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Winters vs Summers

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#26 alphatripleplus

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 10:59 AM

I used to dislike both winter observing back in NJ (too cold) and summer (mosquitoes). Where I am now, the winter is not nearly as cold and, surprisingly, we have fewer mosquitoes in the summer, so I am happier with both seasons. For me, location has had a big impact.


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#27 Lastwind

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Posted 04 November 2021 - 06:53 PM

I’m sure i’m not the only Canadian that had a chuckle reading those cold temperatures posted above lol.gif  

Pokes aside, I’m on my way to Toronto tomorrow to pick up my first telescope, 10inch dob collapsible goto, does anyone do any observing throughout the winter up here? I plan on adding a fan and dew control to start. There’s no way i’m putting it away the skies look so clear in the winter


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#28 Mitrovarr

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Posted 04 November 2021 - 07:01 PM

It just depends on where you are, and your climate. Here in Idaho, it works out this way:

 

Spring: Generally mediocre weather, it can be hard to find clear days. Gets better in late Spring which is often excellent. Very long days make stargazing somewhat exhausting (it often isn't even fully dark until 11:30 or later!)

 

Summer: Except for the long days, it's great until July-August when the smoke comes and the rest is a total loss.

 

Fall: Probably the best season once the smoke clears in Sept-Oct. Good temps especially at the start, weather isn't too bad but gets worse later.

 

Winter: Almost always bad weather. Inversions make it impossible to stargaze for weeks or even months. Temperatures suck. Rarely are there more than a few opportunities at all.


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#29 CelestronDaddy

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Posted 04 November 2021 - 07:11 PM

Here in Texas I really like the cooler vs the heat of the summer months.  Normally winter is hardly winter just cooler, g.  However this past February we had the 100 year cold event.  It was zero degrees at my house for a couple days and below 15 for several more days.  Damage all over the place but I was lucky I guess only loosing several trees with no plumbing damage.  I have always liked the winter constellations.  So much to see though in the summer time observing wise but in the end I prefer winter for the most part... 


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#30 Tony Flanders

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Posted 05 November 2021 - 04:41 PM

I’m sure i’m not the only Canadian that had a chuckle reading those cold temperatures posted above lol.gif  
Pokes aside, I’m on my way to Toronto tomorrow to pick up my first telescope, 10inch dob collapsible goto, does anyone do any observing throughout the winter up here?


Of course lots of people in Canada observe through the winter. Especially if you're near Toronto, which has very mild winters by Canadian standards.


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#31 Sketcher

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Posted 07 November 2021 - 01:20 PM

Winters vs. Summers:

 

One's latitude has a big say about this.  Then there's one's natural surroundings.  Even one's wildlife can be a factor.  How do these things impact me, from my latitude, with my surroundings and my wildlife?

 

My shortest summer night has about 3 hours of dark sky between the end of evening (astronomical) twilight and the onset of morning twilight.  OTOH, my longest winter night has about 12 hours of dark sky between the same two twilight zones.  So winter has a huge advantage in the "dark sky" department -- for me.

 

I live out (more or less) in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by natural vegetation -- various grasses, pine trees, etc.  (fuels for wildfires).  And with our warming climate, fire season here is very real, and a very bothersome "season".  We've been asked to prepare to evacuate in at least four different years.  Two of those times came with actual notices to evacuate.  On one of those occasions we had little choice in the matter, and we did evacuate.  But most years (in the summer) we've had various levels of smoke in the sky to compromise most of my astronomical activities.  Often the amount of smoke has been too thick for me to justify taking a telescope outside.  So, again, winter has the advantage -- for me.

 

And finally, we get to the most dangerous wildlife (in my opinion, in my neck of the woods, for my family):  The prairie rattlesnake, a critter with a nasty, poisonous bite that can be most unpleasant for us humans.  Furthermore, the prairie rattler prefers to come out and hunt when the sun is below the horizon -- after a long, hot, summer day.  Most of my rattlesnake encounters have occurred at night.  I had to take time out from an observing routine on one night to "dispatch" a rattler that I had disturbed, right beside my walkway, when I went inside to get sketching materials for a suitable observation that I was enjoying.  And yes, you guessed it.  Our resident rattlers prefer to not "surface" during our cold winters.  They're only a concern on those warmer, summer nights -- mostly.  So, once again, winters are the better season for my astronomical endeavors.  But truth be told, I don't let the rattlers stop me from going out and observing.  I know they can be out there.  I know what to look for and what to avoid, etc.  But nevertheless, they're not a concern for my winter nights.

