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Moya
2008-Feb-11, 12:36 AM
Its supposed to be completely clear all night tonight, and this will be the first night I'll be able to try out my new Orion Oxygen III filter!

However, the temperature (after wind chill is factored in) is about -22 (C), and winds are expected to reach 35 KPH.

But, the way I see it: Clear Skies > Comfort :lol:

Do you ever put yourself through uncomfortable situations in the name of good seeing?

Dave Mitsky
2008-Feb-11, 12:38 AM
Too many times to mention...

Dave Mitsky

RickJ
2008-Feb-11, 03:50 AM
I remember trying to watch my first occulation of M45 by the moon. Temperature was -25F with the wind chill at -65 which, at the time, was the lowest it went. The weather guy said it had to be colder but his charts went no lower. Every time I'd put my eye to the eyepiece it would completely frost over. I put it in a warm pocket but even warmed the instant my eye was within the exit pupil it frosted over to where no image, just a light, was visible. Never saw anything that night. Years later I learned a full beard somehow stops this. So I always grow one each winter, wife's not all that happy, but no more frosted eyepiece to deal with, just a "frosted" wife but she's used to it after all these years. The females in our club say that's not a good solution however. Ski mask didn't work. I was using one for the M45 occulation.

Actually its the heat and bugs that bother me more than the cold. I can always put on more clothes but there's a limit to what you can take off and still have blood left in you by morning. It's -22F as I type this with 45 mph winds but cloudy. Otherwise I'd be imaging.

In the 60's our club did a lot of moon graze work. One night it was -20 and crystal clear but calm so the cold wasn't all that bad. We set up a one mile line and were set 30 minutes early. Standing around doing nothing for the next 28 minutes was awful however. I was at the south end. The call came in from the north end that fog had rolled in and they were unable to even see the moon. This was 2 minutes to go. By one minute to go the stations were checking in each fogged out. At 30" to go the south station (me) was lost in fog. If it wasn't for the mile of cable connecting us some of those guys at the north end may have never found their way back, the fog was that thick. We we froze for nothing that night.

Then there was the graze of Saturn where David Dunham set up a view line. We met in Sabetha Kansas then drove north into the very SE corner of Nebraska where the graze went through a large section of Federal land we were going to use. By now it was very dark. One club member knew the area but not specifically where we were going. He was leading. I'm not sure if Dunham or he was driving. Suddenly our club member realized where the the group was headed and and the last second stomped on the brake much to Dunham's dismay. But that quickly faded when he realized what our member already knew. That land was now a lake! We always wondered how many cars would have gone swimming that night. We ended up on a gravel road that our member knew no one used. He was right, we were the only ones there that night. Some clouds but we got good results and thanks to Monty stayed dry as well.

At Hyde Memorial Observatory, where I was a supervisor for 27 years we had a super cold night with a very strong south wind. Again the wind chill was about -45F. I'd just started a multimedia show in the classroom when a couple came in with their 6 year old daughter. The show was to give the deck crew a chance to thaw. The folks were happy to see the show but the girl insisted on looking through the scopes. One of the crew finally said he'd take her out. Her parents were already in the show -- guess they'd had enough of daughter. Anyway, before the deck fellow could reach the door she opened it. A strong gust of wind pushed the door into her face knocking her on her butt. She was wearing a very expensive coat. She got up. Dusted off and announced to no one except the wind; "S**t it's outside!" and went in to watch the show with her parents. After the show they left, never going to the telescopes.

Then there was another graze we went on right after a heavy rain. A young member was driving the lead car, think he'd just got his license. But he was a city boy and never knew there was a big difference between a gravel road and a dirt road after a heavy rain. He headed down a dirt road. The rest of us knew not to try it. Took us hours to get his car out of muck and we were all covered head to toe in thick mud except for the young driver who stayed in his car to steer while everyone else got super muddy. Oh yes, we were clouded out as well that time too.

After 6 decades I can go on and on.

Rick

Torsten
2008-Feb-11, 06:05 AM
I've been out at -22C as well, but I just don't do that any more . . .

Actually, now that I think about it a bit more, it's setting up in the snow that I don't like. I don't mind cold autumn nights before there's much accumulation of snow, but even then, -15C is about my limit.

