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How bad has 2021 been for clouds for you?


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I just checked the weather and I'm looking at another week of solid cloud.  It's getting tiresome now and I have to be honest, staying motivated is a challenge.

For me the weather had been unreliable for the entire year to date. I've managed about 6 sessions since christmas.  Galaxy season has come and gone. The months of never dark were always going to be a problem. Who knows what the return of darkness will bring?

How's te past six months been for you? Is it just local to me or has the UK had a really grotty 2021?

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Posted (edited)

It's been above average for me. Late June and early July are often cloudy and stormy though. These two months have been like this where I am (Midlands) for quite some time. I only had one session in January, but that's not surprising. February was above average with nine sessions. Nearly a dozen sessions in every month since except for April where I got seventeen sessions. All of these sessions were two to three hours. Cloudy now and it's been raining cats, dogs and assorted megafauna. It will pick up in late July no doubt. As always.

 

 

Right here, right now, the sun's come out!

Edited by Nightspore
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I don’t really have anything to compare it to as it’s only this year that i started observing. I will say, however, that the earlier part of the year was better for me. Not only did it seem clearer, but darkness came a lot earlier and grabbing a quick 30mins was far easier.

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From mid November to May was very limited with clear sky. From June up to date, it's been the usual weather for my location, a mixture of heat, thunderstorms and clear nights. As I'm typing this, we have a massive storm overhead, but clear sky coming in from the South. The big problem here is high humidity at this time of year. My camera will get fogged up with condensation occasionally.

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Posted (edited)

Screenshot_20210704-193023.thumb.png.8e01371e7d4afe82fa270d403fec139a.pngAbsolute pants in Essex ! Managed about 45 mins on M101 a few months back ... That's it 😀 Only a few weeks till narrowband darkness though 🤞🏻

Edited by GazAstro
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2 hours ago, Nightspore said:

Dew season starts for me usually mid to late August. Luckily I'm prepared.

 

 

nvqkagZl.jpg

 

Hopefully.

 

02uYwRAl.jpg

 

I gave up on the hair dryer though.

 

Z0Nixrol.jpg

I gave up on the hair dryer years ago when I no longer had enough hair to make it worthwhile🙂

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I often wonder if I'm more sensitive to cloudy nights as I want it to be clear.

I'm on the the north kent coast and it's either clouds from the south west or clouds form the North East.

I think what's most annoying is it's all been pretty solid cloud - no nights of even broken stuff to battle.

Last month I thought "Ah it's not dark... I can at least get some moon mosaics done!" Couldn't even get the Moon.

Mind you my cables are super tidy!

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10 hours ago, paulgrover68 said:

I often wonder if I'm more sensitive to cloudy nights as I want it to be clear.

I'm on the the north kent coast and it's either clouds from the south west or clouds form the North East.

I think what's most annoying is it's all been pretty solid cloud - no nights of even broken stuff to battle.

Last month I thought "Ah it's not dark... I can at least get some moon mosaics done!" Couldn't even get the Moon.

Mind you my cables are super tidy!

The different areas we live in all come with their own pros and cons:

i live in Cumbria just outside the Lake District which contains the Cumbrian mountains. Mountains attract cloud (and rain) so I do seem to suffer with a lot of cloud. However, the plus side is that when it is clear the sky is wonderfully dark.

I have wondered what others do when it’s cloudy. Cable tidying and kit sorting is probably high on the list. 🙂 I try to find time for a bit of research on the net, but often find myself looking on the “for sale” sites at things I really don’t need.😀

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I dont think its just where you are. It seems to be everywhere. I'm out on the West coast of Ireland, which is not the best place to be for astronomy/astrophotography anyway but this year has been awful. Since January I have managed 12 nights out in total and half of those were over 2 consecutive week-ends at beginning of April. I have had nothing since 12 April.

 

At  53N there is no astro-dark from mid may and I cant be bothered hauling everything outside for a couple of hours of twilight. I'd thought about trying some lunar  stuff but could not work up the enthusiasm.

 

If you knew that come august, when there is proper darkness again, you could bank of even 3-4 nights a month for the rest of the year it would be much easier to just accept the summer months as time for something else.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Dmack1 said:

 

 

At  53N there is no astro-dark from mid may and I cant be bothered hauling everything outside for a couple of hours of twilight. I'd thought about trying some lunar  stuff but could not work up the enthusiasm.

 

 

 

1/ Get a very small portable scope.

 

1I8kDzN.jpg

 

2/ Get all learned up about doubles.

Edited by Nightspore
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I'm starting to plan for August now. Finger crossed!  The big fear I have is having made a lot of progress in the latter part of 2020, I've not had enough to time to practice and it's going to take me some time to relearn stuff.

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Horrid.

Having an automated (Or at least semi-automated) obsy helps but even so my imaging has been dire this year. Galaxy Season was pretty much a washout.

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Honestly it has been a dreadful year since Novemeber 2020. I was imaging Mars during the previous 3-4 months, so could do some of that in cloud gaps, but since I switched back to DSO at the end of Nov '20, it's been a real struggle....