 

OK, so, some will complain about my winter temperatures.  But a person can adjust to those temperatures.  There's something called "common sense" and "appropriate clothing".  Over all my years of observing, I've spent most of that time outside at temperatures that were below freezing.  My winter temperatures are easier to deal with than some of the previously mentioned summer issues.  So, for me, winter is my prime observing season.


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#32 Rollo

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Posted 08 November 2021 - 06:46 AM

Fall, winter and spring time are best here in Florida.   Summers can be ok late at night between 2 and 5am.   July and August are our cloudiest months.   Overall it's not to bad.   I grew up in northern IL. where -40 below wind chill is common in the winter.  lol.gif    So,, don't miss that .  


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#33 Tony Flanders

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Posted 08 November 2021 - 07:27 AM

OK, so, some will complain about my winter temperatures.  But a person can adjust to those temperatures.


That varies from person to person. For instance, my wife has Reynaud's syndrome; her hands lose circulation and turn first yellow and then blue -- while wearing warm mittens -- at the same time that I'm manipulating objects happily with bare hands. So it's physiologically impossible for her to do things like change eyepieces in seriously cold weather.


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#34 lunardave

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Posted 08 November 2021 - 10:34 AM

That varies from person to person. For instance, my wife has Reynaud's syndrome; her hands lose circulation and turn first yellow and then blue -- while wearing warm mittens -- at the same time that I'm manipulating objects happily with bare hands. So it's physiologically impossible for her to do things like change eyepieces in seriously cold weather.

I don't have full on Reynauds.

 

But my hands seem to freeze solid around 20F.

 

So I got some heated gloves, which I have already tested at 32F.

 

The are the **** for sure.

 

Buy your wife some heated gloves and reignite the nights!

 

Day Wolf is the brand.

 

On Amazon. About $135 or so.

 

Come with a charger that charges both batteries at the same time.

 

Li-Po is the chemistry.

 

There is a button on top of each glove that is used to turn the heat on.

 

It glares Red for high 140F X 2 hours.

 

Glares White medium 90-100F X 5 hours.

 

Glares Blue for low 80-90F x 8 hours.

 

I mentioned Glare because the buttons glow bright enough to read by in darkness.

 

I put a little square of electrical tape over the buttons leaving a small sliver to be able to see the settings.

 

The battery goes into a zippered pouch on the underside of the gauntlet portion.

 

The batteries are amazingly small to put out so much heat. Li-Po I guess.

 

The fit is true to size. I wear large work gloves and large is on the money.

 

They are a bit bulky but you can remove a glove to change eyepieces.

 

Put the glove back on to instantly heat your now frozen fingers!

 

Highly recommended by a person with cold hands!

 

https://www.amazon.c...product_details


Edited by lunardave, 08 November 2021 - 10:38 AM.

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#35 csa/montana

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Posted 08 November 2021 - 10:54 AM

I have a pair of these, different brand; but really love them.  Quite nice that both batteries can be charged at the same time.  The small batteries are in a pocket in the cuff, you don't even know they are there.

 

Highly recommend these, for those that suffer with cold hands during the winters.


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#36 Mike McShan

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Posted 08 November 2021 - 12:30 PM

I don't have any issue with the cold, I just have issue with the amount of effort it takes to beat the cold.

I hear ya... However, putting on my ski pants and down jacket really make winter observing much more pleasant.  We don't get the consistent level of cold that states north of us do, but it can be occasionally pretty chilly here. Even nights in the 30s can get miserable without the right clothing.


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#37 lunardave

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Posted 08 November 2021 - 01:53 PM

I hear ya... However, putting on my ski pants and down jacket really make winter observing much more pleasant.  We don't get the consistent level of cold that states north of us do, but it can be occasionally pretty chilly here. Even nights in the 30s can get miserable without the right clothing.

Especially with those winds that come sweeping down the plains!

 

And the waving wheat can sure smell sweet.

 

When the wind comes right behind the rain.

 

I went to Ft. Sill near Lawton OK. 

 

8 weeks basic and 8 weeks AIT.

 

The song mentions wind at least twice.

 

The best by far state anthem ever!

