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MKHACHFE

Does anyone else make a habit of pointing out Venus, Jupiter, Saturn or the ISS to passers by in the street?

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Hi all, 

About a month or so ago, when the ISS was over London again (i will never tire of watching it, i even get out of bed in the small hours of the morning to see it if i can), i was waking near my house and saw it overhead. And as i have done for years, if anyone is near me (that doesn't look like they REALLY wouldn't care)  then i stop them and point it out to them and explain what it is and that there are people on that. I also do this regularly at bus stops when i spot it.

Everyone i have shown it to so far has responded very positively and usually ask a few questions. Almost always "How do you know that's the ISS?"...haha. 

I've done similar things to friendly looking guys, gals or couples in my vicinity when Venus or Jupiter are particularly startling.

I got the idea from way back when Hale-Bopp was gloriously showing off in the skies over the UK and there was a guy at the edge of the park near my house that had a telescope and was inviting passers by to look at the comet through it. It was awesome.  To be fair, this was in Chelsea, so pretty safe. I'm not sure i would do the same in Holloway or Archway...

Just curious if anyone else does this. I've never felt silly or pushy doing it, its a bit of fun. 

Sorry for the rather pointless thread. 

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I've done it, but wouldn't necessarily say it's a habit. If I happen to be out to specifically look at it and people look at me like I'm crazy, then I'll explain what I'm looking at. That usually does prompt some questions. I work in the aerospace industry so naturally I talk about space a lot at work. Generally those people are all interested in it so in that case I'll tell anyone within earshot if the ISS is passing over early in the morning or ask if someone saw the moon/Jupiter/etc. that morning.

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I could be talking to someone about anything and i still male a point to say "hey thats Jupiter" the response is usually MEH!

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If people ask and show an interest, I will explain what I know of what is on show.

I don't tend to give unsolicited reports on what is in the skies though. I suspect that tends to annoy.

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4 minutes ago, John said:

If people ask and show an interest, I will explain what I know of what is on show.

I don't tend to give unsolicited reports on what is in the skies though. I suspect that tends to annoy.

To be fair, i don't barge up to them. If they are near me and its natural casual to mention it, then i do it.  I don't rum u to people like an annoying weirdo.

I should have explained better. Its only if someone who looks friendly and relaxed is passing near me and sees me looking up. If i catch their eye, then that's when i mention what i'm looking at. 

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I image from my front garden, which is "open plan", so I get a lot of people showing an interest during the early part of the session. Once I am up and running, anyone who shows an interest gets invited to take a look at the computer screen, which is displaying the life-stacked image so far, with appropriate histogram stretching. They then take a puzzled look at the "blank" piece of sky (we have a lot of local streetlights) at which the telescope is pointing and say something like "that's there?"

In some ways, it makes up for not being able to get to dark sites any more.

 

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On the occasions when I set up in a public place I often get passers by asking what I'm looking at and am happy to show them. 

Most often this is when I'm on holiday and set up near a hotel or whatever.

Once a passing family  who thought I was observing the moon asked to have a look. I let them have a go but didn't tell them I was actually looking at Saturn which was nearby. That got a good reaction!

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On 15/05/2019 at 00:26, MKHACHFE said:

Hi all, 

About a month or so ago, when the ISS was over London again (i will never tire of watching it, i even get out of bed in the small hours of the morning to see it if i can), i was waking near my house and saw it overhead. And as i have done for years, if anyone is near me (that doesn't look like they REALLY wouldn't care)  then i stop them and point it out to them and explain what it is and that there are people on that. I also do this regularly at bus stops when i spot it.

Everyone i have shown it to so far has responded very positively and usually ask a few questions. Almost always "How do you know that's the ISS?"...haha. 

I've done similar things to friendly looking guys, gals or couples in my vicinity when Venus or Jupiter are particularly startling.

I got the idea from way back when Hale-Bopp was gloriously showing off in the skies over the UK and there was a guy at the edge of the park near my house that had a telescope and was inviting passers by to look at the comet through it. It was awesome.  To be fair, this was in Chelsea, so pretty safe. I'm not sure i would do the same in Holloway or Archway...

Just curious if anyone else does this. I've never felt silly or pushy doing it, its a bit of fun. 

Sorry for the rather pointless thread. 

I'm only 5 months in to this amazing hobby, and already i'm telling people where Jupiter is, how to spot it, that Saturn will be following close behind it, that those little "Stars" travelling ever so quickly across the night sky are most likely satellites, and so it goes on haha. I've had very positive responses from people, and they seem genuinely interested and fascinated with what i'm telling them. I just can't wait to get some decent images of planets and DSOs so i can share them with family and friends, and anyone else who wants to see them. It makes my brain freeze with confusion when i try to fathom the sheer infinitesimal enormity of the Galaxies and Universe and beyond. It's beyond human comprehension thus far, imo...

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Posted (edited)

Only if I am pointing my iPhone or SIM-free Samsung S6* to the sky. It gets people asking me... "What are you looking at?" or "Where is... ?"

* connection via WiFi only.

Edited by Philip R

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When I go in to work there are others outside taking a break and I point Jupiter out to them. Most thought it was just a bright star.

