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Things that go bump in the night


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I was outside on Saturday night doing a first night-time test of my DIY Onstep GOTO system. 

Setup is a 200p on an old EQ3-2 ( So only about 50% overloaded ? )  controlled for now, from a laptop via a 1.5 metre USB cable.

Started with a 1-star alignment selecting the full moon (I could hardly see any stars) and pressed Align.

The scope chugged steadily (just 200X slew speed for now) towards its target and I'm nervous as a kitten checking for tripod collisons, cable fouling ,overheating, while trying not to trip over the laptop.

Suddenly there's a loud THUMP.

Panic. Scope must have crashed into something. Where's  the abort button?  Stop everything.

Well I couldn't find anything wrong so continued testing till the clouds appeared.

Next morning I found a pigeon on the patio, or as Monty Python might say an "ex-pigeon". But what had it crashed into?

Upstairs a bit later I noticed the back bedroom window;

IMAG0147.thumb.JPG.923974c3b01899c47a12513526d93129.JPG

And there is the ghostly image of the former pigeon in full flight. It must have hit at maximum airspeed & just dropped stone dead.

Perhaps it was confused by a reflection of the moon in the glass.

What unexpected interuptions have you had while observing?

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The wife once walked out to the observatory with a cup of coffee for me.  I was sketching some double stars and when I moved my head back from the eyepiece suddenly there was my wife's face 3 feet awa

There are a pair of Tawny Owls in the woods behind my house.  They (or, I think, their fledglings) seem inordinately fond of flying in through the open dome hatch.  I think it may have been the light

Owl-related, but not astronomy-related, my wife and I usually have the bedroom window open during the night and at the time I think we were decorating our bedroom, so were sleeping in the spare room w

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Biggest - and worst - bump was when a £1000+ 'scope dropped out of its mount.  Luckily, it landed on an adjacent table, then, with lightning reaction, I saved it from falling onto concrete.  Damage - negligible.  Talk about a lucky break!

Doug.

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2 hours ago, lenscap said:

I was outside on Saturday night doing a first night-time test of my DIY Onstep GOTO system. 

Setup is a 200p on an old EQ3-2 ( So only about 50% overloaded ? )  controlled for now, from a laptop via a 1.5 metre USB cable.

Started with a 1-star alignment selecting the full moon (I could hardly see any stars) and pressed Align.

The scope chugged steadily (just 200X slew speed for now) towards its target and I'm nervous as a kitten checking for tripod collisons, cable fouling ,overheating, while trying not to trip over the laptop.

Suddenly there's a loud THUMP.

Panic. Scope must have crashed into something. Where's  the abort button?  Stop everything.

Well I couldn't find anything wrong so continued testing till the clouds appeared.

Next morning I found a pigeon on the patio, or as Monty Python might say an "ex-pigeon". But what had it crashed into?

Upstairs a bit later I noticed the back bedroom window;

IMAG0147.thumb.JPG.923974c3b01899c47a12513526d93129.JPG

And there is the ghostly image of the former pigeon in full flight. It must have hit at maximum airspeed & just dropped stone dead.

Perhaps it was confused by a reflection of the moon in the glass.

What unexpected interuptions have you had while observing?

RIP! 

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I've had a finder that I didn't tighten into its shoe once drop out but amazingly no harm was done.

The biggest fright I've had is one of my cats sneaking up along the top of a wall once and bumping me on the shoulder.

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The wife once walked out to the observatory with a cup of coffee for me.  I was sketching some double stars and when I moved my head back from the eyepiece suddenly there was my wife's face 3 feet away -  scared the living daylights out of me!   

On a similar note, many years ago we were driving down to the south coast to get a ferry for France.  I was driving and Mrs M was asleep in the passenger seat.  I put on Dark Side of the Moon to help while away the tedium of motorway driving.  All was fine until the start of the track 'Time'.  (For those philistines not familiar with the greatest album ever made, the introduction includes a series of alarm clocks suddenly going off).   My wife suddenly woke up with a start, completely disorientated for about 5 seconds.  I nearly crashed the car I was laughing so much!!! ????

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Sat in the garden setting up some software on the laptop - pitch black night so the brightness of the screen meant everything around me was invisible. Turned away for a few seconds to look up at the sky and turned back to find a fully illuminate cat sat on my laptop keyboard staring at me. Almost took half my cables with it as it ran off.

Side note: we have now been adopted by said cat... but it only ventures into our garden when the dogs are inside and im out with the scope.

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There are a pair of Tawny Owls in the woods behind my house.  They (or, I think, their fledglings) seem inordinately fond of flying in through the open dome hatch.  I think it may have been the light from my obbo PC screens attracting them.  They perch on the end of my scope for a second or two, then fly off.  Oddly enough, PHD doesn’t have a routine that allows for owls landing on the end of your ‘scope. It’s happened a couple of times while I’ve actually been in the obbo, which makes me jump a bit.  I think I may have had a few other visits while things are running unattended, judging by the occasional dropped sub, wild PHD graphs and the odd feather lying around. Other than that, no harm done to either owls or equipment so far, although I have now learned to turn the PC monitors off once things are up and running OK.

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3 hours ago, michaelmorris said:

On a similar note, many years ago we were driving down to the south coast to get a ferry for France.  I was driving and Mrs M was asleep in the passenger seat.  I put on Dark Side of the Moon

I so knew what was coming next at this point :D

James

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19 minutes ago, Hallingskies said:

There are a pair of Tawny Owls in the woods behind my house.  They (or, I think, their fledglings) seem inordinately fond of flying in through the open dome hatch.  I think it may have been the light from my obbo PC screens attracting them.  They perch on the end of my scope for a second or two, then fly off.

