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Astro heart-stopping moments


Ags
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I joined the select group of people on this thread who have had things go bump in the night! I had my first attempt at using my shiny new ASI533 last week and totally forgot about cable management. As the scope was slewing there was a sudden clunk as something hit the ground - the USB cable from camera to laptop had wrapped itself around a knob on one of the tripod legs and pulled the camera, extension tubes and adapters out of the back of the telescope. Fortunately, the impact onto tarmac was nose first and the only thing damaged was my 1.25" to 2" adapter, which had a big chip in the side and would no longer fit into the 2" tube. After a few panicky moments I was relieved to see the camera was still working, and inspecting it in daylight, there is not a scratch on it. I think time to buy a Baader clicklock adapter....

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Stepping over the dog, who decided at that moment to stand up, between my legs, and me reaching for support of the dual rig, and it toppled over with me,  and taking the full brunt of the 80mm as I fell onto it, catching me in the higher rib cage, very luckily no damage to scope, but did end up with two cracked ribs

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This happened to me towards the end of last year. No kit was damaged in this story but it did put the wind up me.

I was out the back with my telescope. All was running well while I took images of something or other. I am on my own and it's pretty dark . . .obviously. Then I heard a clunk. Like someone had tripped over something nearby.

I froze. Ears turned up to 11 I stood still and listened for more movement. Nothing for at least a couple of minutes. Then again. Clunk. Clearly the intruder thought the coast was clear. I reached for my torched and waved it round where the sound appeared to be coming from. "Get the baseball bat Steve, I think there's someone over the back." I said rather loudly. I don't have a baseball bat ( I am 69 ) and I was on my own. Shivers went up my spine but I couldn't see anything that could be causing the sound. As the night progressed the clunking happened several more times and I started to get used to it.

The following day I happened to see  my neighbour in her garden near to where the noise had been coming from. She told me she was going to put a board over her coldframe. . . . . the conkers were falling on it and she was worried the glass might break!

Pesky conkers!!!!

cheers

gaj

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Last season I was setting up my OAG and getting my guide parfocal with my main CCD, involved adjusting with a hex key. Of course the entire OAG mirror and guide scope fell sharply onto the patio, I've now upgraded to use a helical focuser with pressure fitting. Guide scope is fine BTW, shows an impact scratch on the back though.

Edited by gilesco
typo
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The night before my Kielder trip the other week, I was in the garden about 11:30pm amateur astronomising and heard a massive crash, jumping out my skin. The Territorial Army veteran reflexes kicked in, i.e. I was rooted to the spot scared witless for a couple of seconds. Gathering my senses I sourced the noise to next door's garden. Instinct took over and I knew probably my neighbour or someone else had collapsed or fell.

Gingerly I went through the back gate to look, expecting to begin resuscitating a bloke (the crash was *that* loud).

The soft sod neighbour was lying prone, drunk as a skunk on top of a totally destroyed glass & metal garden table and plastic chair.

Somehow he survived without so much as a scratch, while I put my back out trying to stand the puddin' up!

 

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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Couple of years ago I was  doing a first night-time test of my DIY Onstep GOTO system. (200p on EQ3-2) The scope was chugging steadily  towards its target with me nervous as a kitten checking for tripod collisons, cable snags ,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.

Couldn't find anything wrong. Next morning I found a pigeon on the patio, or as Monty Python would 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 was the ghostly image of the former pigeon in full flight. It must have hit at maximum airspeed & just dropped stone dead.

 

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A heart stopping moment for something else.

A couple of weeks ago I was out observing, totally oblivious to the world when I looked up and saw an animal walking through the garden. We have the occasional fox coming through, so I thought it might have been him. Without thinking I switched my head-mounted red torch on. The animal scarely took a look, screeched and sped off, giving the wheelie bin a massive whack on route.

When I recounted the tale to my wife she had me switch it on and look in the mirror. Two glowing red lights, one either side. Very "demon eyes".

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Last year, I was lucky enough to be staring at the night sky at the right time to witness this beauty go from pretty much horizon to horizon. This isn't my video, but this is the same fireball I saw.

(Colour video halfway through video)

I was stunning to see in person. I've seen quite a few fireballs, even some in daytime, but this was exceptional.

