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Observing >> Deep Sky Observing

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azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: Madratter]
      #5653450 - 01/31/13 12:00 AM

Almost always alone but a cool neighbor drops in now and again. I love it - her enthusiasm is wild and reminds me how special the pursuit truly is. This summer I want my daughter to have more ocular time.

Ralph - hope your buddies don't read that post!!!!!

Pete


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ErixAdministrator
Toad Lily
*****

Reged: 12/25/04

Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5655372 - 02/01/13 12:07 AM

Quote:

...her enthusiasm is wild and reminds me how special the pursuit truly is. ..!

Pete




This is one of the things I love most when sharing the views with others.


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star drop
contra contrail
*****

Reged: 02/02/08

Loc: Snow Plop, WNY
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: Erix]
      #5655397 - 02/01/13 12:41 AM

I have observed alone for years, all of it within seventy five feet of our house or closer. Since joining Cloudy Nights I have had an observing buddy much of the time.

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Gary Riley
sage


Reged: 12/01/11

Loc: White Bluff, TN
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: star drop]
      #5655450 - 02/01/13 01:28 AM

I generally observe by myself.

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WaterMasterAdministrator
Moat Keeper
*****

Reged: 02/17/10

Loc: Southeast Idaho, USA
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: Gary Riley]
      #5655484 - 02/01/13 01:56 AM

I enjoy observing with others a few times a year at star parties, but a major part of this hobby for me is solitude.

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jeff heck
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/16/06

Loc: stl,mo.
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: WaterMaster]
      #5656624 - 02/01/13 03:51 PM

The more the merrier I always say, but a night of solitude under the stars ranks high on my list of favorite things.

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Old Rookie
sage


Reged: 09/05/08

Loc: North Central Ohio
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: aa6ww]
      #5656880 - 02/01/13 06:03 PM

I can focus more when only 2 or 3 friends are around observing also. More than that like on a club night and it's a waste of time. A lot of our members like to look through the larger scopes when someone else is driving. I don't mind spending a little time providing views but before I know it, I've blown a couple of hours on some Messiers rather than going deep off of some list. I only observe two or three times a month so my observing time is valuable to me. As for the safety factor, one does what one can to be prepared.

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IVM
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/07/08

Loc: Western New York
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: Old Rookie]
      #5657207 - 02/01/13 09:54 PM

Interesting thread.

My sites Spruce Knob (WV) and Cherry Springs (PA) are civilized compared with what I hear about desert and western mountain sites. There are some black bears roaming around at night and an occasional rowdy company (rarely). The drunks never actually molested me and with my experience I judged them totally innocuous if distracting; the bears seem far less predictable. In a sense it is a decision being alone at night in such areas, because as a biologist I think that chances of effectively resisting a deliberate, predatory nighttime bear attack (this is different from a daytime attack that for the bear is usually a knee-jerk reaction to a human intruder) are slim regardless of what you pack. The fact that nothing like that has happened here probably in the last 100 years does not bring solace considering that it may simply reflect the fact that nobody here has been out alone after dark. I don't remember when I last developed real jitters, although it surely did happen when I started some years ago. The solution then was to play Herschel's music, at some volume. This was not so much to keep the wildlife at bay - music theoretically cuts both ways in this regard - as to drown out the paranoia-inducing sounds of the night forest and to feel better just from asserting my presence.

I enjoy solitude, and on other occasions I enjoy having a few serious observers (or at least quiet campers) around. I am less often alone now that there is another dedicated amateur observing at my site even off-season. We talk and share views a couple times a night, and that is great.


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azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: IVM]
      #5657305 - 02/01/13 10:42 PM

Oh I agree - music , radio etc. even the news is actually rather relaxing. There's a different pace about those nights in the removed areas. I've got the cautious thing too but more for humans and inquisitive troopers. I find that locating a truly undisturbed spot is in competition with drunks and lovers lane. I never kno if I truly found the right spot or I'm due for an intrusion. The police are friendly always though - lol - even at 3am.

