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Arghh... clear up and clean up, skies!

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#26 lphilpot

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 04:55 PM

I agree, there's no such thing as a completely perfect night -- here least of all -- but I'm a visual deep sky observer and last night (as well as 99.9% of previous nights) was  simply not up to observing DSOs, faint or otherwise. By the time the cirrus moved on (9:30 PM), it was too late. It's an hour to a dark site and I wasn't even packed.

 

Dew in the Gulf coast states is a problem year-round, actually worse during the fall / winter. I don't have a SCT but I use a Dew-Buster on my Dob and refractors. The Dew-Buster is very good at efficiently doling out power only as needed, plus the designer (Ron Keating) is very responsive and helpful to work with. I have heater strips on the (refractor) objective, eyepiece / diagonal, finder eyepiece, finder objective and red dot finder. On my Dob I have a Kendrick secondary heater, but I had an AstroSystems DewGuard in the past and it's a bit better. The Kendrick certainly works, but the DewGuard has a sensitivity adjustment, etc. I have a fan behind the primary on my Dob but the way it's mounted it causes minor vibration visible at high power (I need to fix that). I use it only to cool the mirror before observing - I've never had any primary dew up while observing.

 

I also use all the passive dew measures I can, such as dew shields, shroud, etc., from the get-go. Plus, I don't leave eyepieces out unless I'm looking through them. In cooler weather I keep them in a soft pocket so they'll stay warmer (not a factor right now, LOL).



#27 justfred

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 07:16 PM

Yep. No better here in Birmingham. Good news in the bad - the neighbor had a large Red Oak fall across my fence during one of the thunderstorms. The fence can be fixed and I now have a view to the South. 👽

 

Fred

 

 

 

 



#28 HellsKitchen

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 12:50 AM

Weather has been ludicrously, uncharacteristically crap here. Ridiculous winds all the time, showers every second day, constant cold fronts, just unsettled dross all round. Worst winter ever. vomit.gif



#29 NightSkyD

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 10:09 AM

I’ll check out the dew busters thanks!



#30 Mike W

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 10:58 AM

I have never had a worst season here in upstate New York! Rain, wind, smoke then Moon! No observing at all in July!!!! 


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#31 payner

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 11:46 AM

Smoke is not good here. It has been bad by my non-western perspective for a ~month. Maybe I should be taking my telescopes out when it is clear, but hazy from smoke, rather than/mixed with our typical humidity and concern about the optics prevents me. This situation is now an annual affair, it seems. I wish they'd put into place forestry practices that would include selective harvest and management for the dead and senescing trees and brush. It'd be good for the health of the forests, electrical grid and save lives and homes.



#32 lphilpot

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 12:06 PM

There are periodic controlled burns in the Kisatchie National Forest near us, but that's about it. Not being a forester I have no experience, but I have to believe managing that here is a totally different ballgame: In a humid / rainy environment vs. the dry tinderbox out west. Maybe it's reached a tipping point where the level of development / encroachment vs. the ability to contain controlled burns makes it too dangerous (despite the need)? I have no idea.



#33 M11Mike

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 01:46 PM

Not a single moonless decent visual observing night since early JUNE.  I have been at this for over 60 years - I can't recall a single year when I did not have at least a couple of decent observing nights in June and July.  Mostly it's been cloudy and rain....almost every day.  They say we have had the wettest June and July in many years and I'm sure they are right.  It rains almost every day.  And the atmosphere is just so unstable that even when they predict CLEAR - there are clouds everywhere --- they don't show up on any of the satellite maps....they just seem to suddenly "pop up".  Then when there finally is a clear night - you're dealing with all the HUMIDITY in the air from all the rain --- the ground is saturated.  So transparency is poor.  Then there's the smoke issue.  Or wind.  Or???  Just "something", some issue - every day / every night.  This has to be the most depressing summer star gazing season that I can remember in my entire life.  Kinda takes the star gazing "air" out of the star gazing "balloon".   You have all this great equipment --- and you simply can't use it - just sits there collecting dust while you wait for a decent night.  Forget about ABOVE AVERAGE - can't remember what that is like.  Can barely remember what a AVERAGE night is.  Kinda "dampens" your interest altogether.  

