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Keeping it POSITIVE, bringing neighbors around

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#1 kfiscus

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 12:59 PM

The recent Home Owner Association (HOA) thread was getting harsh. It would be cool to hear stories with happy endings- stories of non-astronomy neighbors being converted to at least tolerating the weirdo with the scope. Better yet, stories of neighbors becoming appreciative of the dark. I have no such stories, positive or otherwise, to share.

#2 csrlice12

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 01:46 PM

Nothing here. I've lived in my house for nine years now and only know the one neighbor's name, and that's only because I contracted some electrical work out, and turns out my next door neighbor is an electrician and was who they sent out....if it hadn't been for that, I probably wouldn't even know that....

#3 shawnhar

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 01:53 PM

Nothing here either, my neighbors have no interest in my scopes. We are very friendly to each other and talk, but none of them have an interest in Astronomy.

#4 Jmax

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 02:04 PM

My family aren't even interested. I have gone out of my way to inform my nearby neighbors about my hobby, so they would never question why I used to be out in my driveway with scopes at all hours of the night. Funny thing is that the only problem I ever really had was a cop shining his light on me as I walked to my front door after a Messier Marathon where I got home around 4:00 AM. I can't really complain, though, because he was just seeing that I belonged. Now, with my new observatory behind my 6 ft. privacy fence, I'll have privacy and not worry about bothering the neighbors. I also live in a neighborhood where I can pretty much do as I please with my own home and property. It is mine, after all. But I do understand that others do not have that luxury. It seems that our entire world is too caught up in fear that someone is doing something wrong. It seems that people always look for the bad. It gets really frustrating, but I do not have any ideas to offer other than trying to explain to any who may question. The problem is that many astronomers, from my experience anyway, are a bit introverted. I know I am. I have a hard time just walking up to someone I don't even know and explaining to them about my hobby. I think the HOA discussion, therefore, was worthwhile. I really didn't see the offending posts, so I don't really know how bad they were. Unfortunately, I fear, though, that like everything else in this world, there is a tendency around here to look a little too hard for the bad.

#5 csrlice12

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 02:11 PM

I can't remember where I heard this: " I like being alone, that way I'm only in the company of intelligent people"

#6 MikeBOKC

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 04:57 PM

I have a neighbor up the street a couple of doors who is often out in his garage with the door up puttering with cars. Whenever I set up in the front yard he walks down and spends an hour or more taking a sky tour. I doubt that he will ever be truly converted into buying a scope or joining a club, but he clearly thinks that my scope and what you can see through it are pretty amazing. I have also had a few folks out walking dogs or babies in strollers stop to look and ask the usual "how much does something like that cost?" question, all basically pleasant experiences.

#7 Jeff in Austin

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 06:41 PM

My HOA experience was rough at first. Took me about 4 months to finally get approval for my obs. Turns out the VP of the HOA was planning to sell his house, that "overlooks" my tiny back yard. He didn't want a potential eyesore. Once we sat down and talked it through he was ok with it. About 5 months after that we had the HOA President over with his kids for a mini star party. I'm fortunate to live in a neighborhood where people can talk it out, and not hold grudges.

#8 Stargaz18

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:18 PM

Well in my neighborhood we don't belong to a HOA so no problems with that. Some of my neighbors, especially the kids love to see what I'm looking at if I happen to be in the front yard. But due to almost everyone having a front porch light on 24/7, I do most of the viewing from my back yard. Luckily I've never had any problems with anyone while observing though.

#9 star drop

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:26 PM

I have nothing positive to offer since all of my past and present neighbors are afraid of the dark. Our newest neighbor's wife wants a security light on all of the time. Their current residence near me was previously their vacation cabin. Her fears are still there despite the fact that for the past twelve years anytime we saw or heard anything strange going on there we would be over in a minute to check it out.
The only people that viewed through my telescope who were genuinely interested were those that already had an interest in astronomy and many already owned a telescope.

#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:37 PM

Ken

Good topic..

Whenever my neighbors see me out front with a scope, they ask me what I am looking, I'll offer them a look and they take me up on it. The mom has Google Skymap on her phone and likes to show me what she has found.

They have a bright light in their backyard. If you are out there playing croquet,shooting darts or BBQing, I fine with the bright light. If they are not out in the backyard, they are good about turning it off because they know I might be out looking at the stars.

Jon

#11 Mike B

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:56 PM

... they are good about turning it off because they know I might be out looking at the stars.


Wow, what great neighbors! :jump: The situation seems like it's been carefully cultivated. :waytogo:

#12 kfiscus

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 08:44 PM

This is the kind of story I was hoping to hear. In the other thread, some had mentioned taking over some adult beverages to 'grease the wheels', so to speak. I don't drink but would consider this tactic if it were needed.

On the security theme, I'd think that if one's neighbors knew and trusted them, they would appreciate having a live human security system stargazing right next door. Beats a dumb light in my book...

