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Do you go observing by yourself to ur fav place?

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#1 SeptemberEquinox


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Posted 16 February 2013 - 03:23 PM

As I'm new to this hobby, not all of my friends are fascinated with what I have been doing on my spare time. But as they do get curious and they have been coming along with me wherever I go observe. I always had this in my head, "God, it'd be nice to be alone and enjoy the quiet night as I relax". At the same time I enjoy the company, and they keep me occupied, but people keep me occupied 24/7, so... +since they aren't into it as much as I am, they are not patient. I sound like Grumpy. Lol. Even by myself I worry that mountain lions or crazy person will jump out of the bushes and abduct me.

Do you guys go observing by yourself when you go to one of your favorite location where you are alone?? Aren't you scared a bit like a little kid?

This is silly

#2 City Kid

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 04:25 PM

I observe alone far more than I observe with other people. I have three different dark sites that I go to and at two of them I feel safer than I do in my backyard. However the darkest of my three sites is a bit spooky when I'm alone. It's also the one I go to the least for that very reason. It has a fair open area to observe but it is surrounded by woods and anything coming out of the woods at a high rate of speed would probably be on me before I could do anything. And because of the woods there are always lots of strange animal sounds that are very close. But hey, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

#3 tecmage



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Posted 16 February 2013 - 04:26 PM

Not silly at all. I observe at home by myself. If some of the club members are going to the dark site, I might go. I like the idea of having other people around at that site, if for no other reason to have someone else around when I see something new and exciting.

#4 Dennis_S253


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Posted 16 February 2013 - 04:44 PM

So far I've only viewed from my back yard. Sometimes my daughter likes to sneak out and scare me. She thinks it is so funny. One day I'll probably have a heart attack. There's nothing like being totally engulfed on a new found galaxy or something and something touches you. :shocked:

#5 MikeBOKC



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Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:16 PM

I think a good rule of thumb about remote observing sites is that, absent a secure club dark site where you can observe with other astronomers who are a deeply into it as you are (a good option of you have a local club), choose a site where you would also be comfortable hiking or picnicking alone as well. Which means if the methheads or other undesirables frequent the area, you should probably not for any activity.

As for critters, there have been many posts here about alleged dangers from nature, and unless you are in grizzly country, the biggest hazard is probably mosquitoes. Don't sweat the creatures, who are just as anxious to avoid you as you are them.

#6 mountain monk

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:21 PM

This is a very general question. What exactly are you worried about? If you can be more specific, I think folks here will offer specific suggestions.

Dark skies.


#7 jerwin


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Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:43 PM

I like the knowledge that comes with more experienced people. Sometimes you get someone that talks a little more than I'd like. And I know everyone is proud of their scopes and the views, but I typically have one of the larger scopes at our dark sites at 11", so I sometimes find myself more annoyed when the guy with the 5 inch insists I come look at the Orion nebula or Andromeda. I do it, but deep down I find myself thinking about how rare it is go have a clear night on a dark weekend and I don't really want to spend it looking at the easier objects in the sky...through a 5" scope.

When I'm alone at the dark site I find myself wishing someone else would show up. When someone finally does, I think to myself, no no no, not him again. :p I'm probably just a terrible person.

#8 Mike B

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:45 PM

Don't sweat the creatures, who are just as anxious to avoid you as you are them.

This coming from a guy with a rattlesnake for an avatar...
:poke: Honestly, those would be MY first concern... and ARE! I try to make reasonable quantities of noise when moving around at a remote dark site, if/when away from the scope. I'm sure the rattlers stay away from where we are, but when "nature calls".... :shrug:

This remote site i never observe alone at. I'd be totally safe from druggies, weirdo's, & party hounds- but a drive to the nearest medical facility is 45 minutes. Not something i'd wanna undertake, solo, while snake-bit!

Aside from those, wild pigs can be an issue in our region, and they aren't particularly afraid of much of anything. Those i'd like to avoid, as they can be horribly dangerous. Thankfully, we've never seen nor heard signs of them at our site.

A nearby state park is a decent dark-site, but is right off a main highway... possibly prone to late-nite travelers... tho the few times i've been there i've seen NO one. Not even the ranger that supposedly patrols there. Some of those trips i've brought my dog, but honestly, it's not a lot of fun for him.