 

M11Mike (Ballston Lake, NY)

 

PS: Well it's August 1st - totally cloudy with more T-Storms rolling in right now as I type this.  I'm not at all optomistic about August - looks like simply more of the same.  No STAR PARTIES, no NEAF and now no decent observing conditions - what next???        



#34 NightSkyD

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 03:12 PM

Maybe some smart guy might be able to patent x-ray eyepieces to penetrate the clouds or a really big fan/dehumidifier lol.gif

 

Well to borrow a phrase from Lloyd Bridges in “Airplane!” the movie “I guess I picked the wrong time…” To start up this hobby.


Edited by NightSkyD, 01 August 2021 - 03:25 PM.


#35 George N

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 05:16 PM

I have never had a worst season here in upstate New York! Rain, wind, smoke then Moon! No observing at all in July!!!! 

The Binghamton NWS station recorded 268% of 'normal' rain in July 2021 - third highest on record.

 

I did get a few nights of 'moon thru the smoke, with a look at Saturn and Jupiter' -- plus Friday July 30 cleared out after early night clouds. The transparency was nice - nice enough that I could see the Milky Way - horizon to horizon at my Southern Tier house! It was in the mid-40's - which I found to be quite cold after all the recent heat. Unfortunately I just sold my Obsession 20 and my temp fill-in until the NMT 20" F/3.5 arrrives ( C-9.25 on an Evo Mount) dewed up a little. Last night - July 31st - a friend was up in the parking lot at Kopernik Observatory (Vestal, NY) and grabbed a nice image of the North American Nebula with his 65mm APO, ZWO camera and SkyGuider mount - before the clouds arrived.

 

Now -- I'm just hoping that we have at least one good night at Stellafane next weekend - and also for "the night of the Perseids" -- I hope to 'shoot' down to Cherry Springs for the best night - I'll just leave my truck packed from Stellafane - except for dirty clothes of course.


Edited by George N, 01 August 2021 - 05:18 PM.


#36 lphilpot

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 05:24 PM

40s? Wow. We won't get that until maybe late November. Pre-dawn this morning it was 77F. wink.gif   Then again, you can have your winters... I can find no benefit in cold weather, especially since it doesn't even seem to kill mosquitoes! lol.gif


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#37 NightSkyD

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 10:28 PM

Well I got lucky last night and early morning today. I had a window of opportunity for about four hours with clear skies believe it or not, but it was still hazy and humid. I processed one of the AVI files and I’m having trouble with lining up the rings of Saturn. I’m guessing this is due to poor seeing conditions but since I’m new to AP maybe others can chime in on what I did wrong. I first processed the file in PIPP then in Autostakkert and finally in Registax 6. I even added some additional larger AP points in Autostakkert along the rings and that didn’t seem to help. Here is what the result was:

 

Attached File  8189068D-82EE-49D8-8999-5DA5694A29D3.tiff   10.79KB   8 downloads


Edited by NightSkyD, 02 August 2021 - 10:29 PM.


#38 alphatripleplus

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 08:11 AM

A couple of nights ago, I had what seemed the clearest night in the last few weeks, at least in terms of transparency. Did not notice the haze that has been plaguing us during the summer.



#39 CeeKay

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 03:42 PM

Things have been OK here up until last Friday, smoke from fires in WA and OR has settled into the local area (been seeing yellow-orange sunrises the last couple of mornings).  Everything is hazy today, can't even see the top of Mt. St. Helens or Mt. Hood.

 

Tried observing Jupiter and Saturn this morning at 3:00 AM... Jupiter's 4 moons were noticeably fainter and I couldn't make out Titan when looking at Saturn with my AR 102.

 

Hope that here some needed rain soon, otherwise it will be a long summer for those on the fire lines...



#40 LDW47

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 05:50 PM

I'll be in Colorado around the Labor Day dark moon but, alas, it's not an astro trip. However, I will have binocs, red light, SkySafari and a small atlas hidden away somewhere with me. I shall not be denied!!  lol.gif

And all the dense smoke from the fires   MAYBE



#41 lphilpot

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 05:52 PM

Yeah, but it's on the books, partially paid for, coordinated with another couple. Done deal, one way or the other. At any rate, it's gotta be more comfortable at 7000+ feet than at 150.