Several years back the planets were great. As I walked in one of the assistant managers was standing there, unwinding after a tough night shift. He was amazed when I pointed out that including the Earth, you could see 5 of the 8 planets at once. (Sorry Pluto!)

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I recall one other time I was out trick or treating and was chatting with other parents whilst the children were rioting. Someone mentioned how many  stars could be seen. I pointed up at one and said that's Vega. They didn't believe me and got a phone app out to find out. They were very impressed when it turned out to be true. I chose not to mention that was well known and my feat of identification was not actually that impressive.

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Just stand staring at the sky! People will generally ask you what is going on up there. You then have the option of pointing out planets / iss or heading down the alien invasion route......

I can’t believe that there is anyone who hasn’t looked up and wondered at the night sky.

Paul

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I do point out what I think might be interesting if anyone is nearby, mostly actually when birding rather than planet-watching. The only planet I've ever done it for was Mercury this last Feb/March, when cycling through Richmond Park. I was catching someone up, and when I came alongside I pointed out "that bright dot", and that although featureless and unremarkable, it was rare to see it as it's generally close to the Sun and therefore always low when visible. He was impressed and grateful. I also often get people asking what I'm looking at. People's reactions can be amusing. On one occasion, and I was staring at a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in Richmond Park, a woman with her child asked, and I explained and handed her my binoculars to have a closer look. She seemed to slightly panic, she had no idea how to use them. Also, if it's a young couple, often the woman will ask what I'm looking at and the man will look slightly irritated.

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Many don't. They're usually focused 30cm in front of them at their phone as they walk along. The young ones anyway. 

Hanging around and staring up at the sky is usually enough to prompt the curious to ask what's up. I don't usually buttonhole passers by though and insist they look up. Might not get a friendly response. 

I got a good response one early morning a few years back when I set my telescope up on the Ridgeway to get a good view of the partial eclipse of the sun as it rose through the mist. Surprising how many dog walkers there are at that unearthly hour. All stopped and looked at the pics appearing on the screen of my DSLR and wanted to know what was happening. I had quite a few nice chats. 

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When we go to local astro camp there are sometimes non astronomers on the site too and generally they are normally quite interested in what we are doing.  they often ask if they can come back later and take a look through the scope but most of us have cameras in the back.  Occasionally some-one has a scope that can be looked through and we give them a guided tour of what's up there.  We also show them the planets when they are up, and the ISS if it is passing over and all is much appreciated.

I only got one occasion (not at camp I hasten to add) when I pointed out to some-one the ISS and was told that it wasn't that it was something else ridiculous like a meteor lol.  Couldn't be bothered to argue.

Carole 

 

 

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I don't have that habit.. quite... I do tend to point out the ISS whenever I see it.  My 'dark site' (aka, my safe site with free leccy, water, toilets) is in fact a local campsite so often when I'm doing stuff there are people there who'll come over and see what I'm doing and ask lots of questions. The owner usually warns people I'll be around so it's rare to be disturbed with lights. I've found the majority of people to be really quite interested in what's up there, even the young ones. I'm still feeling my way around working out the point where I need to stop talking about it though as I can't see their eyes glaze over in the dark!!

James

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21 hours ago, wesdon1 said:

It makes my brain freeze with confusion when i try to fathom the sheer infinitesimal enormity of the Galaxies and Universe and beyond. It's beyond human comprehension thus far, imo...

Yup. Kinda puts it all into perspective.

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Posted (edited)

Lorna will literally spark up a full blown conversation with complete strangers anytime anywhere. A couple of weeks ago she did it in a lift in a shopping centre. I find it annoying and somewhat embarrassing. I've asked her to stop doing it. I see where she gets it from, her Dad does the same. 

I'm quite the opposite. I avoid eye contact with people I don't know in case they stop, and start waffling on about anything. I'm not one for small talk or chit chat.

Each to their own.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher

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1 hour ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

Lorna will literally spark up a full blown conversation with complete strangers anytime anywhere. A couple of weeks ago she did it in a lift in a shopping centre. I find it annoying and somewhat embarrassing. I've asked her to stop doing it. I see where she gets it from, her Dad does the same. 

I'm quite the opposite. I avoid eye contact with people I don't know in case they stop, and start waffling on about anything. I'm not one for small talk or chit chat.

Each to their own.

Oh Paul!

Read your last sentence and don't stop her!

I regularly talk to strangers,especially in lifts. Their body language usually makes it obvious if people don't want to speak, old folks are always pleased to share a few words.

It's one of the things I can do to stop the insular rot that the internet and mobile phones are bringing to our society.

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4 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Oh Paul!

Read your last sentence and don't stop her!

I regularly talk to strangers,especially in lifts. Their body language usually makes it obvious if people don't want to speak, old folks are always pleased to share a few words.

It's one of the things I can do to stop the insular rot that the internet and mobile phones are bringing to our society.

Good point. I couldn't stop her anyway. She's too busy talking, to listen to me anyway.

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Can't say I point them out to passers by but I am like a warped record with my work colleagues, making sure they know what planets are up or when there is an ISS flyby. Some are interested, others less so. All are far more impressed with the ISS flyby. 

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I tried a few times in the spur of the moment when I happened to notice something, but the reactions were at best lukewarm and some just wouldn't believe that you can see the ISS or Jupiter with the unaided eye...

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