Pete

Edited by azure1961p (02/01/13 10:45 PM)


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Astro One
member
*****

Reged: 02/20/13

Loc: San Bernardino County, CA.
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: aa6ww]
      #5723074 - 03/09/13 10:11 PM

Generally alone. About 30% of the time with others. I do this in remote desert locations in California. At my house there is lots of LP and with a small back yard there isn't a decent view of the sky. I admire the guy in Sacramento that has his back yard beautifully set up! The posts here have been very interesting reading, and I've learned some things. I'd love to have one or two readily available observing friends. I do belong to a local club and get out with fellow club members occasionally. Problem with this for me is my local observing friends are often only available on Friday or Saturday nights. As I am retired and can go on any night I often go alone. In fact, tomorrow I am leaving for three nights at Eureka Dunes in Death Valley. I am all packed except my ice chest. Yes, it is a bit risky but I go well prepared. In my past I've done a lot of backpacking and some of it alone, I always prefer company but not enough to go to a big campground with the potential of local LP, like RV'ers who want to burn an outside light all night long and walk around with white light flashlights. This trip to Eureka Dunes is pretty exciting to me, I have been to Mahogany Flats, also in Death Valley, numerous times, but the Eureka Dunes are in a black zone, rather than gray. Also, I plan to hike to the top of the dunes. About the only non-human predators in our desert areas are the rattlesnakes and scorpions, and they aren't out until the weather warms up. People are generally more dangerous than the flora and fauna. I love the solitude of being out alone, but if your reading this and live in my area don't hesitate to contact me.
Steve


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Kraus
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/10/12

Loc: Georgia.
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: Astro One]
      #5723642 - 03/10/13 10:54 AM


Usually just me and Big Bertha. I've really not met anyone interested or knowledgeable in the night sky.


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russell23
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/31/09

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: Kraus]
      #5723835 - 03/10/13 12:33 PM

I always observe alone from my rural backyard. I teach, coach basketball, and have a wife and 4 daughters. Anytime I'm out in the backyard observing by myself is a rare moment of peaceful quiet in my life.

If I want to talk about observing or equipment I can come here.

My worst wildlife encounter has been with a possom scrabbling around only 5 feet behind where I was sitting - not a real problem since they slip under the nearest object and hide there for hours on end if you scare them. There are some blackbears and coyotes that wander through the back of our 20 acres at times so I do avoid observing back there because our property slopes up and flattens out of sight of the house and frankly it is a bit creepy hearing the coyote pack only 100 yards away. The properties adjacent to ours back there are hundreds of acres of forest and fields.

Dave


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Mta472
super member


Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: CT
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: aa6ww]
      #5724048 - 03/10/13 02:45 PM

Since I live alone w my bull dog, I generally observe alone. I have a Meade 12 inch SCT and I am 65 y.o.,,,,
so I built a plywood, triangular platform for it with 4 inch LOCKABLE brake wheels underneath.
WHY lockable wheels?
I keep the big boy in my garage and wheel it out onto a DOWNHILL driveway. Then lock all three wheels before I release hand grip and THEN ITS OFF TO SEE THE STARS!!!

2009 was a GREAT year from light polluted CT where I live.

I have monthly charts + in 2009 I saw 141 different galaxies!!!

OH WHAT A YEAR THAT WAS.

God was kind with weather He gave me ALL year.

KEEP lookin up.... ole Mike


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DarkSkys
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 10/11/10

Loc: In the dark desert of Eastern ...
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: Mta472]
      #5725264 - 03/11/13 05:41 AM

I try and get my family to come out and observe with me when I'm home, but it's 90% alone/10% group at home.

I've yet to go observeing away from home alone.The general area I live in, might not be that safe for the lone person at night. :/

I like going to star party's for the darker skies and company mainly, It's about the only time I get to talk to people with this hobby.


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starquake
sage


Reged: 02/02/08

Loc: Nádasdladány
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: DarkSkys]
      #5727414 - 03/12/13 03:52 AM

In about 99% of my observing time I observe alone either at my backyard with a sky generally better than 6m, or at our cottage in a starry sky park with a sky about 6.5m or better. The rest of the case I usually observe with others during star parties, or whenever an astro buddy comes for a visit - but thats pretty rare, I'm not a social type of guy. So I prefer to be alone and observe what I want for as long as I want, and not to be disrupted by others. On the other hand I love to show others the less known wonders of deep sky, and actually I have learned a lot even from beginners about objects I've never observed before. I've even started some observing projects based on these inspirations I got from them - eg. my colourful star project.

