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Things that go bump in the night

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#26 ylem

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 07:15 PM

No no no.... I can handle anything but skunks :shocked:

 

I never want to post how do I clean that off my scope!


Edited by ylem, 06 August 2014 - 07:17 PM.


#27 AMerritt

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 11:27 PM

Bear!!! We have a bear in the culvert above our house - heard some funny non-raccoon like rustling noises a couple of times. Then last Friday, saw the bear by my car at about 6:30 AM. Thought I had heard something large moving around down from me a couple of nights before......



#28 Starman1

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 12:52 AM

The flip side of that story is that I was purposely observing at a site known to have drug deals going down.  The Ranger suggested I keep an eye out and call him if I saw stuff.

A van filled with cholos showed up and started drinking and listening to loud rap music.  One of the guys (stereotypical chinos and white wife-beater t-shirt and hairnet) saunters over to me and says, "What're you looking at, sir?"  Right away I sense this won't be a typical encounter.  While his friends party and listen to music, he patiently sits and looks through the scope with me, asking fairly intelligent questions.  After a couple hours, his friends called out, "Hey Nerd!  Let's go."  He wished me a good night, shook my hand, and left.

Maybe there was one homey who had a telescope in his future.  I'd like to think so.


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#29 Galaxy_Mike

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 10:31 AM

I was observing in a friends yard. Well sort of, actually down his driveway a bit. He lives on a hill, and the power line points straight S. Great for Omega Centauri, etc, and actually got some Grus galaxies there. 

 

Anyway I heard something rooting around and jumped in the car. I had seen wild hogs in the area before. 



#30 amicus sidera

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 12:39 PM

Interactions with humans are my greatest concern, as well.

 

In New Jersey and environs, it seems that just about any spot even halfway suitable for observing purposes is also irresistibly attractive to the criminal element and lowlifes in general. It has been an ongoing problem in this area since the late 1970's and is the main reason our state wildlife management areas (multi-purpose hunting/fishing grounds) and almost all parks are closed after dark, even for legitimate activities such as stargazing. I gave up on public places here decades ago.

 

I believe much of the harassing, obnoxious progressing to thuggish behavior of certain types when they encounter the lone astronomer, or even a small group in out of the way places at night, may be due to the fact that possession of weapons outside the home by the law-abiding is either banned or heavily frowned upon here, and therefore they risk little by their actions. I notice that when observing in, for example, rural Pennsylvania, where the citizenry is quite often armed to the teeth, the miscreants tend to keep their distance when encountered at night. The beauty of it is that one doesn't necessarily need to have a gun to affect the situation (I don't); it's the idea that one might. Guess it makes a difference to thugs if they think that they might end up in the hospital or morgue over their criminal conduct. It all boils down to mutual respect.


Edited by amicus sidera, 07 August 2014 - 01:04 PM.

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#31 WD-42

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 12:49 PM

The flip side of that story is that I was purposely observing at a site known to have drug deals going down.  The Ranger suggested I keep an eye out and call him if I saw stuff.

A van filled with cholos showed up and started drinking and listening to loud rap music.  One of the guys (stereotypical chinos and white wife-beater t-shirt and hairnet) saunters over to me and says, "What're you looking at, sir?"  Right away I sense this won't be a typical encounter.  While his friends party and listen to music, he patiently sits and looks through the scope with me, asking fairly intelligent questions.  After a couple hours, his friends called out, "Hey Nerd!  Let's go."  He wished me a good night, shook my hand, and left.

Maybe there was one homey who had a telescope in his future.  I'd like to think so.

Just goes to show in the end people are just people in every culture and race. The wonder of the universe can be equally impressive to everyone.


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#32 Mentor

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 04:10 PM

Interactions with humans are my greatest concern, as well.

