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Neighbors and Binoculars

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#1 nemo

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 07:14 PM

Folks,
I was just wondering if I am alone in the following experience. I have noticed that when I walk around my neighborhood at night with my binoculars that people seem to give me what one might call a rather intense glance. There is a street light right in front of my home so once in a while on a clear night on impulse I will go out with my bino's for a quick peek or two at the night sky. One night just across the street I was doing my thing when I hear a voice from the house behind me say"What are you doing Dan" This was coming from the bed room window of my neighbors house just to my left. I said "Looking at Venus" she said "Really" and I said "yeah" Just then the front door of the same house slammed and here came the husband of said neighbor. He said" what are you doing" and I said "looking at Venus I mean Mars" He said "can I have a look" I said "sure. He looked at me and said "Not very impressive" and I said "Well that depends on your point of view" He shrugged and went back in the house. After this I started walking further away from my house so my immediate neighbors would not be disturbed. This just does not work as if anything it is worse cause now I am a stranger to the folks that see me. I have just about gave up doing any observing around my house least people think that I am looking at more than celestial objects. You would think that I was carrying a gun for all the attention I have got in terms of what direction I am pointing these binoculars.There are no doubt some heavenly things to be seen from my location but it looks like not by me.
Dan
:rainbow:


#2 Tom L

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 10:44 PM

You're probably better off just getting in the car and going to a local park. Neighbors can be really wierd sometimes...

Being in Eugene, I imagine you can get to some pretty dark sites quickly!

#3 Scott Beith

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 11:03 PM

My neighbors don't even blink when I break out the binos. They are so used to me adorning my front yard with strange looking items (telescopes), that they don't even raise an eyebrow. They do occasionally come over to check out the views. The fact that I am law enforcement probably puts them at ease more than the average neighbor with binos. :grin:

Scott

#4 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 11:36 PM

My neighbor tried to have me arrested for watching his wife undress with my Nikon Prostar. They had the nerve to call me a "Peeping Tom", hey I was in my own yard! If she's going to undress in front of the window without closing the blinds, I'm going to look. I'm only human...well just barely.

#5 craig_oz_land

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 03:37 AM

Well if you were charged and the offence was proven then she may be in trouble with the law also. In Australia they have laws against public nakedness and even being seen naked in your dwelling from a public place.

I am sure there would be similiar laws in your country.

But seriously if I am looking through my binoculars in a public place and people give me funny looks I give the funny looks back or ask them what is their problem.

I have had a bit of fun with my telescope on occasions but it is really quite boring compared to looking at the night skys.

My neighbor tried to have me arrested for watching his wife undress with my Nikon Prostar. They had the nerve to call me a "Peeping Tom", hey I was in my own yard! If she's going to undress in front of the window without closing the blinds, I'm going to look. I'm only human...well just barely.



#6 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 08:05 AM

Nemo, I completely understand your situation. Although what happened to you has not happened to me, I think it would if I was to setup my binos out in the open around the house I live in. Luckily, I have a semi-private deck in the back yard. It is not ideal for viewing (trees & houses blocking some views), but I'm not hassled by others. You might consider relocating to better area for you...and unfortunately this might require a sacrifice. Good luck.

#7 BarrySimon615

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 09:20 AM

My bedroom window faces south and is on the 2nd floor so I have a pretty good view to the south of showpiece constellations like Orion, Sagitarrius and Scorpius. My vantage also has a commanding view of one neighbor's swimming pool plus two additional backyards and a kitchen picture window. I am quite aware that if anyone is looking back they could misinterpret my intentions. So far, however, I have had no problems.

When observing from the driveway, anyone passing, if they are sufficiently dark adapted, can see me. On occasion I have had the neighborhood security patrol car slow down and shout out a "Are you alright?" just to check. On one occasion 4 or 5 months ago, I was about 50 yards into a park near home with a camera set up on a tripod in hopes of seeing and photographing the aurora. One neighbor walking a dog, saw me lurking in the shadows and called neighborhood security. When the security service arrived I shouted out what I was doing and everything was ok.

Maybe a bi-fold billboard with "Amateur Astronomer at Work" in red blinking lights would be in order?

Barry Simon

#8 rboe

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 09:20 AM

It is the norm here in the Southwest to have fenced in yards - block fence no less - about 5-6 feet high. Pretty much keeps what you and your neighbors are doing their own business. Which is usually a good thing since some of these yards look like land fills (when you're on the roof repairing the cooler you see these things).