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I have many other hobbies, astro imaging being one of them, so not too stressed when there are endless clouds. Over the past three of months I have been able to finish off my mosaic of NGC7822 with 26 hours of usable data - I did shoot much more so clouds were not a major issue in April. 

 

Then as the nights have got shorter I turned to daylight capturing with the occasional image of the sun and sometimes a night shot of an odd Nova or two thrown in for good luck.

I used the time not imaging by turning to processing and learning PixInsight. I've gone over a lot of my old data with good results.

I have gone way below the surface of PixInsight now and having attended live tutorials given by recognised experts in PI (and processing in general) has helped massively. I'm referring to Warren Keller and Dr Ron Brecher of the mastersofpixinsight website https://www.mastersofpixinsight.com/. Also the Adam Block website https://www.adamblockstudios.com/ recommended to me by Brian @astronomyukraine is another great learning resource as he is another recognised expert in PI.

 

I've just looked at my capture log for 2021 and I have been able to capture just over 234 hours of data from Jan 1 to the end of April so not too shabby for a backyard in Bortle 7/8 with no permanent setup.

 

Looking forward to some clearer skies now that we have gone past the summer solstice and setting up the rig to capture some more photons.

 

So all in all in these difficult times I have not let cloud cover stop my joy of astro imaging.

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Posted (edited)

Hi all,

 

I enjoyed this forum not long time ago and I moved my first steps into AP only in the last few months. I thought I could have more chances to practice this hobby to be honest but I guess I was too optimistic, however I am quite happy with result and knowledge I have achieved since I am part on this forum with the helps from all the people here.  

 

To keep myself motivated I come here to this forum and see what the other people doing and their results.. dreaming to be able to get the result one day.

 

clear skies to all!

Edited by gabs
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12 hours ago, Carastro said:

Yes it's been pretty dire this year.  The weather forecasts are also pretty dire too, you just can't rely on them.

 

Carole 

Forecasts have been supremely unreliable.  Tonight was supposed to be heavy cloud... I have clear skies. Admitidly not very dark clear skies, but this year I'll take what I can.

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I always assumed giant underground quantum computers gathering data from highly advanced satellite networks were used in meteorological predictions. But it turns out that someone in the weather office just opens the window and looks outside and guesses. Although I believe they sometimes use cartomancy, crystal ball scrying and examining sheep's entrails for greater accuracy. 

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On 7/4/2021 at 8:42 PM, paulgrover68 said:

I often wonder if I'm more sensitive to cloudy nights as I want it to be clear.

I'm on the the north kent coast and it's either clouds from the south west or clouds form the North East.

I think what's most annoying is it's all been pretty solid cloud - no nights of even broken stuff to battle.

Last month I thought "Ah it's not dark... I can at least get some moon mosaics done!" Couldn't even get the Moon.

Mind you my cables are super tidy!

Glad you've got tidy cables haha!! - I'm one of those people who gets twitchy when they're not tidy, much to the great amusement of others 😄 

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12 hours ago, Nightspore said:

I always assumed giant underground quantum computers gathering data from highly advanced satellite networks were used in meteorological predictions. But it turns out that someone in the weather office just opens the window and looks outside and guesses. Although I believe they sometimes use cartomancy, crystal ball scrying and examining sheep's entrails for greater accuracy. 

I suspect the entrails are the deciding factor 😄

 

My eldest son moved back home at end March and our 'playroom', where I keep all my scopes and equipment etc, is now full of his entire house belongings!  So I can't get to my kit!  I've just kept out a small scope - my Altair 72edf and tripod, so I've got something at least - but I can't wait to get to it all again - that might kickstart my mojo again.

 

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34 minutes ago, Incisive_Solutions said:

I suspect the entrails are the deciding factor 😄

 

My eldest son moved back home at end March and our 'playroom', where I keep all my scopes and equipment etc, is now full of his entire house belongings!  So I can't get to my kit!  I've just kept out a small scope - my Altair 72edf and tripod, so I've got something at least - but I can't wait to get to it all again - that might kickstart my mojo again.

 

 

In my experience entrails are always the deciding factor lol. I have the 60mm EDF, it's been out 31 times this year. It's my smallest scope. My biggest scope is a 235mm SCT. I haven't used it this year. I think that says it all.

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30 minutes ago, Nightspore said:

 

In my experience entrails are always the deciding factor lol. I have the 60mm EDF, it's been out 31 times this year. It's my smallest scope. My biggest scope is a 235mm SCT. I haven't used it this year. I think that says it all.

Haha I couldn't agree more!  

 

I have the Altair 60edf as well - god I love that little scope!  I have that one, the Altair 72edf, and my very favourite Altair triplet refractor, the beautiful Wave series 130mm - I have a Skywatcher 200PDS reflector as well but I don't love reflectors lol.  Hoping to get the Altair 152mm triplet at some point  - I'm just a refractor person!   I have a very small Lunt 30Ha, with the B600 filter etc, and the wedge, and my very first scope which I cannot get rid of - the so called 'Naughty Child' - the Celestron 130 EQ Astromaster! 

 

My absolute favourite is the all rounder Altair Wave Series 130mm triplet refractor - its the one I use most, followed by the Altair 72EDF - but the 60edf is my travel scope mainly.

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