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How Safe is Your Observing Site

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How safe is your observing site from animals, humans etc.

My dark sky site is safe, out of the way from from any trouble-makers and haven't come across any dangerous animals, it is dry and very hot in summer, and frigid in winter. So far the scariest thing I experienced there was Kangaroos messing about in the distance.

My dark site doesn't get mosquitoes, but the flies during daylight hours are a disaster.

My home site though, I will not observe from there. Forget it, especially form Oct to May. The massive overhanging gum trees deposit all kinds of crap, from leaves to this black stuff, don't want any this on my mirrors. And on more than one occasion, I have seen Eastern Brown Snakes, the second deadliest snake in the world, move around my front yard. My parents 2 doors down saw not one but 2 snakes peeking onto their property recently. In the warmer months, the bugs are plain insane, there is no hope, the mosquitoes and bugs are in plague proportions, to the extent where you have to cover your flyscreened doors and windows with your curtains and shut off all interior lights. The deadliest snakes in the world here are an actual threat, i heard horror stories from the locals and have seen these freaking snakes right outside my door myself.

This is in addition to the mosquitos and bugs at home, which are just insane. The word "insane" is not even close to expressing the annual mosquito and bug plague here at my home.

Lance Soto:
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the most dangerous site in North America is nothing compared to your sites in Australia in terms of natural dangers. Humans are easily the most dangerous animal in the United States and even then they don't usually hang out at dark sites. There was a post on CN a couple of days ago from a guy who rolled his car on the way home from observing. I, and many others, have commented often that the drive is the most dangerous part of any dark site observing trip. I'd guess you are unique in that the drive makes your observing safer. Watch those snakes.

Kyle Wood:
My dark sky site is quite safe, despite being about 20 miles from a state penitentiary. Even most of the locals don't know about us. The site is gated with similar style gates everyone else uses and we have no signs posted except during observing nights so people can find the place. We have a two story dome observatory that sits on a bluff but the area is fairly wooded so you can't see it from the road. We seem to be the area's best kept secret. Only critters we have to worry about is rattlers, scorpions, black widows and brown recluses. The deer are suicidal as you drive to and from the site.

At home it's a similar situation as I live in a rural area. At night, if I didn't have my lights on inside the house (I have no working lights outside), you would never know a house was there. It's set back from the road on 2 acres of land and secluded from the neighbors by a wall of trees that surround the edge of the property. I have no problems leaving my gear outside the front lawn for weeks at a time when the weather is good and know it will still be there when I get home from work. The county sheriff lives just down the street from me and I know all my neighbors. Since I live in a rural area, and just 40 minutes from my club's dark site, I have to deal with the same critters coming around. The deer are somewhat docile as the neighbors all have feeders set up. I once had a herd of about 8 deer come through while I was observing one night as they made their rounds going from feeder to feeder.

Myron Apostolics:
Wild boars are the most common danger. They can be very aggresive and fast!

My dark sky site is fenced and private. It is in rattle snake territory but they're pretty much live and let live, the terrain is natural and I've never seen one there. There are tarantula spiders, they're scary looking but not seriously harmful.

Probably the most dangerous are the black widow spiders. They build their webs in the garage and pumphouse.

Mosquitos and flying insects are extremely rare.

Our home in the city is similar.. no flying bugs, few spiders..



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