2017 – how was it for you?

Forums General Discussion 2017 – how was it for you?

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Author
  • #573912
    Jeremy Shears

    With 2017 now gone, I have been reviewing my annual observing stats. As in previous years, I recorded the number of nights that I have actually observed – this could have been for a few minutes between clouds, or perhaps a whole night. I know I missed quite a few when I have been away on business or on hols – these missed nights are not included in my stats.

    In 2017 I observed on 86 (24%) nights, making my lowest total since I began recording theses stats in 2005. The best month was April with 15 nights

    Over this period, the best year yielded 149 nights (2006) and the next worst after 2017 yielded 94 (2010). The average number of clear nights from 2005 to 2017 was 118 Nights (32%).

    My 2 unattended meteor cameras captured a total of 3252 meteors during 2017 (4358 in 2016)

    So how was 2017 for you?

    Happy New Year and many clear skies in 2018!


    Gary Poyner

    Happy New Year Jeremy, and all BAA members.

    2017 has been a bad year observing wise for me – the worst since 2012 and the sixth worse since my records began in 1978.  Graph here if anyone is interested.

    Here are the numbers…

    25 totally clear nights (50% or less cloud) and 61 partially clear (50% or more cloud) = 86 observing opportunites from Brum.  These include evenings and mornings.  A total of 183.6 hours were spent at the eyepiece during the year.

    Best month March, 2 clear and 10 partially clear

    Worst month February, 1 clear and 2 partially clear

    Of the 86 observable nights during the year, 42 had Moonlight of varying irritations.  The local Met office had incorrect forecasts for cloud cover on 59 nights of the year (16%).  My weather owl perfoms better!

    Lets hope for a clearer 2018.


    Denis Buczynski

    Hello all and Happy New Year,

    Looking at my observing data I see that I observed comets on 101 nights in 2017. That excludes the period between mid May to mid August when the twilight sky is too bright here in Highland Scotland. I submitted more than 1200 astrometric positions of comets to the MPC (3 per comet in a single night) and the BAA Comet Section. My 2 automatic meteor cameras recorded about 3000 meteors( some duplicates) they are turned off during the May – August all night twilight. This summary  does not include any observations of Aurora nor NLC.Nor any nights I was away from home and unable to observe. not exactly New Mexico but not bad for the cloudy UK. Persistance and retirement from work are the key to observing regularly.

    Denis Buczynski

    Nick James

    I don’t keep stats on how many nights that I observe since they would be dependent on many more things than the weather. My meteor cameras are running every night though so stats from them do have some significance. In 2017 I detected 3751 meteors on two cameras (4451 in 2016) and I detected at least one meteor on 227 mornings and 180 evenings (238 and 189 in 2016) so it does look as if 2017 was a bit cloudier than 2016.

    Also, slightly off topic, I attach the max/min temperatures for my back garden weather station over the past three years. Denis may get the best observing weather but how many days were over 20C last year?

    Tracie Heywood

    Of the 350 nights when I was in Leek, I was able to observe on 110 nights (31%) although observing was only possible after midnight UT on 29 of these nights (corresponding stats for 2016 were 128 nights, 25 only post midnight).

    For the period up to midnight, 16 nights were clear, with 51 having broken cloud or shorter clear spells.

    The significance of observing stats does of course depend on what you are wanting to observe. Visual meteor watches require longish clear spells, whereas variable star observing can be quite productive even when there is broken cloud or when clear spells are brief.

    David Boyd
    2017 was my worst year for clear nights since 2006. I managed to record useful photometry and/or spectroscopy on 102 out of the 273 nights when I was available to observe. Assuming this is representative of the whole year, observing should have been possible on 37.4% of nights. In 2016, the equivalent figure was 45.3%. The best months in 2017 were March, August and November and the worst February and September.
    During 2017 I measured 25427 photometry images and recorded 2333 spectra.
    Best wishes for clearer skies in 2018!
    Peter Carson

    In 2017 I observed on 118 nights from home. I count observations in the morning and evening of the same day as one clear night but an observing session that spans midnight as two clear nights. In 2016 I only managed 99 clear nights. I don’t keep a record of how many clear nights there are when I’m not at home or doing something else (tut-tut) but I was under clear skies at astrocamps or other observing sessions away from home on 6 occassions last year that are not in my stats.
    The best month was a tie between March and November and the worst month was June.
    Things have started well this year with a 100% clear sky record…but it is only Jan 2nd!


    Jimmy Fraser

    Nick, I don’t know the temperature statistics for Tarbat Ness but my weather station at nearby Alness had 22 days in 2017 with temperature above 20°C – May (5) June (4) July (7) Aug (6) Sep (0). The average maximum in July/Aug is around 18.7°C. Straying even further off topic, Denis does have a great compensation for the cooler temperature – he lives only 50 miles from a landscape like Suilven in Sutherland….just beware of the fearsome midges. https://vimeo.com/55543462

    Nick James

    Yes, Denis does live in a fantastic location. I’ve visited many times and the scenery and skies are stunning. I was only teasing him, slightly, over the temperatures. I would have thought that it was too windy on Tarbatness for midges but I did suffer from them at the Falls of Shin the last time I was up although that was mainly my fault for wearing inappropriate clothing.

    Jimmy Fraser

    Cheers, Nick. Yes, he chose well to avoid the midges. 🙂 Your own town gave us one of the most wonderful writers of nature and landscape. J A Baker’s ‘The Peregrine’ celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017. A truly stunning description of the Essex countryside. http://jabaker.co.uk/biography/ …… https://vimeo.com/223780570

    Nick James

    Jimmy, Thanks for pointing me at Baker’s work. I really should have known about him as a famous local writer. I’ve bought The Peregrine from Amazon and look forward to reading it.

    Jimmy Fraser

    Nick, Delighted to have helped you find J A Baker. The author Robert Macfarlane (and others) helped rescue him from obscurity. He can explain the power of the man far better than me. In this essay Rob mentions that it inspired a musical soundtrack that can be listened to for free. Hope you enjoy the book. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/apr/15/the-peregrine-by-ja-baker-nature-writing …… https://lawrenceenglish.bandcamp.com/album/the-peregrine

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.