 

In New Jersey and environs, it seems that just about any spot even halfway suitable for observing purposes is also irresistibly attractive to the criminal element and lowlifes in general. It has been an ongoing problem in this area since the late 1970's and is the main reason our state wildlife management areas (multi-purpose hunting/fishing grounds) and almost all parks are closed after dark, even for legitimate activities such as stargazing. I gave up on public places here decades ago.

 

I believe much of the harassing, obnoxious progressing to thuggish behavior of certain types when they encounter the lone astronomer, or even a small group in out of the way places at night, may be due to the fact that possession of weapons outside the home by the law-abiding is either banned or heavily frowned upon here, and therefore they risk little by their actions. I notice that when observing in, for example, rural Pennsylvania, where the citizenry is quite often armed to the teeth, the miscreants tend to keep their distance when encountered at night. The beauty of it is that one doesn't necessarily need to have a gun to affect the situation (I don't); it's the idea that one might. Guess it makes a difference to thugs if they think that they might end up in the hospital or morgue over their criminal conduct. It all boils down to mutual respect.

Such a bleak picture you paint.  In essence you seem to be implying that in your country you either do not go to public locales at night, or if you do it is only under the presumption that you may end an interloper's life.  I hope that this is not accurate.



#33 amicus sidera

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 05:22 PM


 

 

Such a bleak picture you paint.  In essence you seem to be implying that in your country you either do not go to public locales at night, or if you do it is only under the presumption that you may end an interloper's life.  I hope that this is not accurate.

 

 

Not necessarily in my country as a whole, but certainly in this area of my country; I thought that would have been clear from the context.    ;)

 

If it appears bleak as I have described it, that is because it indeed is to me; in fact, I have every intention of leaving this particular area in the very near future, as soon as circumstances permit. It was not always this way here, but for some years even the police in many towns here often warn people not to frequent lonely areas after dark, or in some cases during daylight hours, because one can be targeted and victimized. Parks and similar areas where astronomy might be pursued are indeed closed after dark due to the prevalence of crime and the near-certainty of mischief occurring were they open at night. Not really surprising, as in a metropolitan area of nealy 20 million people the many and varied predatory groups and individuals, as well as the usual drunks and drug users, seem to multiply faster than the courts can deal with them. 

 

Perhaps I should move to Canada where, so I've heard, everyone is your friend and unicorns prance about, leaving a trail of Skittles behind them.  :grin:


Edited by amicus sidera, 07 August 2014 - 05:35 PM.

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#34 Mentor

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 05:35 PM

I stand corrected, thank you.

 

Sadly no unicorns up here.  We do have Skittles though, although you do have to pay for them, plus 13% tax.

 

I feel free to observe at any local park, schoolyard, or other public place in or around the rather large metropolitan area that I live in ( > Chicago).  Maybe you should consider the move. ;)


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#35 amicus sidera

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 05:40 PM

I stand corrected, thank you.

 

Sadly no unicorns up here.  We do have Skittles though, although you do have to pay for them, plus 13% tax.

 

I feel free to observe at any local park, schoolyard, or other public place in or around the rather large metropolitan area that I live in ( > Chicago).  Maybe you should consider the move. ;)

 

 I was apparently misinformed regarding the unicorns, but you folks do enjoy a certain peacefulness that is elusive down here, which I do envy. :cool:


Edited by amicus sidera, 07 August 2014 - 05:42 PM.


#36 cwilson

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 05:55 PM

Interactions with humans are my greatest concern, as well.

 

In New Jersey and environs, it seems that just about any spot even halfway suitable for observing purposes is also irresistibly attractive to the criminal element and lowlifes in general. It has been an ongoing problem in this area since the late 1970's and is the main reason our state wildlife management areas (multi-purpose hunting/fishing grounds) and almost all parks are closed after dark, even for legitimate activities such as stargazing. I gave up on public places here decades ago.

