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Meissa

Night time fear

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Don't think milk is good for hedgehogs at all. Water would be better, or cat food, apparently.

James

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No, most probably not. Besides the amount of cats we have in the area would of beaten it to anything. Two cats fighting makes a hell of a noise at night also.

A few weeks ago, a dog a few doors down over the back was going absoloutely nuts. I honestly thought it might of been killing some wildlife. I just hoped it wasnt my camera shutter setting it off every minute.

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Being an eyeball or binoc observer does have advantages with mobility and not drawing so much attention to what you are doing.

Back garden is fine, but even in a country area I do get unwanted distractions, either lampers in their vehicles or occasionally farmers - both wielding shotguns so not to be ignored lightly; oh yes and the copper chopper, I'm quite sure they take a dislike to red-light torches.

Only once had problem with lowlife trying to steal my camera bag (during the day), they didn't bargain on the intended victim getting in pre-emptive retaliation.

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Well I do all my observing from my back garden; I don't think I could get to a worthwhile dark site without a car. Rustling in the undergrowth will worry me a bit, I'm thinking "what if it's a rat and it bites me?". (Probably if I search I'll find people are more like to bite rats!) The possibility of trespassers is a bit more concerning, but then I figure they won't like the barrels of my 15x70s to their head!

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(Probably if I search I'll find people are more like to bite rats!)

I'm pretty sure rats are more likely to hurt you by widdling than biting - Leptospirosis can be nasty. Just don't drink the water!

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I really think a dog by your side is all the security you need.Be it in the back garden or out in a dark sky location. They alert you to any intruder and protect you. I would not observe in my back garden without Chara (6 yr old yorkie). Honestly...........she would put her life on the line to protect me. She is like my shadow. Where i go................she goes.

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My habit , being a Bin-observer is that I usually drive to a dark-(ish) site, and use the car as my 'camp'. I can stand near and around the car, never venturing too far from it so if I need to make a quick get away I can.

To be honest, I have never seen anyone when I have been out and about, and mostly just come across little furry creatures - but its that fear of someone jumping out at me.

This is going to probably get worse after the move, new area, new unknown places and dangers - but I'm hoping getting involved with the local astro soc means I'll meet at least one person who might be able to observe with me or show me a good place or two to look and see.

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If I recall you will be a distance from Tiverton, so they shouldn't get you: MMansion

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How do you go about overcoming the night fear?

I guess I'm fortunate, for I don't necessarily get scared in the dark and to be honest I find it quite peaceful being alone, under a glittering sky, just me and my telescope. In Spain we generally don't have the luxury of gardens or back yards so you have to travel out to dark sites and I figure that within reason so long as there are no other human beings about you should be safe. Although most things are possible, I think there's more possibility of being accosted in a city or local town than there is being miles away from anywhere stuck in the middle of some forgotten field.

Of other creatures of the night, I generally stay away from woods not only because they are home too many animal types which will possibly trouble you, but also because I have no right in invading their space. In general, within Europe, although it may not seem like it, our fellow four-legged or flying companions on this floating rock are more scared of you and if one does approach it is probably more out of curiosity than aggression. A calm attitude, perhaps a little loud noise and off they go into the night.

The biggest danger I've encountered on my adventures with a telescope out alone in the dark are the six or eight legged insect type. They really do cause problems but they don't realise it, they simply don't see you. I mean, from a spider's or ant's perspective, you don't exist. I've had large beetles scurrying over my primary mirror. I've been bitten by spiders, stung by wasps and had qreat quantities of blood sucked from my veins. Nowadays, if I'm out in that kind of terrain I spray myself with repellent, tuck my socks into my trousers, wear boots and glooves and a rimmed hat also sprayed.

For those scared of the dark, my recommendation would be to practice with it. Little by little, step by step. One night just sitt out under the mellowing dusk, another night just a little more and so on. The night is really a great companion and there's no need to fear it. To date the biggest scare I've had was seeing a flock of storks take flight whilst viewing through an eyepiece. Scared me silly :smiley:

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I have to say that I feel totally at home in the dark, it has never bothered me in the slightest but I can appreciate how it might make others feel, at the end of the day( no pun intended) its a deeply individual experience .

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not sure if this is a solution, however, if the dark is an issue to you, can you meet up with a friend for a few stargazing sessions, just until you build your confidence that there is nothing waiting to scare you, good luck, lum

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That is sad Meissa. I don't know if someone has already said this, I have not read all your replies, but, are there any Astronomy clubs or groups etc locally? Or within easy commute?

Clubs or groups often have regular viewing sessions, it is a good place to meet people who also want to be stuck out in the dark and share a nights viewing. Such clubs often spark new friendships, where for instance you could have someone outside with you to help overcome the strangeness of the night. After a year or two your fear may subside! I don't know if you have a partner, if you do could you get them to share the viewing session with you?

Of course the most obvious answer to your fear is to seriously take up studying our local star. There are more days when you can see the Sun than there are days you can see the night skies, well there are where I live in Worcestershire. And the beauty with solar viewing is you can plan when and where you do it better than night viewing, although you can never tell what you will see, there is just so much going on on the Sun.

Clear un-scary skies be it day or night :grin:

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I just had another idea.

I use an observatory, i.e. a shed with a roll on - roll off roof. In the viewing area you are surrounded by walls in your own little Fort together with all the tools needed for viewing. Some have a small 'warm' room attached for computer kit etc. The walls not only shelter you from the weather a bit, they also cut out stray light from house lights and stuff like that. It is quite peaceful to be wrapped up in the observatory like that, and it is very rare that someone can interrupt you by looking over the walls etc :rolleyes: . Yet you can see the sky ...

Prices vary, you can spend £1000's or £10's, it is up to you. If you have the skills there are many sites out there with some good ideas, as indeed there are some good ideas here.

