How many clear days?

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Robin Scagell
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How many clear days?

Post by Robin Scagell »

Member David Frydman tells me that he has recently completed 1000 observations with his Coronado PST solar telescope. It took him 5½ years, which gives an average of 182 days a year -- meaning that pretty well half the days of the year provided at least a glimpse of the sun which permitted him to make an observation and a brief sketch.

What's more, David lives in a flat with limited access to the sky, and on some occasions the Sun was hidden by trees or whatever so he couldn't observe as he is not fully mobile.

Encouragement to all those who say that our weather is not up to it!

Robin
Lady Isabella
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Post by Lady Isabella »

Well in spite of the cloud and rain, I was able to make astronomical observations on 215 days during 2009. The final figure would have been more, but I could not be bothered getting out bed on some occasions.
Kevin Brown
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Post by Kevin Brown »

Robin,

Just wondering if this could be an interesting/fascinating/useful topic for an online survey?

Perhaps, a "Was the Sun was out for you today?" page. Or "Was the sky clear today?" (also, with where you are in the World)

Heck, that sounds like more work for me!

Anyway, just a thought...

Kevin
mike a feist
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Post by mike a feist »

First two weeks in January results here in Sussex were;_
Jan 1 : Uranus, Algol & Sunspots
Jan 2: Uranus & Sunspots
Jan 3: Uranus & Sunspots
Jan 4: Uranus & Sunspots
Jan 7: Uranus
Jan 8: Uranus
Jan 9: Vesta
so 7/13th
or 52%
Input from the SPA Cloud Watcher Terry Homes might be interersting .
I notice (on Space Weather) that there is a big sunspot group on the disc...but have not see our star for days. mike
Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Robin
I know that David has been a very keen observer for a long time both before and since suffering disability. I think his efforts using the PST are very commendable and show what can be done.
Best wishes to david and yourself from cliff
ptgrego
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Post by ptgrego »

My observing log from November 1980 now contains details of 1434 observations (mainly visual sketches, some made on the same night). This is by no means a complete record of my observations, though. Unfortunately it is all written down in a book -- a quaint mode of recording that does not lend itself to an instant analysis of how many days on which observations were made. One day I will transfer it to a database and churn out some meaningful figures!

I'm of the opinion that astronomical observations of one kind or another (ranging from quick, dirty and inacurate to painstakingly accurate ones) can be made on the majority of days in the year.
Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Robin
I tend to go along with Peter's comments.
My own telescopic observing started in 1988 visually and mostly planets.
Since then I kept a log book (handwritten with sketches) and I have continued to so in a fashion up to now. For a decade my observing and recording was pretty consistent, after that things got more complicated. I got more involved with other aspects of amateur astronomy especially imaging. Rather like it is for Peter, it would be a daunting task for me to try to analyse my observing habits. Even if I did it would not provide a satisfactory result for me.
However, during the ten years or so starting 1988 I observed in a "fairly" consistent fashion and did occasional check the the regularity of my recorded observing sessions. Incidentally a session might be say anything from say 0.5 to 2 hours usually between dusk and midnight.
Occasionally morning hours and a few marathon sessions, odd times astrophoto-ing.
I'm fairly confident in saying that during that decade I made recorded observations on average 1 night in 3, (mostly on the better side I think). My"best" year was 1995 when my average was 1 in 2.25 nights. However, despite being a fantastic long enjoyable warm summer, seeing conditions were severely marred by dust in the atmosphere caused by the construction of a near-by Tesco Super store. It happened to be the year Saturn's Rings were edge on. An expert planetary observer at Chester first saw the rings about 5 hours after the exact event. Despite my skies being describeable as pretty mostly clear in cloud terms, I didn't observe the rings for almost 50 hours. Though of course observing incompetence might have been a factor.
So I personally am not convinced that more observing necessarily means better.
In the late 1990s my habits started to change and now planets are not quite as dominant for me, furthermore I now do more imaging. I still keep a visual observing record log but the books take much longer to fill up and my almost in-decipherable imaging records are kept differently. Even Alan Turing would have problems with them.
However, I am pretty well convinced that observing conditions have deteriorated here in recent years, irrespective of me perhaps gradually winding down.
Best wishes from Cliff
Astrocomet
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Post by Astrocomet »

The whole sky from my area has been devoid of any clear days or nights since the new year began and the lunar partial eclipse on new years eve.