Perhaps you need a dedicated viewing chair so it looks pretty obvious what you're doing.

#9 Bill Grass

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 09:42 AM

My neighbor tried to have me arrested for watching his wife undress with my Nikon Prostar. They had the nerve to call me a "Peeping Tom", hey I was in my own yard! If she's going to undress in front of the window without closing the blinds, I'm going to look. I'm only human...well just barely.

:roflmao: :lol:

I haven't had any run-ins with my neighbors. I think they all go inside after dark! :grin: Well, most of them do. I have some neighbors across the street who love to get in their car, drive away, come back 3 minutes later, get out but leave the lights on & engine running, get back in the car, drive away again, return 4 minutes later, etc., etc. Then their garage telephone rings. And it rings again. And again. And again. And I love their motion sensor floodlight that shines into their front yard (and me across the street)! :flame:

Okay, I strayed waaayy off topic here.

#10 nemo

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 12:25 PM

Barry,
You know the billboard idea is actually pretty good. I may just try it out. I have a full service all season camper with all the goodies(110 generator, frig, microwave, shower etc) on a 4w 1ton P/U. I use this to go most anywhere for viewing when I am physically able. Because of the poor seeing in my home area I have never brought out my large equipment so the neighbors are more or less unaware of my hobby. Thanks for the advice as I may well put together something along the lines of the Billboard idea.
Dan

#11 desertstars

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 12:42 PM

Because I have other interests that some people find odd, I've tried to get better acquainted with the neighbors. I've had the police hassle me about birdwatching and collecting plants growing in alleys and on street corners, so I've learned to make it a point to be known as "that guy with the weird hobbies.

It's funny; binoculars have gotten me some pointed looks and a few calls to the police (who were fortunately reasonable people), but all the telescope does in incite curiosity.

#12 Tom L

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 01:47 PM

I guess people are able to understand what you are doing with a telescope, not so with binoculars. My culdesac does not have any bedrooms facing out on the street and I am for ever in my driveway with both scopes. People know what I'm up to (and they still leave there darned front lights on! :mad: )

Nemo...If I had that rig, I would be at Crescent Lake every weekend! You are soo close to getting on the other side of the Cascades and dark, dark skies!

#13 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 02:05 PM

I've learned to make it a point to be known as "that guy with the weird hobbies.


Living in a typical west coast suburban neighborhood (houses closely spaced, small front/back yards, 6 foot fence), it's pretty easy to tell what your neighbors are up to...even without binoculars :o That's why I, too, make it a point that everyone KNOWS what I'm doing rather than have them try to GUESS what I'm doing based on the sounds/smells/smoke/screaming that they observe coming from my garage. It helps to keep them from jumping to the wrong conclusions.

I have some neighbors across the street who love to get in their car, drive away, come back 3 minutes later, get out but leave the lights on & engine running, get back in the car, drive away again, return 4 minutes later, etc., etc. Then their garage telephone rings. And it rings again. And again. And again. And I love their motion sensor floodlight that shines into their front yard (and me across the street)!


I had kinda the same thing next door, but it was with STRANGERS showing up in the middle of the night and going to the neighbors front door and then returning to their vehicles moments later and drive off. This would happen repeatedly all night long. Funny thing is, that once I started showing up in my front yard in the middle of the night armed with a pair of Obie 15x70s, the neighbor's nocternal traffic tapered off and finally quit all together. Soon after they sold their house and moved. What's up with that?? :grin: I guess in my neighbors case, that the Obie's were far more powerful than the stated 15x!

As a side note, it freaks me out when I go back to Ohio to visit my family. They have no fences. You can't help but be drawn in to the drama unfolding in your neighbors houses.

