. Truth be told, I only regularly observe (once or twice a week) six month out of the year (mid April to mid October). Truth be told, for me it’s lack of energy and lack of motivation. I’m 71 too! And I ain’t what I used to be! Plus, here in the Ohio Valley, the weather is so variable that it’s almost impossible to to ever plan. That’s probably the biggest reason I’ve been paring stuff down, I just don’t get the opportunity to use it that much, or have the energy and motivation to use it that much, and ai hate having stuff taking up space that I don’t use. And I’m pretty much a solitary observer and it gets lonely! I have one good observing buddy but we don’t get out that often (he’s four years older than me). So thank you Bob for being brave enough to bring this up and start this topic. I too have been a silent sufferer of this affliction and also am another guilty party.

We’re alike in many ways, Terra, following similar paths in life. Yes, once we hit the 70’s the energy and motivation is just not what it used to be. Sometimes I try to fight it and force myself to engage in my hobbies, but it is taking more effort every year. I’ve spent the evening working on my binoculars and will give them some use until a good telescope event comes up.


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#27 rcwolpert

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 10:59 PM

... the fact that it takes me 5 trips up and down the condo stairs to get all my equipment out there ...

 

I think you're in good company - the No Way! Gang.  In your situation, I'd carry the FC-50 with Vixen Turret on the VersaGo, in One Trip.  That would be it.  Shoot!  When it's 95* + 80% R/H + Mosquito Swarms, I have no interest in toting, or rolling a rig out of the shed... a whopping 10 feet.  And no steps, much less stairs.  Nope.  Not motivated - even when Mars / Jupiter / Saturn is at opposition...

It’s good to have you in the classic “often lacking energy and motivation” club, Bob. Love what you said, especially at the end. I can relate.


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#28 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 02:14 AM

I am 73 and still pretty much make it out for at least an hour if it's clear.  I can no longer do all nighters, I will take a 2-3 hour nap when I find myself falling asleep at the eyepiece. (This year, I have logged 51 nights, 143 hours)

 

The primary reason I do not observe with my sole classic scope is that I normally observe with something more modern.  My COC 60mm F/15 represents a change of pace, an easy scope for an easy night.  Technically my 12.5 inch and 16 inch Dobs are over 25 years old and so qualify as classics but they've been reworked and they are Dobs, no classics. 

 

What happens to me is that my sessions are shorter than they would have been if I were younger.   Some of my reasons for cutting a session short or not observing at all:

 

- Tired.. falling asleep.

 

- Moon and/or bad seeing combined.  

 

- Partially cloudy

 

- Cold and windy.  I feel like I do pretty good.  A 10-15 mph wind is pretty normal in the high desert and temperatures can be in the 30s-50s even in the summer.  When it's blowing over 20mph and below 45 degrees, I tend to cut sessions short.  The most I can tolerate is 25mph-30mph at 33-35F.  

 

- The moon..  I generally work my sleep around the moon so if I am out in the high desert, I might observe for an hour or two if the moon is up but then I will go to sleep with the idea of waking up at moon set.  

 

- Downsizing.. I down sized 4 years ago from a 25 inch F/5 to the 22 inch F/4.4.  There are a lot of nights when the 16 inch just more appealing.

 

- My strategy is that if it's clear, I will be out there with something.  In the high desert, it's usually either the 16 inch or 22 inch.  In the city, it might be anything from a 50mm F/5 repurposed finder to the 13.1 inch F/5.5.  

 

I just enjoy being outside under the night sky.. I guess old habits die hard and I am just getting too old to remember that I don't have to get out there every chance I get.

 

Jon


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#29 Bomber Bob

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 06:45 AM

I think the real estate adage, Location! Location! Location! applies here as well as a motivator / de-motivator.  Honestly, this house is the best ever for owning & deploying Big Scopes:  Dry shed storage, all concrete surfaces, big doors.  But... it's in a largish river town, surrounded by wetlands.  If I could teleport the whole place about 50 miles SW - out to the flat fields - I'd have no excuses for not observing every decent night.

 

I just enjoy being outside under the night sky.

 

Same here.  Takes me back to my youth; and, despite advancing age, rekindles some of that Romantic (in the Classical sense) connection to the universe... of possibilities.  Some city-dwelling CNers take their adverse conditions as challenges - how deep can you go with a CZJ T2?  I admire their spirit and enjoy their observing reports.  But, we have long HOT & HUMID summers here - a few skeeters came after me last night! - and having to use sweat rags to keep drops off the eyepieces... I don't look forward to that at all.  

 

Great thread, Bob!!  More info & insight that I'll use when we choose our next - and hopefully final - residence.  Saying So Long! to The Swamp - now that's motivating!