I don't get a lot of yard visitors, or interested friends... my complaint might run a little opposite of yours? But when scheduling events with others, non-astro types, i generally shoot for the Moon. Seriously. Right around first quarter is perfect, as earlier in the eve they get wow'd by its views, then as it gets lower the sky darkens to where deepsky views are pretty good. Then, when it gets late enough, everyone bails to go home... and the Moon has set, leaving me gorgeous dark (well, such as they are from the edge of a small town) skies to go huntin' faint fuzzies only *i* am likely to appreciate!

For Moonless nites, i *try* to reserve my efforts for myself- and those who are more similarly invested... all things bein' equal.

Still, happy are YOU that so many wish to "observe" with you. I suspect this is a VERY odd "problem" to have among we enthusiasts.

#9 jeff heck

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 08:00 PM

Yes, all the time. I am too old to be spooked or scared. Some say I,m crazy but mom got me tested, whatever that nerd show qoute is. :looney:

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#10 krp


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Posted 16 February 2013 - 08:01 PM

When I'm at my observing site about half the time I'm the only one there. I like places with good visibility so I can see approaching cars ahead of time. I admit it does get a little spooky when I'm surrounded by the sound of howling coyotes, but I've never actually had any problems.

#11 drbyyz


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Posted 16 February 2013 - 08:30 PM

I like to observe alone and with others. I don't mind going to my dark sky spot alone at all. Very safe and minimal scary wildlife, skunks are the only thing I worry about, and that's not exactly life threatening, just annoying.

You should definitely try some observing by yourself if you are tiring of having your friends alone. It can be very relaxing and I find the only way to get any serious observing done(unless of course they other observer's are keeping to themselves). It's nice to share, but sometimes solo is just plain better. I have fun with both.

#12 GeneT


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Posted 16 February 2013 - 08:33 PM

Our local astronomy club is mostly doing outreach. I don't have a lot of time for my favorite hobby, so most of the time I view alone. I don't want to spend what few evenings I have with six people lined up to look through my telescope. However, I do like viewing with like minded people. However, my schedule most often won't match up with others.

#13 MikeBOKC



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Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:13 PM

Hey that's my pet snake George . . . be nice!

Actually, herpetology is a second hobby. Have kept rattlers and copperheads in the past, but just a rat and corn snake now, though I keep my snake hook and tongs in the car all the time. Never seen a reptile once at the club dark site which is well within diamondback country. Your chances of encountering one are really pretty slim, and even then just walk around and he'll go his way. They really don't want to waste venom, which is their food catching tool, on something way too big to eat.

We do have cattle in the pasture right adjacent to the club site and they will come over to say hi when people are on-site. Coyotes and jackrabbits too, and see many possum and raccoons on the road in and out after dark. I kind of enjoy hearing the coyotes tip at sundown. It means the stars are about to come out!

#14 Bill Weir

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:22 PM

the biggest hazard is probably mosquitoes.

Which on the whole have probably killed more people than all other dangerous creatures combined. I'm talking about creatures visible to the naked eye.

Personally I mostly observe alone from a site where cougars are know to frequent. That doesn't stop me.


#15 azure1961p


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Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:55 PM

I love star part mingling. I love meeting similar minded folks and I always leave knowing more than when I arrived. I miss star parties. The said I hate being bothered by passerbys. Lol I truly hate answering 20 stupid questions to people who have no interest in the pursuit but enjoy balking. Behind my condo there's one neighbor - she's a sweet heart. And genuinely loves it when I show her whatever, but the others..... Please leave me the h e l l alone.

There I said it.

I don't think its odd or wrong that you find the idea of he solitary pursuit engaging. It's relaxing, restorative and refreshing and time well spent on a deep level. And trying not to sound too spacey, there is on the other hand something not at all ALONE about scanning the star clouds and galaxies and such. But it's difficult to feel that when your peace is disrupted with the mechanics if being entertaining, cordial and educational.

I think you can have both but at seperate times. For the 95% of it or more its a solitary pursuit - I wish it were more so - cept for star party commeraderie - that is actually the perfect compliment to those solitary nights.


#16 sslcm56


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Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:59 PM

I like to be alone when I'm observing. I don't mind the ocasoinal companion but I prefer to be alone. As far as security goes I always take my 357 along.

