View Full Version here: : How often do you use your gear?
25-07-2012, 08:05 PM
As I'm a bit laid up at the moment and can see the scope sitting around lonely and neglected, it got me wondering, how often do you all (on average) use your gear?
By that I mean actually stand at the eyepiece and view something or image something or at least make a solid attempt :)
I know it varies with the weather and time of year , but on a clear week, how many nights would you get out there?
25-07-2012, 08:07 PM
Not much lately, Peter. So many cloudy or wet nights.
25-07-2012, 08:08 PM
But if you had a fortnight of clear skies how often do you reckon you'd be out there?
25-07-2012, 08:10 PM
Not since August 2010. I've set it now a couple of dozen times since then, and have never made it past polar alignment when the sky all of a sudden closes in. I'm cursed, and I'm no longer as interested as I once was. Pity :(
25-07-2012, 08:11 PM
Maybe once weekly
3 out of 4 clear nights on average.
Most clear nights, if its around new moon... 4 out 5 nights. But I usually have 2 observatories running in that case.
I voted the wrong option... doh.
I accidently clicked once or twice a month which given the weather lately is probably closer to the truth but if all conditions are ideal then it's more than 5 times a month.
25-07-2012, 08:34 PM
Been a bad July weather & workwise (travelling), but checked & have clocked up 8 sessions: one morning (7th) & seven evenings. Bit of a surprise really. :question: Quite low in output though.
Only one visual session, on the 22nd (very poor for me). Rest were photographic, on 3, 7, 18, 19, 20, 22 & 23 July. Some involved waiting for suitable gaps in the cloud, which arrived. 3rd was around Full Moon give-or-take, must have been desperate! :P
Plus I did a short solar session on the 15th so maybe that makes 9. :shrug:
25-07-2012, 08:46 PM
Once or twice every two months. Every so often I check inside my mirror box to make sure the mirror hasn't been cocooned in cobwebs.
yeah, I live in Melbourne.
Not enough as i would like too the weather has been crap lately :(
I havnt used my scope since the Venus Transit im starting to have withdrawls :help:
25-07-2012, 09:13 PM
If you don't have an observatory, and have to haul yourself out of bed at 5 ish on weekdays, there's not really a huge window of opportunity is there?
25-07-2012, 09:18 PM
Every clear night, except during the brightest time around Full Moon.
But yeah there is a huge difference between setting everything up versus flicking a switch in the obs!
25-07-2012, 10:10 PM
Hardly much these days :(
25-07-2012, 10:15 PM
I have voted for "more than 5 times a month" but that assumes clear skies. I get out on virtually every clear night when the moonage is not too bad. ATM i would get out even at full moon I am so desperate with all these clouds.
25-07-2012, 10:17 PM
Almost never. Around here on the rare occasions it's not cloudy, the sky is always wet. Every time I've set up in the last 18 months (probably 8 times) it's been a big disappointment. I'm actually considering selling my gear.
25-07-2012, 10:19 PM
Probably once a week, even to look at a full moon and a planet or two for a 30 mins. We had two clear nights in Melbourne last new moon and I got out and looked at Omega Centauri, the Jewell box and around Scorpius' tail. The scope is set up due north in the lounge room at the moment ready to open the window to fire away at an early morning Jupiter. That was set up 5 days ago and still we have not had a break in the morning clouds.
25-07-2012, 10:37 PM
I seem to get out more than most of you. I create a folder on my observatory puter each night. I have 38 nights over the last 3 months including 2 weeks when I was away. All of this is either photometry or spectroscopy observations.
25-07-2012, 11:51 PM
Sadly, I said "once a quarter".
You should do a poll - "How often do you wish you use your gear!"
But I've just been out tonight to show an amateur visiting from Finland the delights of the southern sky. Managed to grab some holes in the clouds.
And I was out two weekends ago. OMG, twice in one month! Hurray!
And Border Stargaze locked in coming in a few weeks!
I'm going to get dizzy with excitement!
At least once a week at the moment.