Kaptain K
2008-Feb-11, 07:05 AM
I've done most of those things, but at Kansas temps instead of Minnesota temps. Not any more. after 30 years in central Texas and the surgeries I went through last year, I'm more of a fair weather astronomer, at least for now.

To me, even more annoying (not to mention frustrating) than being clouded out of a graze is being on the south end of the line, watching the Moon slide gracefully past the target star and finding out that I was the only one who did not get any data. "missed it by that much" Was offered the consolation that I defined the "edge" of the Moon. Small consolation when my room mate one spot north of me had the defining measurement of a previously unknown mountain peak!

winensky
2008-Feb-11, 10:59 AM
Conditions here are amazingly tame compared to the extream cold in the northern hemisphere however I have two obeserver friends from along the Murray river who attribute their contraction of Ross River Fever to mosquito bites aquired during long evenings observing in the warm night air.

Kind Regards
Matt

David Knisely
2008-Feb-13, 08:15 AM
Its supposed to be completely clear all night tonight, and this will be the first night I'll be able to try out my new Orion Oxygen III filter!

However, the temperature (after wind chill is factored in) is about -22 (C), and winds are expected to reach 35 KPH.

But, the way I see it: Clear Skies > Comfort :lol:

Do you ever put yourself through uncomfortable situations in the name of good seeing?

Probably the coldest temperature I have ever observed in was -28F when Comet Kohoutek was visible in the western sky in January of 1974. I did do quite a number of very cold stints on the observing deck of Hyde Observatory, but at least I could go inside to warm up occasionally. I never enjoyed the cold, so when it got below about 25F, I rapidly lost interest in observing. After a suggestion from RickJ, I got an insulated jump suit, which made a *huge* difference in my tolerance of the cold. The only problem was that I had to get a larger coat, as the jumpsuit does not have a hood and offers little face protection other than around the collar. If you want the best protection, the jumpsuit/coat (and a good set of insulated boots) is definitely the way to go.

I generally don't observe much below 10F unless there is something really interesting going on or the observation period is somewhat brief. Cold never bothered my equipment (10 inch Newtonian) until I got my first Go-To telescope (NexStar 9.25 GPS). My NexStar's hand controller goes blank at temperatures that approach zero F, so I have to find some resistors to put a little heat into the display (chemical hand warmers do work for this). Still, I can still control the scope with the laptop from inside the kitchen or in my van with the motor and heater running. I have it made for the eclipse, as I will be the on-duty supervisor at Hyde, so I don't have to go outside for very long and can watch the projection TV feed from one of the scopes in the nice *warm* projection room. Clear skies to you.

Casus_belli
2008-Feb-13, 01:16 PM
Galaxy hunting while suffering from cluster headaches. (supposed to be the worst pain known to mankind)

Kaptain K
2008-Feb-13, 03:03 PM
Galaxy hunting while suffering from cluster headaches. (supposed to be the worst pain known to mankind)

Been there done that! I seem to have outgrown them in my fifties. :)

Casus_belli
2008-Feb-13, 04:10 PM
Im getting them at 3 yearly intervals now. Hopefully I'll outgrow them in a few years too.

Dave Mitsky
2008-Feb-13, 06:55 PM
The coldest temperature that I've observed at has been -5 degrees Fahrenheit (-21 degrees Celsius), without factoring in wind chill. It doesn't get that cold in central Pennsylvania very often, fortunately.

I once spent 19 hours outside during an observing session at a dark site in the Tuscarora State Forest. The temperature ranged from a low of 18 degrees Fahrenheit to a high of 22 degrees Fahrenheit.

Depending upon the conditions, I usually wear the following when I observe during the winter: Polartec long underwear bottoms, flannel-lined khakis or fleece-lined jeans, fleece sweatpants, a Polartec long underwear top, a sweater or insulated shirt, a hooded sweatshirt, an insulated jump suit, a fleece-lined hooded jacket, a hooded down parka, liner socks, insulated socks, insulated boots, a Polartec hat, and light or heavy gloves superseded later by mittens if necessary. I also use chemical handwarming packs from time to time.

Dave Mitsky