Clear skies

Leon

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Some of the stuff I hear here out in the middle of nowhere is pretty damn creepy. But I know this area is infested with plenty of animals so I always know it's them. (and the fact that they're more scared of you, than you are of them, helps too)

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That is sad Meissa. I don't know if someone has already said this, I have not read all your replies, but, are there any Astronomy clubs or groups etc locally? Or within easy commute?

Clubs or groups often have regular viewing sessions, it is a good place to meet people who also want to be stuck out in the dark and share a nights viewing. Such clubs often spark new friendships, where for instance you could have someone outside with you to help overcome the strangeness of the night. After a year or two your fear may subside! I don't know if you have a partner, if you do could you get them to share the viewing session with you?

Of course the most obvious answer to your fear is to seriously take up studying our local star. There are more days when you can see the Sun than there are days you can see the night skies, well there are where I live in Worcestershire. And the beauty with solar viewing is you can plan when and where you do it better than night viewing, although you can never tell what you will see, there is just so much going on on the Sun.

Clear un-scary skies be it day or night :grin:

Thanks leonpc! I have signed up for local astro group and we will meet in couple weeks time, I'm sure with other people around I will feel much better.

My hubby loves his sleep way too much :rolleyes2: , so usually it's just me in the back garden.

Solar observation has always interested me, but I haven't researched this topic well enough yet to be able to jump into it, also would need to get filters etc. or even better a separate kit for that :lipsrsealed::grin:

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Thanks everyone for advice, there are some really good stuff on here! Just need now clear nights to try it all out!

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So far our advice has been to be careful of things that leap out of trees, jump out of bushes and climb up out of the ground, those that slither and crawl over your feet and climb your leg, anything that sounds like the devil having an arguement and that the best place to observe from is a cemetry in total darkness.

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Humans are apex predators, everything else out there knows it. Unless you have your scope set up in the wilderness where other apex predators roam you should be fine. The most danger you are likely to face is tripping over your telescope (or being attacked by another human!)

If you're worried just keep a shovel/ bat /hammer /something pointy close to hand.

I nearly got taken down the other night by a cunning spider. It had somehow managed to cast a web from my washing line to the corner of the shed I store my astro gear in and had settled down for the night right on the centre of the web, the part i happened to walk face first into. I saw it right at the last second as my face went into the web where the spider was sitting. Nearly fell over as my reflex gear kicked in and jerked me backwards at inhuman speed. Poor spider didn't know what hit it (i'm sure).

Edited by Stargazer_00

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Humans are apex predators, everything else out there knows it. Unless you have your scope set up in the wilderness where other apex predators roam you should be fine. The most danger you are likely to face is tripping over your telescope (or being attacked by another human!)

If you're worried just keep a shovel/ bat /hammer /something pointy close to hand.

I nearly got taken down the other night by a cunning spider. It had somehow managed to cast a web from my washing line to the corner of the shed I store my astro gear in and had settled down for the night right on the centre of the web, the part i happened to walk face first into. I saw it right at the last second as my face went into the web where the spider was sitting. Nearly fell over as my reflex gear kicked in and jerked me backwards at inhuman speed. Poor spider didn't know what hit it (i'm sure).

I tried telliing that to a dog that bit me on my a--- recently when picking up a customer but he would'nt have it Edited by vlebo

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Dogs, certainly wild ones, are Apex predators too. Even the little ones think they are wolves sometimes.

If you are out in the dark and concerned about wild things get a few dog pens and make a large fence around you and your kit.

I have 3 of something like this:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Easipet-Metal-Drop-42-inch-Pieces/dp/B004D9YLMC/ref=sr_1_19?ie=UTF8&qid=1377865573&sr=8-19&keywords=dog+pen

I use them all the time to make temporary fences so my dogs can't get to things in the garden. For instance if I have my scopes set up I quickly put one around it if I'm letting them out for their night time relief. 3 pinned together would make a circular fence about 25 feet diameter.

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I can relate to this, I expect most people can to some extent. Assuming you're in a private area rather than out in the open then the fear can be overcome as there is nothing serious to worry about.

One thing is to get stuck into observing, once you're mind is taken off of listening to every little sound I think the fear will dwindle. Have a Red torch to hand so you can at least illuminate you're immediate surroundings to confirm there is nothing there to worry about, whenever you need to.

The other thing I suggest is have a very bright torch with you as well. If you get really spooked shine it and it will settle your mind. You'll get bored of doing this after a bit and it will have helped settle your mind. You might find the eyes of a hedgehog or something looking back at you before running off. I can assure you it will be more scared than you. I think just having it around will help.

For me having headphones in would make it much worse, I like to hear what is going on around me and be at ease with it.

I've been spooked by things like a hedgehog before and I've found foxes asleep at the end of our garden one morning. But this things won't hurt you, they might at best make you jump. Having a torch and reassuring yourself with it will make you feel much more at ease.

My guess is once you get over the initial fears, maybe after a few good nights observing then you'll be over it for good. There are normally many other things to take your mind off of it, the cold, the clouds and setting up the equipment, get stuck in and don't obsess over very little noise around you. Just think, these noises are going on every night and nothing bad happens!

I would take personal security seriously though if out in the open. If you're in your back garden hopefully it's relatively secure?

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Night usually favors the defender unless the offense has a technological advantage. You are on your own turf, which you know better, you are static , you can hear more because you dont have to move. To attack people need to move , see where they move, see what to attack and then see to attack. So unless they are owls or have night vision, you have an advantage.Same thing applies to animals and fighter jets. Animals get nervous if you stare at them, because they assume you need to see them to attack them. Fighter jets get nervous if you start painting them with radar because they assume that you need to see them to attack them. Darkness is good. 

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