I'm pretty much restricted to Saturday nights weather permitting.
26-07-2012, 02:55 AM
I replied 'once a week' but that depends on the season and weather. Now it is summer in Holland so I use it more often as it is clear more often, but in (northern) winter is is very cloudy here and I usually go on holiday to clearer, warmer and darker locations and take my gear with me.
26-07-2012, 05:38 AM
At least 1-2 a week. Mainly just switching from cluster to cluster and sometimes planets when they're in the right place. Balcony mainly looks out to the East / South-East and Zenith ... Mars and Saturn are out of reach at the moment, so I spend alot of the time viewing Omega Centauri, the Jewell box and in between ... Note I need to setup my C11 GEM5pro named Tron! each time as he lives indoors and I don't have the luxury of an Observatory.
Working graveyard shift I only really get to spend a few hours viewing after sundown then I need to be packed by 10.30pm
looking forward to heading out to Crago next month fingers crossed the weather behaves ...
26-07-2012, 05:47 AM
like everyone here !!!!!!!!!!depends on the terrible weather we are having and all said the last couple of years the weather hasn't been the best on the east coast...but in saying that i have a dome and as much as possible new moon love it and when it's full and bright i love to look at d/stars !!!!!!
26-07-2012, 07:29 AM
During the 'dry season' - it's been an awfully wet one so far :mad2: - as often as work allows (unfortunately I work irregular hours and am on call 24/7 when on duty); but during the wet season it sits in the corner of the shed as an expensive dust collector.
On the upside, the irregular hours mean that quite often I can be finished early hours of the morning; do a couple of hours observing, then kick the kids off to school and catch some zzzzz :lol:
26-07-2012, 08:28 AM
Untill last weekend it had been almost exactly 1 year since I used my EQ6, it has been longer since I used my 12" reflector. however every few weeks or so I do get out my 6" scope and eq3. I use my camera more often that twice a week usually.
With LaNina happening it always seems cloudy, excluding the lack of water= death im kind of looking foward to el nino :)
26-07-2012, 09:44 AM
I spotted 'Once a week' cos that about averages it out but it's obviously weather permitting. But I have quite often been out in the Ob 'fiddling' with stuff as I still have a lot to setup to get to where I want to be. I spent an hour or so last Sunday realigning the RDF and Finder through the door while it rained down outside.
My better half is off to Aust on business mid Sept for 4 days (and THREE NIGHTS !! ) and I am fervently praying to the rain gods to be kind. So hear me all, no buying gear in the two weeks preceding Sep 17.... OK !! :D
Mind you it's on Spring Solstice almost so the chances of good weather are pretty small ... :shrug:
26-07-2012, 10:11 AM
Likewise, lost interest at the moment and with cold weather, clouds and other things taking precedence imaging has taken a back seat
26-07-2012, 10:47 AM
Defining a "night" for me is basically if I am running the scope continually between say 7-11pm, sometimes midnite. So looking back on my records over the last 3 years I am averaging about 10 nights per month giving me about 1000 galaxy images per month. But I do have a roll off roof observatory and that has a huge advantage. So surprisingly better than I thought.
26-07-2012, 03:05 PM
Ticked 'more than 5 times a month' - there's usually several decent nights around New Moon for an hour or two of deep sky viewing, and I'll also pop the wee scope out for a look at the Sun, Moon or planets as opportunity gives me. Probably would be less if I had a bigger scope, though - my set-up time is about two minutes. When the weather's really good over New Moon I sometimes have to curb my enthusiasm or I'll get into trouble from my other half for being outside too many evenings and not giving her attention! But that comes from living in Scotland for years - clear nights around New Moon still feel a bit too precious to waste :lol:.
26-07-2012, 08:22 PM
About 10 weeks ago: 2-3 nights a week if the sky was clear.
Since birth of daughter (8 weeks ago): Been out twice.
27-07-2012, 07:06 AM
Winter in Tas
I don't think I have taken my scope out for a month
Last time it was that dewy I needed shampoo and soap !