 

I used to sing the O K L A H O M A song to myself after spending time there


Edited by lunardave, 08 November 2021 - 01:55 PM.

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#38 lunardave

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Posted 08 November 2021 - 01:58 PM

https://www.youtube....h?v=p6qfsuLZo6A


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#39 Mike McShan

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Posted 08 November 2021 - 03:38 PM

Especially with those winds that come sweeping down the plains!

 

And the waving wheat can sure smell sweet.

 

When the wind comes right behind the rain.

 

I went to Ft. Sill near Lawton OK. 

 

8 weeks basic and 8 weeks AIT.

 

The song mentions wind at least twice.

 

The best by far state anthem ever!

 

I used to sing the O K L A H O M A song to myself after spending time there

The Lawton area is one of my favorite parts of the state: I go hiking in the Wichita Mountains several times every year.


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#40 CowTipton

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Posted 08 November 2021 - 03:57 PM

My favorite is now, after DST ends.

 

Longer nights, colder air so no bugs, better transparency for DSOs, etc.


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#41 lunardave

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Posted 08 November 2021 - 04:07 PM

The Lawton area is one of my favorite parts of the state: I go hiking in the Wichita Mountains several times every year.

We used part of those mountains for target practice.

 

With 8" howitzers. While was in FDC school.

 

At Ft Sill.



#42 HellsKitchen

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Posted 13 November 2021 - 09:06 PM

I live next to the local mosquito factory, so summer observing - heck even by mid spring, from home at least, is basically intolerable. Interestingly there aren't many mosquitoes at my dark site. And I've seen more than enough snakes right outside my front door to make me well and truly paranoid to be out in the dark.

 

Overall I prefer winter. No bugs and no snakes, but then there is the dew. Oh that dew. On some winter nights it actually amounts to measurable rainfall. Still, that can be dealt with using dew heaters. 


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#43 psy_zju

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Posted 13 November 2021 - 11:20 PM

From the perspective of sky watching or astronomy, I like winter more than summer due to longer night time. In the summer, I have to wait until around 9pm to start observing. While in fall or winter I can start at 7pm.

I live in Arizona and temperature is not a concern for me. It is very mild in winter. In the summer, it gets extremely hot and I usually go to high mountains.


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#44 birger

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Posted 14 November 2021 - 07:01 AM

Observing in the summer is not an option for my latitude, as the Sun never reaches more than 8 degrees or so below the horizon. This and the fact that summers are more humid, makes winters more ideal for observations. I have had a few sessions in -20 degrees Celsius (just below zero Fahrenheit), and the key is good clothing and not standing still for too long. Wiggle your toes, wave your arms etc to ensure a good bloodflow. I don't use telescopes, but I do use cameras sometimes, and maneuvering a camera with a tripod in -20 really sucks, because you need to remove your gloves to make fine adjustments.


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#45 DSO Viewer AZ

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Posted 14 November 2021 - 08:10 AM

From the perspective of sky watching or astronomy, I like winter more than summer due to longer night time. In the summer, I have to wait until around 9pm to start observing. While in fall or winter I can start at 7pm.

I live in Arizona and temperature is not a concern for me. It is very mild in winter. In the summer, it gets extremely hot and I usually go to high mountains.

I also live in central AZ and fully agree. Summers can be down right HOT during the day (and that temp is registered in the devils own terms lol.gif ), at night it can get pretty reasonable. But waiting till 9ish to get out and even sweating at the eyepiece waiting for the cool down (some nights not getting much lower than 80), I do enjoy being able to go out all night in basketball shorts only. Luckily our state has a wonderful mix of mountains and low areas, so it’s always nice somewhere here. We also have the benefit of an amazing amount of viewing nights. Maybe next year I will take a count of how many nights would be good, but my guess is over 250 days a year of “clearer” skies. Winters tend to be better in my opinion here. You can always add more clothing. The coldest viewing I have done here is 21 degrees. As a desert rat that is just unnaturally cold. But still had a great evening.
Aside from time of year, I do feel like mild temps seem to produce better viewing. I go out every month to my dark sky sites, and view pretty regularly in the city as well, and have found that not too cold and not to hot seems to give the best viewing results. Could just be my imagination, as I’m most comfortable, but in an overall sense those evenings with a pretty steady evening temps, viewing is improved enough to notice. We tend to be very blessed here in AZ for weather and Astronomy. 




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