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DJCalma
member


Reged: 01/17/13

Loc: Northern California
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: starquake]
      #5728241 - 03/12/13 02:02 PM

Most of my observing is at home by myself in my "orange zone" skies. Observing with others at star parties once in a while is a lot of fun. Swapping eyepieces, sharing views through various scopes, and just talking about all things astro. However, even though the skies at the star parties I attend are fairly dark (blue and grey zones) I get more serious observing done at home. I feel that having a balance of observing alone, and with friends is a good idea.

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Jeff Lee
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/17/06

Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: DJCalma]
      #5729075 - 03/12/13 09:37 PM

I normally view with the club at members only star parties, and at a state park that allows us to get permits to use the day use areas after dark.

I don't carry at the park, but when I'm camping, even with the club I do. Just a few weeks ago my brother was walking his dog where we've viewed (normally its humans that are trouble), and on the way back to the car he found cougar tracks that had tracked him and his dog for a half mile (that cougar was very lucky, my brother is a decorated combat veteran who has a CC permit and a .40 SW with a 22 shoot clip), but 10 or 15 miles into the sticks here you should be prepared.

I like the folks in the club and the majority of my viewing time is 5 to 8 multiple day club star parties where 5 to 8 hours of viewing (we just did a March multiday) over 20 some days is enough for me.

I have a large wooded lot near a state park and in the last several year the Coyotes have started to have packs like out in the sticks. They often move along my creek and into my yard, many have shown no fear. I will not shoot them if I don't feel a threat but seeing two or three I also feel better knowing the +P hydroshocks would be a game changer. I've had to throw rocks in the daylight to keep them from coming down my driveway.

Edited by Jeff Lee (03/12/13 10:15 PM)


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aatt
sage


Reged: 07/26/12

Loc: CT
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: Jeff Lee]
      #5732518 - 03/14/13 04:27 PM

I generally observe alone in my backyard.Solo under the stars can be a sublime communion with oneself and the universe. I have not really taken my scope out to dark sites very often, but when I have, it has been in a state park or a vacation rental where security has not been a great concern.We have coyotes around in my area but I don't consider them a threat-I'm more afraid of the skunks that amble through from time to time.I AM looking for a good dark site to frequent and safety from people is a factor to consider.I might take a small metal baseball bat for general defense (human and otherwise) in a remote site as I don't do the gun thing.If someone else is packing then a bat might not make much difference or having heat might not either if you are taken off guard as you are glued to the eyepiece...If you are going solo I guess you have to rely on common sense, your own abilities to calmly handle "situations", doing a careful evaluation of the site, having an exit plan and that sense that goes beyond the normal five.Overall, in most locales, the likelihood of a dangerous encounter is generally very low.I have camped and hiked solo in many areas for many years and have very rarely run into people and the ones I have run into have been fine.A couple of years ago a crazy neighbor shot another neighbor with no real provocation in his own 2 acre backyard several houses down-a remote site might be actually be safer than the burbs!

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zee
super member


Reged: 07/04/07

Loc: Arizona (varies)
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: aatt]
      #5733241 - 03/14/13 11:24 PM

usually alone. I've found that if I'm going to show people things, they respond best to Saturn, next best to open clusters. I've not found someone interested in staring for five minutes, though I've encouraged that.

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skyquest25
member


Reged: 08/22/12

Loc: United States
Re: Do you generally observe alone or with friends? new [Re: zee]
      #5733808 - 03/15/13 10:26 AM

I like to observe with friends who have an agenda for observing. Don't much care for the astronomer types that like to stand around talking while their scope just sits there. I don't mind observing on my own and do so frequently, it kinda goes with the territory.

I will say that even when observing with friends, it isn't much different as everyone is usually focused properly and you start to forget they are even there. But sure is nice when you want to discuss something your seeing or you both are observing the same object and you can study it under different scopes, eyepieces, etc...


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