 

I believe much of the harassing, obnoxious progressing to thuggish behavior of certain types when they encounter the lone astronomer, or even a small group in out of the way places at night, may be due to the fact that possession of weapons outside the home by the law-abiding is either banned or heavily frowned upon here, and therefore they risk little by their actions. I notice that when observing in, for example, rural Pennsylvania, where the citizenry is quite often armed to the teeth, the miscreants tend to keep their distance when encountered at night. The beauty of it is that one doesn't necessarily need to have a gun to affect the situation (I don't); it's the idea that one might. Guess it makes a difference to thugs if they think that they might end up in the hospital or morgue over their criminal conduct. It all boils down to mutual respect.

 

You may be quite correct. Here in Oklahoma (originally from PA by the way ;) one can be armed so long as one goes through the process, and yes, I carry when out observing in an area where I might run into issues. The time I ran into the guy asking for money was miles from any town, yet there he was. He wasn't violent, but having a voice come out of the darkness when you don't think anyone else is around really rattles the nerves. We are probably bordering on a forbidden subject here, but I for one try to be prepared. Just in case.



#37 DarkSkysRFun

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 08:41 PM

seems them dark spots when i was a teenager. got the car. best girl by ur side.windows open  back country roads. your buds singgin. you makin the moves on ur girl... you find a dark spot and will cough .. anyways

 

dang if i couldnt find them dark spots.... 

 

so i went to my grand fathers backyard. nice dark area. for night vis. but still in the bubble... 

your there all alone. not a sound. but the city few miles away.. 

soooo peaceful.

 

then you hear a noise. twig or something steped on. or woods russel.. scared from then on .. 

 

ooo did i say my grandfather past away few years ago... his new backyard is a cemetery......

 

nice spot tho.. noone bugs me lol .... 


Edited by DarkSkysRFun, 07 August 2014 - 08:42 PM.


#38 Achernar

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 07:27 PM

 

Interactions with humans are my greatest concern, as well.

 

In New Jersey and environs, it seems that just about any spot even halfway suitable for observing purposes is also irresistibly attractive to the criminal element and lowlifes in general. It has been an ongoing problem in this area since the late 1970's and is the main reason our state wildlife management areas (multi-purpose hunting/fishing grounds) and almost all parks are closed after dark, even for legitimate activities such as stargazing. I gave up on public places here decades ago.

 

I believe much of the harassing, obnoxious progressing to thuggish behavior of certain types when they encounter the lone astronomer, or even a small group in out of the way places at night, may be due to the fact that possession of weapons outside the home by the law-abiding is either banned or heavily frowned upon here, and therefore they risk little by their actions. I notice that when observing in, for example, rural Pennsylvania, where the citizenry is quite often armed to the teeth, the miscreants tend to keep their distance when encountered at night. The beauty of it is that one doesn't necessarily need to have a gun to affect the situation (I don't); it's the idea that one might. Guess it makes a difference to thugs if they think that they might end up in the hospital or morgue over their criminal conduct. It all boils down to mutual respect.

Such a bleak picture you paint.  In essence you seem to be implying that in your country you either do not go to public locales at night, or if you do it is only under the presumption that you may end an interloper's life.  I hope that this is not accurate.

 

 

I am afraid it is in a growing portion of the U.S. It's not safe to observe in most of my area because there's a lot of riff raff and thugs on the roads at night, looking for trouble or to deal drugs. On occasion, one finds more trouble than he can handle, and gets a gleaming granite monument because he provoked the wrong home owner or police officer. It's better to observe from private land, with the owner's permission than take you chances on a publically accessible site. The drunks, druggies, and dangerous people WILL come if you are at a publicly accessible site. That was why I pack a gun when I observe in remote areas. When you are out of cell phone coverage and given the fact remote forests are where foreign drug gangs could be lurking, one cannot be too careful. I always go as part of a group, and everyone goes armed. That is the way folks I know observe at remote, dark sites in Alabama.

 

Taras


Edited by Achernar, 12 August 2014 - 07:49 PM.

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#39 Starman1

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 12:07 AM

I'm glad I live where I live.

