Bloody Coppers!

Discuss the greatest threat to amateur astronomy today

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HippyChippy
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Bloody Coppers!

Post by HippyChippy »

Set my alarm for 3.30 a.m. in a effort to see some stars, and hoping for the predicted gap in the clouds. Pretty clear, so whipped the scope outside and got togged up while a pot of coffee brewed. I've recently updated the Autostar handset but since I haven't yet trained the drives etc. was just using the ETX by hand.

Ah Saturn, bliss. Low and wobbly, but a real feast for astronomy starved eyes nonetheless. Damn, a car's driving up the lane, so I turned my back and covered my eyes 'till the lights passed. Ah, Saturn at a higher mag'... bliss. It's a race between Saturn rising higher for a better view, versus the approach of dawn light.

The ETX is murder to use by hand. Car coming back down the lane. Saturn fixed in the middle of the E.P. at last, now for a good long look as soon as that car passes... FLOODLIGHTS.

The car was a police car with a searchlight in top, plus full beam head-lights. Guess I must have appeared suspicious - wrapped up warm with a mug of coffee, and looking through a telescope in my garden, just by my front door! He kept the searchlight on me as I strode towards the front gate, and by then I was blinded and swearing loudly about the spotlight. He "...just wanted to check everything was alright sir".

Taking the long view I suppose I should be grateful, but now my retina's are burnt out and I've been cheated of my view of Saturn, I've packed-up and come indoors to write a grumpy posting instead. Rant, rage, fume.

Phew that's better, I've 'lightened up' already and really can't wait to go to work! Thanks folks :)

carlos dfc
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Post by carlos dfc »

Haha - Know the feeling.

I've been buzzed by a Police helicopter a few times
Once while out at my fave dark spot I got the full 'Searchlight' treatment - it even appeared to be landing, then the light went off, and they went on their merry way, also had a couple of 'fly-overs' at the same spot.
Then last General Election night, while in my back garden, a chopper flew over, had a look, then flew off - a few mins later a couple of bobbys turned up 'just to check'.
Well - I do live in the town where the Sedgefield election results are announced - and Tony Blair was in the recreation centre, about a mile away - so I suppose, bloke in a garden, with a big tube on a stand - they had to check that one out. :lol:
C8 'classic' SCT - 150mm newt - 90mm Mak (grab'n'go) - 10" ATM Dob (W.I.P.)
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Praesepe
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Post by Praesepe »

Someone I knew had the police checking him out while he was observing in a field near his home.
He ended up showing them Saturn.
Many a night I saw the Pleiades , rising thro' the mellow shade , glitter like a swarm of fireflies tangled in a silver braid

velvetslayer
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Post by velvetslayer »

Why is it that someone standing in there own back garden can look suspicious, blummin aiders!

Where i live we dont have that much light pollution, and on a clear night i can get to see thousands of stars, it doesnt look real sometimes.

Scipios
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Post by Scipios »

My brother's a copper and so we occasionally get police cars stopped outside. Once we had a police horse parked in the front garden. But anyway, light pollution where I live in Hull is pretty abysmal some nights. I'm right in the middle and trying to take photos can be a huge problem.

Auriga
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Post by Auriga »

Praesepe wrote:Someone I knew had the police checking him out while he was observing in a field near his home.
He ended up showing them Saturn.

LMAO, Glad to know this hasnt only happened to me then.

There was a good spot round our back garden, And one night me and my friend had a police helicopter above us shinning it's Beep Beeping search light on us. Do we really look that suspicious with a telescope ?

Cant catch crooks, but we can find astronomers, lol

RL Astro
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Post by RL Astro »

For starters I would just like to kindly ask everyone not to air their opinions of the police if they're negative opinions. The police don't know it's your house when they see you. If it was a burglar and they just assumed it was someone out stargazing you'd have steam coming out your ears when you found out the police saw him but left him.
But I've only ever been bothered by curious cats whilst out in my garden. They just sit on the fence blocking the view of Saturn :D

HippyChippy
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Post by HippyChippy »

Hmm... thanks RL Astro.

Whilst I did qualify my rant by noting
Taking the long view I suppose I should be grateful...

the fact is that I've had far too many observing sessions needlessly spoilt by the Boys in Blue, and will therefore continue to post as I wish.

To date I've been quite a successful 'astronomy ambassador' when hassled by the police at dark sites - no excuse of burglars there - and one even decided to buy a small scope for the squad car. The fact is that I was needlessly dazzled by a bored copper with nothing better to do than play with his new searchlight, and I reacted unfavourably. Of course, I'm hugely in favour of genuine efforts to stop folks having their 'scopes stolen from garden sheds etc. but this episode was utterly pointless.

What's wrong with fair criticism of the police? And* are you really suggesting burglars go out 'tooled-up' with telescopes and mugs of coffee in order to fool a passing Rozzer?

Anyway, we shoot burglars round here :lol:** ...that's how I can safely leave my 'scopes out the front in the first place.

* It's grammatically acceptable these days. (sigh)
**Joke.

RL Astro
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Post by RL Astro »

HippyChippy wrote:The fact is that I was needlessly dazzled by a bored copper with nothing better to do than play with his new searchlight
Well in all fairness there was a dark figure at the front of a house at 3am. It's the polices job to check up on it. Their job is protection of life and property after all.
Anyway I don't want to go into a dispute about the police. I just get offended when people insult them that's all. I don't mind if you don't like the police and say so but you make the assumption he was a "bored copper with nothing better to do than play with his new searchlight" when in actual fact he was keeping your house safe from unwanted visitors.

Happy viewing nonetheless!
Regards
RL Astro

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