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How comfortable do you feel when stargazing?


Holliday
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Depends where I am observing, there are some places (Puttenham common car park south of Guildford) where I keep a very large metal torch (the 4 D cell Maglite) hanging from my belt "just in case".

But despite that the most spooked I have ever felt was when a fox just sat and watched and watched and would not go away, quite nerving.

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Kinda puts it in perspective when Carol has Black Bear, Cougar, Wolf to watch out for and all we've got in the UK are fox's,badgers and hedgehogs, the odd adder,oh and of course "chavs"

maybe, but you have to watch those hedgehogs , especially if there are 3 of them.

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There are animals roaming around on my land which could easily kill me (Black Bear, Cougar, Wolf) but TBH, it's the two-legged variety that i'd personally feel the most threatened by. But since i'm on my own land, i feel perfectly comfortable. Besides, everyone knows i'm a darn good shot, and i made sure to tell a few 'key' local gossips that i always have my .22 with me. :)

Yeah, i feel nice and comfortable. :hello2: :hello2:

With them Big Cats id be packing a M4 with Thermal, FMJ's and stun Grenades.

Sorry sorry to much Call of Duty :)

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I do get startled by noises sometimes when observing. Sometimes hedgehogs or mice, most of the time though it is my own, totally black cat. I do actually feel safer when she's around as she would react to the slightest noise or movement. If she doesn't, I know I imagined it or it's nothing to worry about. ;-)

But believe it or not, you can actually hear ants making noises in dry leaves when it's really quiet.

Like a lot of people here I'm also a nature lover and I'm not freaked out by little crawly things. I'm more worried I could harm them when I can't see them...

I'm also worried about not pointing the scope anywhere near a neighbour's windows. They could get the wrong idea. ;-)

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I live in the middle of some woods - loads of foxes, badgers, rabbits and cats. We have loads of security lights dotted around so I get a heads up if I'm being stalked from the shadows. Oh we have owls as well - I hate owls, they creep me out! They're dead silent until about 10ft away when they go "WHOOOOOOOOOO!!!"

It took me a while to realise that astronomy doesn't have be silent as well as dark so now I have the radio on (nothing too bass heavy mind - don't want any unnecessary vibrations! lol)

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I live in the middle of some woods - loads of foxes, badgers, rabbits and cats. We have loads of security lights dotted around so I get a heads up if I'm being stalked from the shadows. Oh we have owls as well - I hate owls, they creep me out! They're dead silent until about 10ft away when they go "WHOOOOOOOOOO!!!"

It took me a while to realise that astronomy doesn't have be silent as well as dark so now I have the radio on (nothing too bass heavy mind - don't want any unnecessary vibrations! lol)

For some reason I like to keep all music off, I feel more comfortable listening when I cannot see.

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I observe from a dark sky site and am often on my own. Just me and the wind and the stars. I dont mind it and never give any noises a 2nd thought.

It could be a mugger but thats why I always hold a heavy eyepiece in my hand. One day who knows you may get a review of just how well a Skywatcher 38mm Ultrawide performs after its been used to whack someone with :)

Edited by Astro_Baby
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My wife and I were sitting in our back garden watching the Persieds last Saturday and she felt very uneasy. It felt normal to me as I am out there stargazing whenever I can, and must admit I do like the sounds of the odd creature snuffling through the undergrowth or screech of a bird as it goes about it's business. I find it very relaxing and peaceful.

Hello Johnboy...sorry, this is off topic but I couldn't resist complimenting you on your ELO Eldorado Avatar!

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My nights in the garden are accompanied by a number of noises.

The worst is the screeching of the foxes.

My least favourite moment is when I get dive-bombed by stag beetles. They are very noisy and don't give up easily.

I regularily get buzzed by the Met police helicopter. I always give them a friendly wave :).

I also live under the Heathrow flight path :) and sometimes they do seem to come in a bit 'hot'.

My most surprising moment was early in my observing career. A guy had just robbed the local Texaco garage and was being chased through the gardens by the Met police.

He was doing ok until he cam to my garden that has a 4' fence on one side but a 6'+ fence on the other.

He landed in the garden and then tried to get over the fence. I saw him finally scale the fence and then the police piled through the house and I was able to point them in the right direction.

After that anything else is an anti-climax. :hello2: :hello2:

Cheers

Ian

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For some reason I like to keep all music off, I feel more comfortable listening when I cannot see.

Yeah, I used to take my iPod, but i prefer the silence now. Only exception is some really loud and ferocious classical - Tchaikovsky or Holst (obv). Classical music and astronomy go really well together, in my opinion, seeing as they're both so grand and inspiring. Which gives me a little idea.....