 

Cheers

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Oh there are some: putting the counterweight on my AP1100 already mounted on the Losmandy HD tripod... I felt the mount tilting and called for the girlffried holding everything. Another instance is when putting the large 185 frac on the AP1100 with or without counterweights on the shaft: If the tripod is oriented, that one leg is not along the counterweight shaft, the whole assembly can easily be tilted and topple over when I put the scope on it in park position 3. Mounting the large apo always gives me the creeps, regardless of the mount 🤒

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I have had an owl flying into my observatory through the dome slit twice in the past couple of years, once while I was actually in there!  Frightened the living wotsit out of me.

Fortunately they only left a feather or two behind....

 

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On 06/10/2020 at 15:51, lenscap said:

Couple of years ago I was  doing a first night-time test of my DIY Onstep GOTO system. (200p on EQ3-2) The scope was chugging steadily  towards its target with me nervous as a kitten checking for tripod collisons, cable snags ,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.

Couldn't find anything wrong. Next morning I found a pigeon on the patio, or as Monty Python would 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 was the ghostly image of the former pigeon in full flight. It must have hit at maximum airspeed & just dropped stone dead.

 

Snap, had this twice. perfect imprint, now keep blinds closed on back bedroom window lol

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Couple of weeks back, Mount stopped, I tried the Handset, but no movement of mount, then realised I had Cord Wrap, slight damage to Cable , but scary, fixed with electrical tape, seems ok now.

eric

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Deep into observing, felt two hands on my back. It was the cat (I was sitting on the ground), reaching up for a nice scratch. 

Apart from that, my heart pretty much stops every time anything goes wrong, ever. 

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  • 1 year later...

I had gotten myself a new Sky-Watcher 80 ED and had just finished setting it up on the mount and tripod. I took my hands off it for a split second and turned around and I heard metal rubbing against metal. I turned around and to my horror, I realized that I had forgotten to lock one of the tripod legs. It slid backwards and was about to fall onto the ground. Thankfully, acting on instinct, me and my brother (who was nearby) Grabbed the scope literally a centimeter off the ground. Thankfully, no damage was sustained apart from the dew shield sliding off partially as my brother grabbed it there. I injured mt back though as the scope landed on me. Nearly gave me a heart attack.

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My heart stopping moment was when l first bought my Samyang lens.  It joined to my Atik camera and filter wheel by way of a “screw in” adapter.  One day l had the POD dome open while my engineering friend was doing a repair to my Pod Zenith table so l put a scope cover over the rig in case it rained.  
 

Next imaging session l was taking the cover off the rig but the cover tie up cord got caught on the Electronic filter wheel turning it anti-clockwise.  Then having loosened in the thread the weight of the EFW turned the camera and EFW even further resulting in the whole lot unscrewing from the Samyang kens and crashing on the floor.  £4000 of kit possibly smashed up!!! 

Miraculously it all survived which l think was due to me having interlocking foam flooring. 
 

But it was a heart stopping moment. 

l now have had the Samyang  mounting rings adapted so that the camera/EFW are attached together so this can never happen again.  

Carole

Edited by carastro
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Observing on my back deck around 0330 one morning.  As I glance across the yard, I see a large, apparently male silhouette slowly walking in my direction.  There are no other amateur astronomers in my neighborhood that I know of, so I'm thinking this person is up to no good.   It was my neighbor's father walking their dog while they were on vacation.  It seems he's a very early riser too.

Observing late one evening in rural Wisconsin when I heard a low growling sound coming from the nearby tree line.  Cougars are unknown in that area, but lone males have been spotted on trail cams in other areas and come through presumably looking for mates or something.  It was a male whitetail deer grunting and whuffling around.  Nonetheless, I moved my scope next to the cabin for the rest of the night.

And finally, during another early morning session, I noticed a bright, orange, "extra" second magnitude or so star in the bowl of Ursa MInor.  No sound, no motion, no nav lights, just slowly faded from view.  Not heart-stopping, but certainly made me catch my breath.  🙂

 

Edited by jjohnson3803
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Not quite heart stopping since I've never encountered them directly.  But in the obsy with the door closed I've occasionally heard scrabbling sounds and low whining noises which is always a bit unsettling.  I put in a wildlife camera to see what was happening and was quite astounded at the result. I can see foxes passing through the garden most nights, usually one, sometimes two and on this night a mum and two cubs.

 

2022-08-13 08.57.29.jpg

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A 6" newt astrograph slipping from the faulty mount clamp and bouncing off the concrete patio.

 

Next doors cat sitting on the wall of my open ROR observatory unbeknown to me. I got up to sort the camera out only to be tapped on the head by the cat. That made me jump.

 

A fox barking the other side of the observatory wall.

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