When strangers approach at night they most often ask politely if they can take a look or ask how the stargazing is going.

In 51 years of observing, I've only run into trouble once and it was from a fellow amateur astronomer who was so drunk he was knocking everybody's scopes over.

If I felt like I needed a gun at any observing site, I simply wouldn't go there.

It is a very bleak picture you paint.



#40 cwilson

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 12:33 AM

I'm glad I live where I live.

When strangers approach at night they most often ask politely if they can take a look or ask how the stargazing is going.

In 51 years of observing, I've only run into trouble once and it was from a fellow amateur astronomer who was so drunk he was knocking everybody's scopes over.

If I felt like I needed a gun at any observing site, I simply wouldn't go there.

It is a very bleak picture you paint.

 

Drunk? What kinda "star parties" do you guys have out there?  :breakdancing:  :lol:

 

It's unfortunate but true - many rural areas aren't as friendly as they once were. Lot's of people cooking meth and things like that in rural areas these days, and they may see a stranger as either a threat or as an easy target. Whenever possible, I try to observe from private property or some other limited access location.

 

When I'm out observing, I like to "get lost" in the sky and not worry about earthly problems, but it pays to not get so lost in the sky that you aren't keeping an ear and eye open to the possibility of trouble.



#41 sedmondson

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 09:06 AM

One time I was observing in my backyard in a nice suburban neighborhood when I looked up from the scope to see someone standing at the corner of my house watching me. I call out "hey" and he takes off running. He had to have walked between the houses to peer into my backyard like that. I had never thought about safety in my own backyard before that. I live in a rural area now and no one would be able to walk up on me like that; they would be in a car and I would see them coming. So I feel much safer in my rural backyard than in my suburban backyard. I also don't drive to dark sites much anymore since my house is relatively dark.



#42 Tony Flanders

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 09:50 AM

I'm glad I live where I live.
When strangers approach at night they most often ask politely if they can take a look or ask how the stargazing is going.
In 51 years of observing, I've only run into trouble once ...


I think it depends both on where you live and on your attitude. Having grown up in Manhattan in an era when crime rates were much higher than now, I have an instinct for keeping out of trouble in a completely non-combative way.

#43 Mentor

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 06:57 PM

 

I stand corrected, thank you.

 

Sadly no unicorns up here.  We do have Skittles though, although you do have to pay for them, plus 13% tax.

 

I feel free to observe at any local park, schoolyard, or other public place in or around the rather large metropolitan area that I live in ( > Chicago).  Maybe you should consider the move. ;)

 

 I was apparently misinformed regarding the unicorns, but you folks do enjoy a certain peacefulness that is elusive down here, which I do envy. :cool:

 

 

"You are the kindest country in the world. You are like a really nice apartment over a meth lab."

 

- Robin Williams on Canada


Edited by Mentor, 13 August 2014 - 06:58 PM.

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#44 bluesteel

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 01:51 AM

There were no bumps, scurries, scuffs, or squeaks with one of my experiences. Out of the corner of my eye, something darts across the backyard about 30 feet from me. Standing still wondering what just streaked across my field of vision, a second, much slower animal meanders across the yard. A fox! This one was about 20 feet from where I was standing. Another fox saunters by, even closer, then another, this one about 10 feet from me. Next thing I know, one walks up casually behind me, about 5 feet from me. This one was a baby, and once he was within 5 feet from my rear, he realized I was standing there, and hurries off to find the rest of the group. Never have seen so many red foxes walk by in one evening since.

#45 George N

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 10:43 PM

The only time I've ever "called it a night" because of wildlife was the time a lynx killed a deer about 20 yards from where I was observing on the shore of Indian Lake in the Adirondacks near the camp I rent.

 

Bears...... are frequent visitors while at Cherry Springs in PA (4 were at the Cherry Springs Star Party in June) and my Adirondack camp on Indian Lake - but only twice in my south-central NY yard. At the Kopernik Observatory (Vestal, NY) bears and coyotes are around at times. Skunks are frequent, but so far no spraying, the coyotes like to howl across the road from my house.

