Season for Observing

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    What is your favorite Season of the year for observing or astrophotography, and why? Mine is Spring because of the Realm of the Galaxies, and if you stay up all night, you get to observe the nebulae and clusters of Summer, a double treat.

    Faith Jordan

    Mine is also Spring, John, for the same reasons you mentioned and also because, here in the UK, the Spring is often the clearest time of year for observing. Also, earlier in the spring, Winter goodies are also still available.


    Great topic!

    I’m going to add my southern hemispheric choices for all of our “south of the equator” folks.

    I agree with John about Spring in the Northern Hemisphere for the same reasons (Galaxies and the Summer treats later). I also like late Summer/Fall in the Southern Hemisphere (which is Spring in the North), but you also get the benefit of the galaxies in Centaurus straight above your head, along with the LMC and the Eta Carinae complex. At TSP, we can get the northern edge of the Centarus cluster, but to see the whole thing is quite magnificent.

    Now, in the Southern Hemisphere Spring (which is Fall in the North), you get a good full on view of the Fornax and Eridanus galaxies as well as some very neat circumpolar galaxy groups (with extremely interesting morphologies). And of course, who can forget the Grus Quartet?

    Jason Adamik

    I love winter observing best but only from temperate climates. My backyard in winter is very pleasant for observing Orion and all the beautiful winter sites with that superb winter transparency, but even a hundred miles north at the TAS observing site is so much colder that I almost never go there between late November – late March.

    In spite of cold weather, though, I once spent almost an entire night at our dark sky site all alone in winter observing the Orion Nebula at all different mags and with different filters using my Tak FS-102 (4-inch scope).


    In the deep south, for me it’s definitely spring. Although the weather can be volatile, when it’s clear it’s usually good and hopefully the mosquitos haven’t really become active. Fall can be good, but usually very damp and it only takes one warm day to bring all the mossies back to life. For me, summer is almost a total loss, observing-wise. Just too hot, too humid, too hazy and too many bloodsucking bugs. 🙁


    David, I was in the Outback in April and watched the LMC and SMC set and then watched the entire Southern Milky Way rise. I had eight wonderful nights of observing.


    Mosquitoes and Chiggers are my arch enemies and usually they are plentiful in my yard throughout the warmer months. Thus I second Winter and Spring as my favorite time of the year for observing. However this Summer was a rare exception. The Texas drought really kept both of these pernicious critters at bay. Even though the seeing wasn’t nearly as nice as the winter months, I did manage to do some observing in the yard throughout the summer months without getting gnawed on.

    My latest foray being Ha Solar, I’ve really been enjoying this warm Winter we’ve been experiencing and really stepped up the daytime observing too. Heck, the worst observing session night or day beats a good one in the ol’ Salt Mine……

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