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Yeah, I used to take my iPod, but i prefer the silence now. Only exception is some really loud and ferocious classical - Tchaikovsky or Holst (obv). Classical music and astronomy go really well together, in my opinion, seeing as they're both so grand and inspiring. Which gives me a little idea.....

I might just give that a go! :)

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I observe on my own land (a farm with paddock in a remote location) and we have had one or two incidents in the past, the most serious of which involved two idiots stealing a car and eventually running through our garden and trying to break into our conservatory, and trying to steal our car before the police got them in the morning. This doesn't worry me at all as I have the right to feel safe on my own land, and the people who tried to break in couldn't have been more stupid (running through our garden when it was thick with snow to show us their tracks, then causing as much noise as possible by trying to smash windows, all while they are running away from the police trying not to be found) so I don't feel threatened by anyone jumping out of the bushes and shouting 'boo' if I hear any scrapes or scratches. Also, no-one is more powerful on your land than you - and that's a fact for everyone. I do occasionally jump when my cat comes running out from the trees making a commotion though.

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Out in the hills south of Dublin with some friends one night we heard something dying a nasty death. There was a terriblr screeching and then silence. We speculated that it was a rodent of some description being killed by an owl.

In the silence of the night that sound was enough to creep up your spine.

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:) I don't take the .22 with me, i just told one of the local gossips that i do. :hello2:

But if i lived in Grizzly/Moose country, you betcha i'd have an Elephant gun with me... they can be pretty unpredictable at times.

TBH, the only defense i have is a 3' Rabbit fence around the Starpad to keep Dogs, Cats, Skunks, Porcupines and Rabbits from getting underfoot. And i have a really loud whistle, too. Basically, animals give a wide berth as long as they know i'm there, which is why i like having the iPod with me.. they hear me singing along and veer around instead of walking next to me down the path. The music's on low, and i only use one earbud, so i get to hear the music as well as the nightsounds around me.

An experience in '03 made me realize how important it is to make noises of some sort when i'm out there. One night in early July, i'd been quiet for way too long, trying to split a close double. After about 20 minutes of waiting for the seeing to 'pop', i realized it wasn't going to happen. So i took the 5mm ep from the diagonal and plopped the big heavy (noisy) 32mm in. From about 30' to the West, i heard a single, deep, very loud snarl. So i clapped my hands and yelled, assuming it was the Badger i'd seen earlier in the day. But the next day, my friend called to warn me that a Cougar was seen on the NE corner of my land about 6 hours before i heard the snarl. Cool. :) One of my Cousins grew up around here, and when i told him what happened and imitated the noise, he laughed and said it was definitely not a Badger, but a Cougar... most likely a Mama hunting for her Kittens, considering the time of year.

Since that happened, i always make noises and have been lucky... so far. :hello2:

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At first I thought this thread was too do with physical comfort, as in aching legs or shoulders, because I do my viewing standing up, but in terms of feeling safe, that's what Meg's my dog is for. Great for sniffing out the hedgehogs and just generally being there.

Can be slightly disquieting on the occasions she starts to growl at something though!

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Like almost everyone else its the two legged low life variety that worry most. But i live in a run down area of Hampshire and they don't tend to c@#p in their own backyard. They'd probably want to be snooping around somewhere with money. But i like to hear everything, so no music, just the ambient sounds for me.

Also worry about what the neighbours think. One neighbour always ribs me with 'you perving tonight'. I know he's tongue in cheek but i worry what others think. Someone else said they get unnerved when the scope gets close to pointing at a house....me too. I simply will not look at an object if its too close to the houses. Which meant not looking at Saturn earlier in the summer.

Rob and I have had a couple of close shaves with stolen cars in the New Forest. The last one ended our dark sky trips for 5 years......it was that close!

Loads of wildlife in the back garden but i love that sort of stuff. Funnily enough its the hedgehogs that make the biggest racket.

Edited by russ
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I get the perving comments from my next door neighbour in jest - we get on well, but I've pointed out to her that my dob (which is what I'm usually using in the garden) is unable to focus that close. Just a consequence of my upgrades (i.e. a higher focuser) but useful way of proving you're not perving.

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I know what you mean about the 'perving' comments. There was a spell last year when a couple of teenagers used to be regulars when I set up the scope in the front garden. Not that I minded, but I did begin to worry if their parents should be at least notified they were spending so much time after dark in my company. It is regrettable, but in this day and age you cannot be too careful.

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I've not had any perving comments off my neighbours. In fact they seem pleased when I'm out in the middle of the night as they know I'll be keeping an eye open for anyone lurking about. They say it makes then feel safer, which is nice.

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