Owl-related, but not astronomy-related, my wife and I usually have the bedroom window open during the night and at the time I think we were decorating our bedroom, so were sleeping in the spare room which had no curtains.  We woke up in the middle of the night to find an owl perched on the foot of the bed.  I'm not sure which of us was more shocked :)

James

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I've not thought about this in years.  Certainly not since we sold the house about fifteen years ago.  When we lived just outside Wokingham we once had a swan crash into a metal up-and-over garage door.  It sounded as though the house were going to fall down.  Surprisingly the swan was just a bit dazed and once it had regained its composure flew off again.  It made quite a dent in the door though.  There's a fair bit of water along the M4 on the south side of Reading so I assume it must have been heading there and somehow become confused or maybe just even tired.

James

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On 26/09/2018 at 18:25, lenscap said:

I was outside on Saturday night doing a first night-time test of my DIY Onstep GOTO system. 

Setup is a 200p on an old EQ3-2 ( So only about 50% overloaded ? )  controlled for now, from a laptop via a 1.5 metre USB cable.

Started with a 1-star alignment selecting the full moon (I could hardly see any stars) and pressed Align.

The scope chugged steadily (just 200X slew speed for now) towards its target and I'm nervous as a kitten checking for tripod collisons, cable fouling ,overheating, while trying not to trip over the laptop.

Suddenly there's a loud THUMP.

Panic. Scope must have crashed into something. Where's  the abort button?  Stop everything.

Well I couldn't find anything wrong so continued testing till the clouds appeared.

Next morning I found a pigeon on the patio, or as Monty Python might say an "ex-pigeon". But what had it crashed into?

Upstairs a bit later I noticed the back bedroom window;

IMAG0147.thumb.JPG.923974c3b01899c47a12513526d93129.JPG

And there is the ghostly image of the former pigeon in full flight. It must have hit at maximum airspeed & just dropped stone dead.

Perhaps it was confused by a reflection of the moon in the glass.

What unexpected interuptions have you had while observing?

By the looks of that image, i'd say the Pigeon was coming in for a landing. They (as most birds do) tend to spread and raise their wings to slow them down on landing, and also stick their backside and legs forward to ensure a smooth landing.

Never seen such an image before.

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I'd say we have a couple of window crashed birds each year, but we have lots of windows and lots of birds so perhaps that isn't surprising.   I also dropped my double finder scope setup off the OTA once and was also lucky enough to catch it a couple of inches from the ground.  Last night my nocturnal wanderings were accompanied by plenty of owl calls which were good to hear, but the enexpected hasn't really happened yet here.

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On 27/09/2018 at 13:04, michaelmorris said:

The wife once walked out to the observatory with a cup of coffee for me.  I was sketching some double stars and when I moved my head back from the eyepiece suddenly there was my wife's face 3 feet away -  scared the living daylights out of me!   

On a similar note, many years ago we were driving down to the south coast to get a ferry for France.  I was driving and Mrs M was asleep in the passenger seat.  I put on Dark Side of the Moon to help while away the tedium of motorway driving.  All was fine until the start of the track 'Time'.  (For those philistines not familiar with the greatest album ever made, the introduction includes a series of alarm clocks suddenly going off).   My wife suddenly woke up with a start, completely disorientated for about 5 seconds.  I nearly crashed the car I was laughing so much!!! ????

I love that track! Either the band are very protective of it or documentary makers are ignorant of a cracking bit of plucking work.

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Forget things that go bump in the night.

Today i was heading down to my local town and i met about 100 Uni students on the pavement. I kid you not....................10 of them walked right into me in my wheelchair.

Id usually take evasive action to avoid them, but there were so many, it was impossible.

10 of them, walking right slap bang into me.

Kids on their smartphones..........not looking where they are going.

I dont expect anyone to do me any favours and move aside. These kids were just blinded by social media.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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Given all the sensors that smartphones have why don't they all  have a collision avoidance "radar" app

which beeps loudly at the user if they are about to bump into someone?

Edited by lenscap
typo
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Not necessarily a bump in the night, but close. Years back, went upstairs to go to bed. Was standing by the bed when my oldest daughter who at the time was twelve or thirteen, reached out from under my bed and grabbed me by both ankles. I aged 10 years in an instant.

She still to this day dies laughing when it comes up.

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7 hours ago, bish said:

Low flying bats a bit distracting when I was stopping at a friends house on Skye

My brother was at  bat talk when the person giving it said it was a myth they get tangled in your hair. He piped up to say it had happened to him three times!

I think you need plentiful, curly hair to successfully catch bats.

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32 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

My brother was at  bat talk when the person giving it said it was a myth they get tangled in your hair. He piped up to say it had happened to him three times!

I think you need plentiful, curly hair to successfully catch bats.

I can almost remember having hair!

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On 02/10/2018 at 01:08, LukeSkywatcher said:

Forget things that go bump in the night.

Today i was heading down to my local town and i met about 100 Uni students on the pavement. I kid you not....................10 of them walked right into me in my wheelchair.

Id usually take evasive action to avoid them, but there were so many, it was impossible.

10 of them, walking right slap bang into me.

Kids on their smartphones..........not looking where they are going.

I dont expect anyone to do me any favours and move aside. These kids were just blinded by social media.

There is a phrase to describe this, it's called 'Dumb Walking' (I kid you not)

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