#13 mountain monk

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 09:01 PM

I have no human neighbors, intentionally. But when I have visitors, I often set up the scopes so they can have a look and they are always wowed. Particularly the kids; it's great to feel their wonder. My main neighbors are elk, especially females, and when they discover me while wandering around in the dark (I never hear them) they give a whistled bark that catapults me right out of the Stardust chair. Great neighbors.

Dark skies.

Jack

#14 droid

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 09:37 PM

Heres one, Ive held star partys in the neighborhood several times all hve been received well by the neighbors, but next door is a like six foot six inch tall biker. Harley beard and all. One night he sees me outside and just walks over and starts asking me about the moon and planets, we talked for quite a while. Practically every time he saw me out after that he just walked over and looked through my scope.
Nice thing was he wound up with one of my donation scopes I used to do, he still has it and uses it.
And all my neighbors on a dime will turn out there lights.
No HOA though does the city council president living next door count?

#15 csa/montana

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:14 PM

they give a whistled bark that catapults me right out of the Stardust chair.



A deer giving a snort right next to the observatory gave me the same result! :lol:

#16 star drop

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 09:12 AM

they give a whistled bark that catapults me right out of the Stardust chair.



A deer giving a snort right next to the observatory gave me the same result! :lol:

Sometimes one can strike up a conversation with the critters. Snorting with the deer, screeching/hooting with the owls, howling with the coyotes and meowing with the barn cats .. yikes I'd better watch out .. there's a "weirdo with the scope living in my area".

#17 csrlice12

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 09:17 AM

Is that a CAT you're meowing at or a cat?

#18 Mike B

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 10:50 AM

If it's a Meade CAT you wish to meow at, it only speaks coffee-grinder, so make sure to use the right vocal filter...
:getem:

#19 REC

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 12:28 PM

Yeah, pretty much the same here for me. My neighbors on both sides of my house keep their patio lights off most of the time when they know I'm out with the scopes and of course I always ask them to "come see". Right now with Saturn out they have even a bigger reason to come take a peek. Luckily this will continue:)

Bob

#20 Kevdog

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 03:00 PM

Our new neighbors moved in. Not too big of a deal since we're on 2.5 acres. We keep to ourselves, so had only said hi a few times. One night my wife was out watering our new trees and the neighbor lady comes out thinking it's coyotes. She wanted to shoe them away not realizing it was my wife and threw a rock that way. Any my wife ends up talking to her for hours. I later realized where she was and came down as well.

Turns out they had just bought a Meade 4" goto refractor for xmas. Also, I knew two nights later it was going to be a good ISS pass and their son who is 7 and our son who is 6 were both interested in seeing it. Their son never had! So my son and I go over there Sunday night and I take the green laser pointer. I show them the ISS pass, then he had the scope out as well so I showed them Saturn and the Orion nebula. It was a good night.

Funny enough, haven't talked to them since but mainly because we both stay busy!

#21 rdandrea

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 04:10 PM

I brought my next-door neighbor (single guy) half a slab of ribs I just pulled out of the smoker and in the ensuing conversation told him that his mercury vapor light was making it hard to use my telescope at night. Next day he was up on a ladder taping off my side of it. Positive? A little bribery never hurts.

#22 WesC

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 04:27 PM

I have met all of my immediately adjacent neighbors and they are mostly friendly people, which is why I like living here. ;)

It helps a lot when you need to ask them about light issues... for example, the neighbor to my West had a motion-sensor activated security light on his back porch that was bare-bulb and was pointed nearly straight into my backyard. I mentioned it to him in passing, as we had gotten together for dinner a couple of times, just asking if he could adjust the sensitivity so it wasn't on all the time. The next thing I knew he had a completely new light that was shrouded, pointed nearly straight down and he has it set up to turn off completely after about 1am. Now THAT is a good neighbor. :jump:

And yes, he has come over a couple of times to peek through the scope. He and his wife had never seen Saturn before and were blown away. :)

Now if I can just figure out a nice way to get that other neighbor to shut his ratty dog up...

#23 GeneT

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 04:51 PM

My neighbors are great, but that does not help me with my viewing. The trees grew too tall in the back yard for me to view. I don't view in the front yard because I don't want a car to drive by and its occupants see my telescope and accessories, and maybe mark my house for a hit. So, I drive about 22 miles for some not too bad Mag 4.8 skies. Mag 6 or better is 80-90 miles away.

#24 iverp

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 05:16 PM

Earlier this month, I had 68 people stop by on my driveway to see the Moon and Saturn. Of course TV news stories don't hurt.
http://www.kdlt.com/...w&id=21739&a...

#25 okieav8r

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 06:16 PM

Earlier this month, I had 68 people stop by on my driveway to see the Moon and Saturn. Of course TV news stories don't hurt.
http://www.kdlt.com/...w&id=21739&a...


That is neat!






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