 

Driving home from Kopernik Observatory at 4 AM can be a problem. One night I had to stop while two bucks fought it out right in the middle of the road. They wouldn't move even when I blew the horn at them. Another time, after imaging one galaxy, it clouded up. On the way home a doe committed suicide by running into the side of my vehicle. I call that image "my $800 galaxy" - because that's what it cost in repairs.



#46 cwilson

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 11:58 PM

The only time I've ever "called it a night" because of wildlife was the time a lynx killed a deer about 20 yards from where I was observing on the shore of Indian Lake in the Adirondacks near the camp I rent.

 

Bears...... are frequent visitors while at Cherry Springs in PA (4 were at the Cherry Springs Star Party in June) and my Adirondack camp on Indian Lake - but only twice in my south-central NY yard. At the Kopernik Observatory (Vestal, NY) bears and coyotes are around at times. Skunks are frequent, but so far no spraying, the coyotes like to howl across the road from my house.

 

Driving home from Kopernik Observatory at 4 AM can be a problem. One night I had to stop while two bucks fought it out right in the middle of the road. They wouldn't move even when I blew the horn at them. Another time, after imaging one galaxy, it clouded up. On the way home a doe committed suicide by running into the side of my vehicle. I call that image "my $800 galaxy" - because that's what it cost in repairs.

 

I'm originally from rural central PA, and bears are very common. We used to have them come up on our back porch at night! Nothing like walking out the back door and suddenly discovering you are not alone! :bigshock:



#47 Achernar

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 05:20 PM

I'm glad I live where I live.

When strangers approach at night they most often ask politely if they can take a look or ask how the stargazing is going.

In 51 years of observing, I've only run into trouble once and it was from a fellow amateur astronomer who was so drunk he was knocking everybody's scopes over.

If I felt like I needed a gun at any observing site, I simply wouldn't go there.

It is a very bleak picture you paint.

 

Then count your blessings if there isn't a very large number of meth-heads, violent illegal aliens, gangs and low-lifes in your area. That is what is in abundance in Alabama. That is why I usually observe with a group, and why I carry a gun when I am in a remote area where help would be a LONG time in coming. Strangers approaching me at night in a rural area more often than not are the kind I do not want for neighbors, but the kind that belongs in jail. Rural Alabama was once a fairly safe place to be. No longer and I suspect it will be the same in your state sooner than later.

 

Taras


Edited by Achernar, 17 August 2014 - 05:23 PM.


#48 Tony Flanders

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 05:50 PM

Rural Alabama was once a fairly safe place to be. No longer and I suspect it will be the same in your state sooner than later.


On average, crime rates in the U.S. have been falling -- though with plenty of ups and downs -- for the last 150 years at least.

The Northeast is much safer now than when I was growing up 40-50 years ago.

#49 tecmage

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 09:57 PM

Are we talking crime, society or things that go bump in the night??

 

Since moving back to Illinois, I've put down grub killer. The yards around here seem to attract Skunks. More than one night, I've pulled into the driveway and seen two to four Skunks running around. One even sprayed my dog a few weeks ago.



#50 ManicSponge

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 03:10 PM

Bats, coyotes, and owls are all welcome guests at our campsite/observing area. The mistake I made, having a curious mind, was buying a LED blacklight, and looking for scorpions. Most people don't think we have them in Washington State, but I can assure you we do. The Googling I have done says "Rare, but may be locally common" Fantastic. We definitely have the "Locally common" variety, where we are. They don't go bump in the night, that I have heard, but they scuttle, and give me an uncontrollable case of the willies. Massive doses of bug killing powder through a spreader, and tons of sticky traps in our camp trailer later, I feel a bit better. Kinda wish I hadn't looked around!

Regards, Kyle








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