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#30 combatdad

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 07:39 AM

I'm 73 also, but still regularly get out my classic scopes, ranging from 60mm to 125mm.  With the exception of the 60mm, they all get mounted on my Losmandy G-11 in my backyard...and the 5 inch Unitron gets out only a couple times a year.  I still try to get out on most clear nights if for nothing more than to check out some favorite doubles for an hour or so.  For me it is relaxing...and I'm not looking forward to the day when I can't do the setup.

 

Dave


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#31 Terra Nova

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 07:43 AM

Last summer I did more binocular observing than I had in more than fifty years. Nearly every night I was out on the deck in the chaise looking up. The big helping factors for that were we had a really mild summer with fewer bugs and lower humidity, and more importantly, the skies were clearer and darker with hardly ever a contrail because of the pandemic. Also because of the pandemic, I was home every night, there were no get togethers with friends and family and no trips. It will be more business as usual this summer I fear with lights, traffic, and air planes. On the plus side, there will be get togethers with friends and family and I am planning on a couple of trips, (just here in the US). I live alone and will generally opt for a social occasion rather than solitary astronomizing. I do wish I was involved in a more active astronomy community here. I am part of the Friends of the Observatory but everything has been shut down for the past year, and our star parties are unfortunately outreach events with lots of lookeyloos and a suboptimal location when we do have them. It’s a far cry from the club I used to be in where we had a great site and members only, serious observing sessions.

 

Anyway, I have high hopes. My open air observatory is all cleaned up and ready for the new observing season. The biggest problem is that there are steps either up from the walk out basement where my bigger scopes are kept, but not to many and my scopes for the most part are doable, even with multiple trips that the bigger ones require. The deck has more restricted views but is very convenient, and all my smaller scopes are on the first floor and just a walk out the kitchen door. Same with the front porch. Anyway, I am going to make a conscious effort this year to get out and observe more with the scopes. So again, thank you for this thread Bob. I feel more inspired knowing there are others in the same boat. Here’s Terra Nova Open-Air Observatory, all cleaned up and ready for use:

Attached Thumbnails

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Edited by Terra Nova, 07 April 2021 - 03:29 PM.

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#32 rcwolpert

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 08:19 AM

I like that observatory, Terra! Very private, and I can see a relaxing evening there enjoying one of your scopes.


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#33 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 08:21 AM

I live alone and will generally opt for a social occasion rather than solitary astronomizing.

 

 

:waytogo:

 

I am happily married and my wife is very supportive. With our two homes, dark sky observing tends to mean being separated. I made the decision a few years ago to put top priority on friends and family. 

 

And too, it's hard to enjoy stargazing when I thinking I doing this alone when I could with family and friends.

 

Jon


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#34 rcwolpert

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 08:33 AM

I mentioned that from the time I started observing (~12) until my 30's, nothing could keep me from lugging my telescopes outside and observing. I was totally motivated.

 

From my 30's to my early 50's I had a roll-off roof observatory on my deck, right outside the back door. The 800-lb mount went right through a hole in the deck. It was so easy to be motivated - just a few steps out the door and I could push the roof away with a thumb.

 

gallery_211497_4490_15370.jpg

 

From my 50's until 6 years ago all I had to do was step outside my back door and my telescope was always setup and ready to go, with those beautiful CA skies.

 

med_gallery_211497_4490_238317.jpg

 

gallery_211497_4490_1407452866_29486.jpg

 

Again, it was so easy to be motivated to get under the stars every clear night - which was most nights in CA.

 

Now it's not easy. It's a real chore and I've lost most of my motivation.

 

"More info & insight that I'll use when we choose our next - and hopefully final - residence."  Very wise, Bob!!!  It does make a difference.


Edited by rcwolpert, 07 April 2021 - 01:24 PM.

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#35 Terra Nova

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 08:40 AM

I like that observatory, Terra! Very private, and I can see a relaxing evening there enjoying one of your scopes.

Thanks Bob. The observing pad is very stable. I put one to two inches of sand down under it. Then a friend got me a piece of a rubber factory conveyor belt that was being destroyed. It’s about 8’ wide and very dense rubber about 1/2” thick. That is over the sand. And then the rubber shop mats are over it. The holes in them are great for tripod feet or my pedestal mount. It’s vibration free and soft to stand on. Also I’m pretty well blocked from ambient light. Even the neighbors windows because they are above me. I have tall shrubs on one side, my garden shed on one side, and my house on the other so all sides are blocked from direct light. I have to put two light screens up on my deck but none are needed for the observatory.