Anyhoo, cheers to all,
Eric

#14 Rusty

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 02:25 PM

I've just let it drop in idle conversation that both my psychaitrist and parole office agree it's not a good idea to get me upset.... :crazy:

#15 EdZ

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 03:30 PM

Twice a year, spring and fall, I print about 25-30 leaflets And go up and down the road and stuff mail boxes for about 1/2 - 3/4 mile in each direction. I invite all the families to bring their kids up to my yard for a Friday or Saturday night on that weekend to do astronomy. I usually get 20 or so people. Now there is nobody left that doesn't know what I'm doing and a lot of the neighborhood kids see me at the pizza stroe and call me the astronomy guy. I've been doin this ever since i met up with Cloudy Nights.

edz

#16 Scott Beith

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 05:14 PM

Eric,
Great story - with a happy ending. :grin:

I guess your neighbors weren't into astronomy... :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:

Scott

#17 rboe

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 06:20 PM

I've just let it drop in idle conversation that both my psychaitrist and parole office agree it's not a good idea to get me upset.... :crazy:


That is just plain cruel. Can I borrow it?

#18 desertstars

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 06:23 PM

Eric,
Great story - with a happy ending. :grin:
I guess your neighbors weren't into astronomy... :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:
Scott


Gee, wonder what they could have been up to that thinking someone was watching them at night would make them nervous... :question:

#19 Scott Beith

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 07:14 PM

:shrug: :lol:

Scott

#20 Rusty

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 09:49 PM

I've just let it drop in idle conversation that both my psychaitrist and parole office agree it's not a good idea to get me upset.... :crazy:


That is just plain cruel. Can I borrow it?


Of course...it won't upset me... :p

#21 edcannon

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 10:10 PM

I live in an apartment with no yard and a terribly light-polluted parking lot, so when I don't get to the suburbs I walk a couple of blocks to the grounds of a small museum. There I've been questioned twice by police officers, but each time my Bright Star Atlas 2000 seemed to be enough evidence to them that I was not engaged in any mischief.

Ed Cannon - Austin, Texas, USA

#22 Fiske

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 10:35 PM

Can't say I've ever had any complaints from the neighbors. Of course, Samba (avatar pic), a frequent observing companion, might have something to do with that. (Don't get too many folks wandering over to take a peek, either.)

#23 Pat Bohlinger

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 11:31 AM

Hi everyone,

Ex-lurker, new member, still can’t find my own butt in the dark - but I am learning, thanks to you guys.

This is a subject that affects probably everyone in this hobby from time to time and I am certain that most folks are clueless when it comes to dousing their porch lights, pulling their blinds, etc. My momma must’ve raised me right to empathize with the concerns of others wondering what that shadowy man is doing outside with those big-friend binoculars.

Just the same we’re in a difficult hobby at best. With the time change to Daylight Savings it’ll soon be 11:30 – midnight before getting dark here in west Michigan, most parks close by 10:00 and we’re always at risk from crazed crack heads while “lost in the eyepiece.” Then there are the nosey/freaked out neighbors to content with.

I love EdZ’s approach to inviting the neighbors so they know what he’s doing. I’ve had that backfire when neighbors spotted me out and started hanging out, thinking I needed the company.

I’ve considered contacting someone in my local government to get a permit of sorts, just for legitimacy sake, so that I could hang out after-hours in an otherwise perfectly suited park away from lighted windows, porch lights, suspicious neighbors and pupil-squeezing headlights.

I have serious doubts any non-astronomer would understand the need for a quiet, reasonably secure, dark place to enjoy our hobby, but it may be worth a try.

#24 Fiske

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 11:37 AM

Pat:

You should check out astronomy clubs in the Grand Rapids area. Clubs are the best way to find good observing sites and have a lot of fun observing.

Also, a trusty Rottweiler is a pretty effective solution to observing in peace in your own backyard. (I swapped out Samba's picture some time back -- didn't seem quite friendly enough on the forum.) :)

#25 b1gred

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 05:46 PM

This is a great thread. And it's not just binoculars that raise attention. When I first got my GPS 9.25, I set it up on the back deck, just to get some starlight into it and play. About 45 minutes after I set it up (note: it was pointed UP at about a 40 degree angle most of the evening), I got a visit from the local constabulary because they had a complaint that I was "attempting to look in the window of the 6 year old girl" that lives next door. It took about 30 minutes of discussing this with the police and another 20 explaining it to the neighbor who complained.

At the end of all this, I was "advised" by the patrolman that it is probably "unwise" for me to setup my scope where my neighbors might mistake my intentions. Those are the words he said, his meaning was much more clear - "Don't use your scope around the neighborhood."

Are people really THAT paranoid? Now I rarely use my scope at home, when I do, I do it in the driveway so everyone can see me clearly.

Some day I'm moving WAY out into the mountains.


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