#17 droid



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Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:41 AM

I like to practice the buddy system.....for the most part a solitary person might look pretty doable to a pack of wild dogs or coyotes. Two or more not so much.
Secondly and my area more importantly two of our best local viewing sites are teenage hangouts,partying disturbing others who " arent welcome" only happened to me once, but there have been other reports, one or two turned violent.

Lastly ,no Im not afraid of or in the dark, I grew up in the country in era when light pollution was non existant, Im used to the dark.

#18 JayinUT


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Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:07 AM

I am usually with a friend or two but I am more than willing to go alone if I have to. I am not afraid of coyotes or others, a good bear spray will distract them if needed. Last I have had encounters with people driving up where I am with others and watching for a few minutes and then driving away. I've never had that alone and that might change my opinion. In the end I prefer to observe with at least one person with me just for the safety factor. Getting older makes me consider the buddy system a good thing. In addition I really enjoy the company of the people I observe with and we are serious and do our observing and then talk when we take a break.

#19 Tony Flanders

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:11 AM

There was a lengthy discussion of this very topic just a couple of weeks ago on the Deep Sky Forum here. I don't have much to add besides what I said there.

I definitely prefer observing alone, though observing with other people has its charms, too -- depending on the people.

#20 MawkHawk



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Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:48 AM

I do both. I like to observe alone at the dark site so that I can make a list and plan in advance and slowly work my way thru that uninterrupted. And I can concentrate on messing with my gear with no distractions.

But I also like meeting up with the guys. I enjoy their company and the casual atmosphere. But chatting takes up a lot of time that I could spend observing.

#21 jgraham


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Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:10 PM

Long ago (30+ years ago) I used to go observing with a few close friends. We've since gone our separate ways and I do pretty much all of my observing alone.

#22 Feidb


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Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:20 PM

Never, for safety reasons. Too many crazies, too many critters, possibility of a breakdown, might throw my back out, no cell coverage at the sites...

#23 csa/montana


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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:07 PM

My observing site is in my 20 acre yard. Cougars, bear, etc., are around. Rattlers are around, but rarely seen. I observe alone 99% of the time; welcoming it when a fellow CN'r comes to visit, and we can observe together. I love hearing the coyotes, owls, cattle in the far distance. This is music to observe by.

#24 City Kid

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:57 PM

My observing site is in my 20 acre yard. Cougars, bear, etc., are around. Rattlers are around, but rarely seen. I observe alone 99% of the time; welcoming it when a fellow CN'r comes to visit, and we can observe together. I love hearing the coyotes, owls, cattle in the far distance. This is music to observe by.

That would be my dream set up. It probably won't happen but I've learned to never say never.

#25 Mike B

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:21 PM

I love hearing the coyotes, owls, cattle in the far distance. This is music to observe by.

Agreed! :grin: On the edge of town where i live, with undeveloped fields all around nearby, i get overflown by barn-owls all the time. My dog loves them, too... in fact, i think *he* thinks THEY are what i'm scopin' for! :lol: Generally he'll spot them first, but if i see one i'll call it out to him, and he'll run around the yard like a nut, arfing at it. It's the highlight of *his* evening of stargazing with me.

We hear the coyotes singing in the night from our darksky observing site, and that's also very cool. Still, as was stated above, i feel a li'l more comfortable when partnered up... not sure how being all alone might factor into one's vulnerability with those rascals.

Many years ago i was out & about with my young boys- day trippin' around some local boonies, my eye set to find a secluded observing spot- one sequestered from view, headlights, etc. from which to scope the night skies. We noticed a few aircraft buzzing about... slightly unusual, but not unheard of; it's a gorgeous place to fly, away from crowded airspace. Then, on our drive back to town, we ended up behind a large white sedan- obviously an "unmarked" gubbermint car of some flavor.

Watching the news that nite cleared up the mystery of the aircraft & car... they'd found the body of a missing rape victim, dumped right out near where we'd been poking around, and would be continuing to search for additional victims.

This pretty well scuttled my plans for observing out there. Since then, it's at public sites that are "rangered", or else private land behind gates... *locked* ones. :shrug: Unfortunately, it's just the way things are these days...

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