When the weather gets better probly once a week
27-07-2012, 07:53 AM
Just about never...... As an imager I want 4 hrs clear .... That's continuous clear sky from dark to around midnight.....
Yeah I live in Melbourne too.
27-07-2012, 10:18 AM
Well, it seems to be 4-5 times a month but that depends on clouds. A better poll might be “what percentage of clear nights do you get out there!”. In my case it's almost 100 percent. I did a spreadsheet of how many hours of data (excluding darks/flats/bias) recorded and discovered I get extremely twitchy if there's clouds for more than two weeks and when a clear night arrives I tend to pull an all nighter to get some new data to play with. The graph seems to be going up but that may be due to purchasing (in April) a one shot colour camera (qhy10c) as the mono qhy9 was a real chore getting enough lrgb data and finding clear nights to do it. It's been 16 days since my last fix. I'm getting twitchy again!!
27-07-2012, 11:20 AM
I went on the BOM site and compiled this list of cities and their month to date sunshine hours, which is a good indicator of the likelyhood of clear skies.
Finally, conclusive physical evidence that Melbourne has the worst climate in Australia.
City ................ hrs per day / total
Adelaide .............. 4.8 / 120.2
Alice Springs ........ 9.9 / 237.2
Brisbane .............. 6.5 / 162.6
Broome .............. 10.6 / 265.6
Canberra ............. 6.3 / 145.5 (2 days missing)
Cairns ................. 6.1 / 153.3
Darwin ............... 10.4 / 260.4
Hobart ................ 5.0 / 125.1
Melbourne .......... 3.7 / 93.2
Mildura ................ 5.8 / 144.4
Perth .................. 7.3 / 183.0
Sydney ............... 6.5 / 155.1 (one day missing)
Townsville ........... 6.2 / 155.1
Wagga Wagga ...... 5.3 / 131.3
and naturally it looks like I won't be getting my gear out until late next week, although there is a 99% chance that with each passing day, the "sunny" forecast will become "mostly sunny", then partly cloudy .... mostly cloudy..... morning drizzle..... as per usual.
27-07-2012, 05:50 PM
Seems we are all suffering the grey days and evenings. I do two weeks a month arvo shift and it's half one in the morning when I get home so a bit late to start dragging out the gear if the sky happens to be clear. :mad2:
I have been known to just stand in the driveway in the dark and just look up for a half hour or just grab my small bino's I carry in the car, I'm on the edge of town and few street lights to bother me so it can be quite impressive some nights, a real shame I don't have a dome.
Think I better close in the back of the carport and fit a roll off roof :thumbsup:
28-07-2012, 01:14 PM
winter + no rain = good # observing nights.
28-07-2012, 04:18 PM
Its being sad as hell this year, every night its being overcast with only a few breaks of sky now and again for the last 2 weeks. I think this is the worst year on record :( It will be coming into summer again which means this year has being a lost course, its time for Broome me thinks :)
28-07-2012, 04:35 PM
The latest forecast is in and just as I predicted, the forecast for Thurs and Fri has been changed from "sunny" to "partly cloudy. Heeeeere we goooo :mad2: Ofcourse as I type this, it is overcast with the traditional Melbourne drizzle.
Seems like every year is getting cloudier and colder. This winter is amongst the worst for sure. The ground is continually muddy, can't even walk the dog away from concrete paths because the ground has been permanently soggy for weeks now. I've never seen a winter as terminally cloudy and drizzly as this :rolleyes:
Ironically though, this year saw some of the best seeing conditions I've ever had.
01-08-2012, 09:58 PM
Having only had my scope for one new moon so far, I got out about three times during the really dark, clear nights and a couple of times when the Moon was up. This time I'm hanging out for new moon and staying indoors.
It's an exertion on my shoulder so I have to be careful that I don't over do it! I don't finish work until 6pm so by the time I get home, have dinner and shower, it's already 8pm and all I feel like doing is going to bed :P So mostly I only get out over the weekends.
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