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#36 oldmanastro

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 09:39 AM

This is a great thread. I think everyone has gone through this experience. My observing spot lies just a few feet from the "telescope room" as my wife calls it. Taking the classics out requires little effort. I open the door, grab any scope, walk maybe 10 feet and I'm there. Even then, sometimes I open the door to check the eastern skies and if I see a whiff of clouds in the horizon, that's my excuse for not going out. If no clouds are present, then maybe the transparency is not good. I must confess that this doesn't happen often. Since my retirement in 2019, I have been trying to observe on most clear nights but at 68 now, sometimes I just don't feel like going out. A good movie and a comfortable sofa are calling on me. As I go to bed and recheck the skies, I feel a little guilty if it's clear (not so much if the movie was ok). 


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#37 oldmanastro

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 10:08 AM

Last summer I did more binocular observing than I had in more than fifty years. Nearly every night I was out on the deck in the chaise looking up. The big helping factors for that we we had a really mild summer with fewer bugs and lower humidity, and more importantly, the skies were clearer and darker with hardly ever a contrail because of the pandemic. Also because of the pandemic, I was home every night, there were no get togethers with friends and family and no trips. It will be more business as usual this summer I fear with lights, traffic, and air planes. On the plus side, there will be get togethers with friends and family and I am planned on a couple of trips, (just here in the US). I live alone and will generally opt for a social occasion rather than solitary astronomizing. I do wish I was involved in a more active astronomy community here. I am part of the Friends of the Observatory but everything has been shut down for the past year, and our star parties are unfortunately outreach events with lots of lookeyloos and a suboptimal location.

 

Anyway, I have high hopes. My open air observatory is all cleaned up. The biggest problem is that there are steps either up from the walk out basement, or down from the deck, but not to many and my scopes for the most part are doable, even with multiple trips for the bigger ones. The deck has more restricted views but is very convenient, and all my smaller scopes are on the first floor and just a walk out the kitchen door. Same with the front porch. Anyway, I am going to make a conscious effort this year to get out and observe more with the scopes. So again, thank you for this thread Bob. I feel more inspired knowing there are others in the same boat. Here’s Terra Nova Open-Air Observatory, all cleaned up and ready for use:

This is a very nice open air observatory Terra. If my backyard was a good observing spot, your design would be my starting point. Unfortunately my observing has to be done on the roof surrounded by street lights. My next project is to put light shields around the observing spot. They will not only provide some protection from the street lights and my neighbors new LED floodlights but also some privacy.


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#38 clamchip

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 10:20 AM

This is when a reasonable flow of telescopes is good to keep interest high.

Especially when its not possible to observe. 

A new craig's list find can feed you with sweet candy or a sour lemon drop!

We are hunter gatherers by nature always on the lookout and we take it back to the

cave and make it shinny again.

 

Robert


Edited by clamchip, 07 April 2021 - 10:21 AM.

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#39 Matty S

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 11:59 AM

I'm a terrible procrastinator. I've piddled away many beautiful, starry nights for one reason or another. My recent big excuse is lack of energy - not really false in my case since I work 20 hours at a stretch lumping 15 tons of product with a hand-truck; all I wanna do when I get home is have a hot shower, a cold beer and a warm meal, then I'm out like a light until the next trip. But I do regret not capitalizing on rare moments I could peep through my scopes.
I recently discovered a way to think of things that helps motivate me more, though some may find it saddening.
There is always one last time I will do something, important things and little things - play with my dog, drive a truck, kiss the wife, etc., because at any moment anything can happen to change our lives forever, then what will I regret NOT doing?
If I keep the thought that this may be the last time I get to see the stars, or look through my scopes, or anything else, really, I find myself motivated to try more.

 

p.s. - this is definitely a "First-World" problem...undecided.gif


Edited by Matty S, 07 April 2021 - 12:03 PM.

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#40 clamchip

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 12:50 PM

I think a doctor would diagnose us all having the same problem.

After all we are all from the same cookie sheet here in the classic forum. 

Maybe a more scientific approach to observing might add sparkle.

Consult your library and or Sky&Telescope or Astronomy and make a

list of objects of interest. Stuff you've never observed before.

Learn all you can about these targets and go find and study them in depth.

I need to do this.

Lately, besides Mars late last year, I tend to willy-nilly sky surf and that's

not very productive or stimulating.

 

Robert 


Edited by clamchip, 07 April 2021 - 01:02 PM.

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#41 rcwolpert

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 01:20 PM

I think a doctor would diagnose us all having the same problem.

After all we are all from the same cookie sheet here in the classic forum. 

Maybe a more scientific approach to observing might add sparkle.

Consult your library and or Sky&Telescope or Astronomy and make a

list of objects of interest. Stuff you've never observed before.

Learn all you can about these targets and go find and study them in depth.

I need to do this.

Lately, besides Mars late last year, I tend to willy-nilly sky surf and that's

not very productive or stimulating.

