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Urban Astronomy Problems and Solutions


scarp15
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I expect that most of us experience varying degrees of problems related to light pollution or neighbour issues when setting up for this hobby from home.

My sollution, at least with regard to light from a street light and an adjoining neighbour, was to nurture several ever-green bushes to grow higher, creating a kind of organic observatory (and a useful wind break). Combined with fitting a dew shield and a reasonable southery vista I was quite content under the circumstances.

However nowadays, I am increasingly more reluctant to use the back yard and prefer to travel to a dark location, either joining with Sunderland Astro or as a solo venture. Local light pollution has become worse since the neighbour on my Southerly end has had builders convert the back of her property to open plan with French doors and a new projection of light illuminating the back. Added to that my daughter now has pet rabbits which kind of get in the way but it is also the malting hairs and dust in the air that concerns me. Then one of my neighbours, also on the South side has recently become an out of doors 'midnight toker' the problem being that his smoke drifts towards the optics.

So my sollution is to consider setting up my scope on my allotment, which is a short distance away, and extend the paved area outside the shed (cabin). This has a great vista, especially across to the South West, which overlooks playing fields, then the Great North Road which extends out to the Newcastle Town Moor.

I suppose that when you look for them, then there are always solutions, what have been your experiences?

Edited by scarp15
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I'm pretty lucky with my neighbours - there is hardly any external lighting in their gardens, plus the ones to the south keep their trees really well trimmed. I can pretty much guarantee that the moment I point the scope north east the neighbour to the left turns on an upstairs light. Her timing is spooky.

I have been scouting for a decent spot to take the scope that's not too far away but has darker skies - it's really a 50-60 minute drive though from where I am to anywhere decent, and when I get there I don't know the area.

My own family seems to be the biggest problem, if it's not one of them putting on bathroom lights it's the cats suddenly jumping on the fence next to the patio and scaring the living daylights out of both of us! Apparently a human in the garden at midnight with a red torch on their head is the domestic cats biggest terror :D

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My sky is pretty dark, but I have a couple of nuisance street lights which I've screened out with a temporary sight screen. It's a bit of a fiddle but it will have to do until I can construct something more permanent.post-23638-136889724052_thumb.jpg

Sent from my GT-P5110 using Tapatalk HD

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post-21198-0-58269200-1368900095_thumb.j

post-21198-0-62783800-1368900099_thumb.j

I have three street lights shining into my back garden but this is the worst offender as it shines straight down the end of my obsy scope, built this fold up screen to block it out.

As you can see our street lights are higher than the houses, is there some regulation street light height ? if so what is it based on ? what are they expecting to come down the street ?

the tripods from war of the worlds perhaps ?

Dave

Edited by Davey-T
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Speaking of neighbours, I think I'd be a bit self-conscious of observing through my (as yet not-bought) 'scope if I knew they were looking at me. Is it just me or does anyone else have a problem with 'nosey' neighbours?

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Speaking of neighbours, I think I'd be a bit self-conscious of observing through my (as yet not-bought) 'scope if I knew they were looking at me. Is it just me or does anyone else have a problem with 'nosey' neighbours?

If they are simply watching you from their windows then ignore them completely. Make it clear that you are not interested in them and they will lose interest in you. Don't point a scope towards their windows or you can expect a visit from the plod. (In my experience the plod are always friendly but blue flashing lights do mess up you dark-adapted vision.)

However, if they come out and speak to you then it can't hurt to invite them to have a look through your scope. I also keep some cards with my Flickr details on, so if any curious neighbours do come and say hello then they can have a look at my photos.

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Light pollution has become a problem for me to the extent that I was once able to see Stephan's Quintet and the central structure of M82 from my garden.

To keep the peace with the neighbours, I have stripped a couple of black blackout blinds, fed washing line through the hoops and run it from the house wall to a pole.

Even though this does not get 'my' restored skies, the last resort is a drive up the road to a dark site.

One of the major advantages of a dark site is that the car can be used to store gear/be the 'warm room' and it seems incredibly easy to fully focus on the night sky without car headlights, halogen floodlights etc ruining my night vision.

The only thing that hold me back sometimes is sheer exhaustion from the demands during daylight hours.

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if it's not one of them putting on bathroom lights it's the cats suddenly jumping on the fence next to the patio and scaring the living daylights out of both of us! Apparently a human in the garden at midnight with a red torch on their head is the domestic cats biggest terror :D

As I have stated in my previous post blackout blind installed at your offending windows will improve things by around 80%. :)

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So my sollution is to consider setting up my scope on my allotment, which is a short distance away, and extend the paved area outside the shed (cabin). This has a great vista, especially across to the South West, which overlooks playing fields, then the Great North Road which extends out to the Newcastle Town Moor.

I suppose that when you look for them, then there are always solutions, what have been your experiences?

You have just hit upon a brilliant idea! Vegetables by day, observing by night. You could have a nice roll off roof shed as an observatory.

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Fingers crossed for the vegetables (guess I could do a slug patrol whilst I wait for the scope to cool, so bucket of salt water required). It is a tranquil place not far from where I live, I have been extending the paveing, hope to get to use it soon.

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