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Invite a neighbor!


toml42
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I just invited a neighbor over, who I'd barely spoken to before, after a conversation upon running into him at Sainsburys. He mentioned that he'd enjoyed watching Cosmos, but had never actually seen through a telescope.

Seeing his face light up when i showed him Saturn at 240x was wonderful :icon_eek:

I think everyone should make an effort to invite their neighbors round and introduce them to our hobby, being an 'astro-evangelist' is really fun :)

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A couple weeks ago, my son had an evening baseball practice,so I brought along my scope for after practice. Just before the end of practice I broke out the scope and started setting up. One of the mothers, from a little distance, asked me why I waited to bring out my "pitching machine". I literally broke out laughing and told her that it wasn't a pitching machine but a telescope. In no time I had a dozen kids and their parents all waiting to take a peek at Saturn with my 7yr old explaining everything to everyone{he made me quite proud}. I was shocked at how much he retained from our backyard sessions. The whole thing was really fun. It surprised me that some of the parents who are normally off by themselves at games and practices were drawn into the mix along with everyone else.

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I had a conversation with one of my neighbours and it turns that the female part is interested in astronomy while the male part didn't even know that the sun is a star, He actually thought it was a very hot planet. I can't gey my head around the fact that an adult didn't have this basic knowledge.

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I thought the sun was a leading newspaper!!

But seriously folks, I agree, this is a great way to get on with neighbours and I mention it a lot to people. Some start backing away but most people are genuinely interested, especially the much maligned teenager.

My daughter's boyfriend surprised me the other night, quoting the Sky at Night programme about Cygnus. I showed him the double star he mentioned (Albireo - of course!) and he was impressed. He loved Saturn too of course.

I warned a new neigbour recently about strange noises in the back garden at night and it was only me with my scope and he confirmed his son had an interest. This led to me helping him with a scope and it goes on.....

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I think most people have no idea that the Sun is a star.

The other thing that gets me is that people think that astronomers look at stars through their scopes. With a belief of being outside looking up at dots in the sky, no wonder why people think we're a bit crazy :-)

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I think most people have no idea that the Sun is a star.

The other thing that gets me is that people think that astronomers look at stars through their scopes. With a belief of being outside looking up at dots in the sky, no wonder why people think we're a bit crazy :-)

Yeah, i encounter that one quite a lot. Or they think I'm outside studying the constellations like an astrologer or something...

I don't think most people have a clue what it's possible to see.

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[quote

The other thing that gets me is that people think that astronomers look at stars through their scopes. With a belief of being outside looking up at dots in the sky, no wonder why people think we're a bit crazy :-)

I agree, I'm sometimes worried about telling people as occasionally their idea of a stargazer is somewhat like a trainspotter or something. If only they knew...

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I don't think most people have a clue what it's possible to see.
I think light pollution has a lot to do with it. The night sky has become more and more inaccessible to the masses ; it has been the more and more of an exclusive item accessible only to rural land owners.

I'd love to teleport a couch potato or "reality TV fan" to sit on top of a mountain at night and see the shadow of him/herself being cast by the Milky Way. It reminds me of a story when the earthquakes in California sent the lights out and kids were scared of what was in the sky (seeing the Milky Way for the first time) they thought the "sky was on fire".

If you only see a couple of dots in the evening sky (e.g. Vega, Deneb ) swamped by an urban glow, then it's logical for anyone to think we enjoy looking at little dots in the sky. Such a dull-sounding activity would naturally need to have an anorak tag against it. Hence the absurdly mis-representative label of "stargazers" that is used to describe us.

I've never looked at a star for years.

Edited by PortableAstronomer
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I think light pollution has a lot to do with it. The night sky has become more and more inaccessible to the masses

Bizarrely, as more and more people put up security lights and develop even brighter floodlighting systems, more people have got into astronomy, through programmes like S@N and Stargazing Live, and 'scopes can be made cheaper and easier to use! Also, I heard it mentioned on here somewhere that a friend/neighbour didn't understand light pollution, because surely bright lights would makes things easier to see! :)

Edited by virtualpilot45
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Family, friends and work colleagues all show an interest and why not? people don't have to own a scope or scour the media for astro related news to appreciate some of the wonderful things in the heavens.

best bets are planets and clusters, simply down to them being visually impressive. you may have to work harder with other DSOs but if you throw in info like the number of light years taken to reach us, even those smudges impress.

with the unaided eye, Saturn and Porrima make quite a pair in the night sky at the moment

you'd be amazed how many will download and play about with Stellarium if you send them the link!

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When I was working office/computer based in 2009, I started putting small copies of photos I had taken in a small window on my desktop ... amazing how many people would 'stop by' and be amazed at what they showed, and none of them were particularly stunning.

Until my final morning, when I arrived to find an email in my inbox saying "of course, anyone can take pictures of the stars nowadays".

Needless to say, I decided to treat that email with the contempt it deserved ... at least, I would have done if I could have mustered that much ... except it probably would not have been worth the effort even if I could ...

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When I was working office/computer based in 2009, I started putting small copies of photos I had taken in a small window on my desktop ... amazing how many people would 'stop by' and be amazed at what they showed, and none of them were particularly stunning.

I've got a pic of the veil on my desk partition (bought postcard), have my start pics as desktop backgrounds.

A good few of the guys at work are asking about the scope / photos - so i'm holding a viewing evening mid October.

Hope the site is dark enough & no c_______ on the night .........

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You may find this funny. I live in a downstairs flat with a very large garden and the girl who lives above was always leaving her kitchen light on flooding my garden in light so I asked her if the sun in the early evening gets in her eyes when washing up and she said 'yes', so I bought her a blind to put up and said 'can you leave it shut at night, so I can see what I'm doing in the garden'. Then the boy next door started to leave his light on, when I saw him I asked if he could see the stars, he said yes and I said 'if you don't turn your light off, you'll see more than that'. Since then they have both been to look throught the telescope and find it interesting.

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Completely Agree, i often now have 2 or 3 people from my Close, coming over for a view when they see me out and about, My 72 year old neighbor was out until midnight with me last night, first time she had seen saturn through a scope, and was blown away to say the least!

Makes me so happy to see other people enjoying something i am beginning to love, it may spark 1 or 2 of them off also, which can only be a positive. I am new to it all myself, and have had some wonderful advice from people here, 1 person in particular who shall stay nameless, but if it gets people interested, then it is all good.

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