 

Robert 

Good point, Robert.  A year ago I made this instrument to measure double stars and do some science. It was fun making it, but unfortunately, I've yet to use it! frown.gif

 

gallery_211497_9431_79838.jpg


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#42 rcwolpert

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 01:22 PM

"I'm a terrible procrastinator. I've piddled away many beautiful, starry nights for one reason or another. My recent big excuse is lack of energy".

 

I'm right with you, Matty!


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#43 rcwolpert

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 01:24 PM

"I open the door, grab any scope, walk maybe 10 feet and I'm there. Even then, sometimes I open the door to check the eastern skies and if I see a whiff of clouds in the horizon, that's my excuse for not going out. If no clouds are present, then maybe the transparency is not good."

 

LOL! Yep...I'm right there with you.  I'm starting to feel much better about not observing!


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#44 Matty S

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 01:42 PM

"I open the door, grab any scope, walk maybe 10 feet and I'm there. Even then, sometimes I open the door to check the eastern skies and if I see a whiff of clouds in the horizon, that's my excuse for not going out. If no clouds are present, then maybe the transparency is not good."

 

LOL! Yep...I'm right there with you.  I'm starting to feel much better about not observing!

Or, sometimes in Spring... the Peepers are too loud!... bugeyes.gif

 

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
- Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring


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#45 Pete W

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 01:55 PM

All hobbies and interests change over time.  And with astronomy many of those changes are beyond our control – like observing site availability and light pollution. A few years ago our local club lost its safe and secure dark sky site and I found that without a destination, my interest waned dramatically.  “I’m not gonna have better views from my light-polluted backyard than the dark sky site, so why bother?”  This lasted quite a few years, all the while the 18" collected dust instead of photons.

 

Getting interested in small classic scopes and finding another dark sky site within an easy 50-minute drive definitely re-invigorated me.  Using the small refractors and RV-6 that I longed for as a youth helped me re-discover why I got interested in the hobby, even from my less-than-dark backyard.  

 

Finally, I agree with Robert about finding an observing plan.  One of my old observing buddies would randomly open up his star atlas and begin to track down the DSOs on the page…whatever gets you motivated.  Too many times I’ve gone out without a plan and ended up looking at the same stuff over and over, making me wonder why I took out a scope.  Was I truly motivated to observe or was it guilt of wasting a clear night?


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#46 Paul Sweeney

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 03:57 PM

I have to say that I still like getting out under the stars, and it is my 2 classics that help me. Here in Germany, we have terrible weather. During the winter months, we might only have one or two clear nights a month. Mostly, we have short clear periods, like one or two hours. My bigger scopes would just be cooled down in time for the clouds to return. The classics (60 & 80 mm) get me out on those so-so nights.

I try to keep myself motivated by digging into new areas ( currently carbon stars) and building up a local observing group.

Still, there are those nights when the scopes are screaming to be let out but I just don't have the energy or I would rather just stay in. So I show the scopes who's the boss and send them scampering back into their storage area (telescopes love authority) and I don't have a guilty conscience. A hobby should be done if and when you want, otherwise it turns into a chore.
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#47 oldmanastro

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 04:03 PM

I think a doctor would diagnose us all having the same problem.

After all we are all from the same cookie sheet here in the classic forum. 

Maybe a more scientific approach to observing might add sparkle.

Consult your library and or Sky&Telescope or Astronomy and make a

list of objects of interest. Stuff you've never observed before.

Learn all you can about these targets and go find and study them in depth.

I need to do this.

Lately, besides Mars late last year, I tend to willy-nilly sky surf and that's

not very productive or stimulating.

 

Robert 

That's why I re-invigorated my variable star observing program for the AAVSO and lunar observing and imaging for the ALPO. However, most of the time I just go out with a classic and my old battered copy of the Norton's to hunt for doubles and any NGC or Messier that I can catch. These are the nights when time just passes by and sometimes while observing I  pause to see the whole panorama of the sky or to read some information that I just found in the web about a specific double or DSO. This last action kills the little dark adaptation that I can achieve here.


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#48 oldmanastro

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 04:07 PM

Good point, Robert.  A year ago I made this instrument to measure double stars and do some science. It was fun making it, but unfortunately, I've yet to use it! frown.gif

 

gallery_211497_9431_79838.jpg

Nice instrument to measure position angle. I have to build one like this. This one looks super.


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#49 rcwolpert

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 05:35 PM

“Still, there are those nights when the scopes are screaming to be let out but I just don't have the energy or I would rather just stay in. So I show the scopes who's the boss and send them scampering back into their storage area (telescopes love authority) and I don't have a guilty conscience. A hobby should be done if and when you want, otherwise it turns into a chore.”

 

funnypost.gif 
 

That’s funny...love it!


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#50 CHASLX200

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 06:11 PM

After looking at the same deep sky objects since the 1970's they just always look the same. At the planets do show some change and that is 90% of my viewing.


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