I think about one clear morning just after midnight on the 3rd January with Mars high up and Orion dominating the South and all the rest of the days and nights have been wet, damp, miserable snow, salt spreaders and slush and now fine rain coming down tonight and I'm set indoors like a prison cell.

As for my wellbeing I'm fed up as there is nothing on TV as usual (Saturday night viewing void) and I am full up with cold and snot and going to mellow out with a whiskey mac and find something to moan at on the web to have a dig back to the muppets in charge for interfering with the environment and the weather (Copenhagen)

Exceptionally good at messing things up proper are those muppet politicians.......

They should simply learn to leave things alone if they are working well-it'll save us astronomers getting laid up everytime because the weather changes so frequently and us nearly ending up with pneumonia (and thats not an asteroid)... :roll:
Colin James Watling
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Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
https://sites.google.com/site/lyrasociety/
http://www.lyrandgyastronomers.blogspot.com/
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

David replies, At age 11 my grandfather gave me his very small draw tube telescope. I was hooked on optics, I could make eveythingappear 11 times closer withought moving. Since that time I observed everything I could in the sky as well as terrestrial objects. I have made astronomical observations on about 10,000 days. In addition I observe atmospheric phenomena, haloes, noctilucent clouds etc. On top of that I have made over 100,000 aircraft observations, naked eye or with optical aid. When young I could also identify numerous aircraft by sound alone, so could observe objects in the sky in cloud or from indoors. So basically I have observed sky objects on almost 20,000 days if I include aircraft, baloons, birds etc. My three observations of UFOs were all eventually explained, rocket fuel, seagulls lit by green lights, and the most strange, an underwing moving illuminated sign under a silent light aircraft advertising Helsinki,s largest newspaper. I have little time to believe most so called expert witnesses to UFOs. I have been in commercial aircraft cockpits numerous times and usually pilots don,t have a clue. I don,t discount alien life, but I have seen no sign of it. But we humans have certainly been busy. Regards to Cliff, Peter and others. David
Astrocomet
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Post by Astrocomet »

I agree thats impressive David-personally I find the idea of UFO's frightening because I am a man that believes in God and creation and all that and in my opinion the only interelation between religion, aliens and UFO's is the idea of star wars-thats all fictitious stuff but certainly shows the idea of how it could be compatable with each other.

I personally keep an open mind about UFO phenomena and all that as I have seen some odd things in the sky I could not explain-very few mind you but I have been doing fieldwork astronomy and skywatching since 1996 and at the most have only seen 3 to 4 things I could not explain.

On another note I should have kept my mouth shut about the weather-it was crystal clear from my area last night with a moderate frost as well and I'm pretty much sure I could pick out the asteroid Vesta fairly close to the double star Algieba in Leo-Vesta is quite bright at Magnitude +6 in good binoculars or a telescope... :roll:
Colin James Watling
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Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
https://sites.google.com/site/lyrasociety/
http://www.lyrandgyastronomers.blogspot.com/
Hampshire Astronomer
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Post by Hampshire Astronomer »

Hi

I think the amount of observations per day might not be the best way to calculate this

For example....a member of a SPA variable star section clocked up 6000+ observations for 2009 along :-) (very impressive stuff)

Does the the met office calculate how many days/nights are clear per year and calculate an average?

Dave
David Scanlan

Director SPA Variable Star section

http://www.popastro.com/variablestar/index.php
Astrocomet
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Post by Astrocomet »

I have seen bar graphs for the amount of clear/cloudy nights in the U.K for over the past 10 years or so and the trend doesn't look too good for us fieldwork astronomers.

Thick fog with horns blasting away from the boats out at sea last night-cloud cover tonight-can't sleep can't win... :roll:
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
https://sites.google.com/site/lyrasociety/
http://www.lyrandgyastronomers.blogspot.com/
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