#42 George N

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 10:14 PM

40s? Wow. We won't get that until maybe late November. Pre-dawn this morning it was 77F. wink.gif   Then again, you can have your winters... I can find no benefit in cold weather, especially since it doesn't even seem to kill mosquitoes! lol.gif

It was clear again last night - and again tonight in NY's Southern Tier - three nights in a row - but the transparency seems a lot less tonight -- and the temp is again around 48 F. It never got above around 70 F today and cooler yesterday.

 

Some of the forecasts are looking decent for Stellafane next weekend - 2 partly cloudy to mostly clear nights - no smoke, but lots of dew expected - only cloudy one night with maybe a little rain. Who knows, that could all change - but I plan on bringing a winter coat, gloves, and my winter sleeping bag - along with my cargo shorts! I'm just not use to being out in the 40's right now.

 

I remember one August telling the check-out clerk at "The Moon Rock Café" at the Kennedy Apollo building that "I just bought the last sweat shirt you have." She said "We don't get much call for those this time of year." ( It was like 99 F out ). I said "Oh - I guess so. I'm going camping in Vermont in a few days and the low is forecast to be 40F and I expect a few degrees lower!" She looked at me like I was from the moon, not the rocks! Nothing like Stellafane on a clear August night on top of a Vermont mountain for "cool & crisp".  wink.gif



#43 lphilpot

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 10:22 PM

I always think the same thing when packing up (in the flatlands of Louisiana) for TSP (in the mountains of Texas). It'll be in the 80s typically at home, but I know nighttime lows can be in the 30s at TSP. So here I am stuffing cold weather gear into my car, sweating all the while.

 

...and it's overcast here tonight.  But tomorrow night is forecast to be merely "below average" transparency, which is an improvement. I'll at least head out and then if Friday's still better forecast holds (and I don't end up doing something that night, since it's my daughter's birthday), I'll head out again.

 

Fingers crossed....



#44 sanbai

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 02:50 PM

Just landed in Jackson Hole. The smoke is pretty significant, never thought it could be that bad. Transparency is bad, for observing and also for sightseeing (it's also 2pm...) :(

Edited by sanbai, 04 August 2021 - 03:10 PM.


#45 NightSkyD

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Posted 08 August 2021 - 10:06 PM

Well I finally got around to processing Jupiter from August 2. It actually turned out surprisingly well given the terrible seeing conditions lately. Saturn an on the other hand was a bust. I was imaging Saturn about a couple hours after Jupiter so in the south if anybody knows the south it gets more humid as time goes on into the night. Here is the picture of Jupiter and if anybody’s interested I am making custom frames for pictures. I’ll attach a framed pictures of the Moon as well:

 

3132C287-2027-4007-AB43-B77B8653F17B.jpeg

 

C3B551E1-885C-4489-8BBE-53EA6A9E2107.jpeg

 

See My Gallery for higher resolution of Jupiter and the Custom frame.


Edited by NightSkyD, 08 August 2021 - 10:23 PM.


#46 lphilpot

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Posted 08 August 2021 - 10:10 PM

For planetary work, seeing is great. For deep sky visual, it's all about transparency... Seeing is IMO a secondary bonus at best - great if it happens, but if not, oh well. :)

 

Glad you're able to get some "work" done (nice shot). I went out earlier to see a 3.x mag satellite straight overhead - barely visible through the gunk. Still waiting for clear skies over here.



#47 Keith Rivich

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Posted 08 August 2021 - 11:06 PM

Just stepped out on my patio, which is Bortle 5/6 but shielded from direct artificial light (albeit with a 75+ degree treeline to the west/north, house to the east/south). Vega is 71 degrees up and after 15 minutes or so zeta and delta Lyrae (mag. 4.x) are just barely direct vision. The keystone is directly overhead and through 10x70s M13 is just a very dull circular smudge.

 

Yep, that's hazy... It's never great here but this is far worse than usual, maybe roughly equivalent to a full Bortle category move.

This season has been weird, Len. Was at the George last night. The milky way was visible, good thing one would think, but the view through the scope was, well, bizarre. Through the 13.1" deck scope M13, M57 and M27 were blah. Through the 36" I looked at BL Lacerta, sitting at V12.5 and should be a beacon, was dull and weirdly faint. Not sure what was up. Humidity and smoke? Saturn, though, was spectacular in the 36" at 600x. Looked like a Hubble image!

 

Columbus has been the same. 




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