[AZ-Observing] Re: Star Party Rules

  • From: Russell Chmela~ <rchmela@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 13:01:24 -0700

  Steve , and AZ observers:
    There are always people who do not know these basics, because they
 are new to the hobby or are just visiting or are a somewhat more experienced
 observer who has had thier night vision or photo blitzed and have decided
 not to care anymore. It requires someone who invites others to regular or
 special events to tell the newcomer about light precautions. Anyone who is
 in a don't care frame of mind should get some consideration for others.
 I have not been perfect in past on this and will try and do it better.
    Here's some ideas I have had, or have seen at various star events and
 have been to a lot of them all over the US. 
    Use the clock to advantage, basic idea is that the ten minutes at the
 top of the hour or at the half hour are reserved for people to start up and
 leave in thier cars. This way, anyone who wants night vision undisturbed
 can close thier eyes for a few minutes or visit the bushes, whatever. This
 would have to be in the form of a handout sheet , as it would not be well
 perceived to have a cordon placed over the exit(s) for the bulk of the
 hour. At one convention I used to attend in the midwest it went this way,
 anyone getting ready to start up and leave will give three short (emphasis
 SHORT) blasts of thier car horn before doing, giving several seconds after
 the sounds before the start up. At this same event, it was emphasized that
 people were REQUIRED to use thier parking lights at least and not drive 
 in dark because of the potential for a accident (they had a tent, fortunately
 unoccupied, run over!). I worry much more about people trying to stealth out
 of the sites I observe at than laying out too much light. I actually get 
 a bit defensive and place my van so it will take any hit from someone not
 navigating the dark well instead of me or my scope.
    Another is WHERE people park. I was at the far south end of the All AZ.
 site this weekend because I knew it would be a all nighter. When at Vekol
 I tend to go to 1 or 2 am and park nearer the road and don't go back into
 the site so deep. I had no trouble this weekend because I was at the back
 end. Sometimes this may mean that you can't set up next to your favorite
 group because you are leaving earlier. A possibility at either Vekol or 
 at Sentinel is to use multiple sites. At Vekol there is a site that goes
 off to the right just some 100 yards or so after the BLM sign. Back about 
 some 1000 feet is a clearing for some 8 or 10 cars. Maybe it would be the
 thing to have all nighters use the EVAC site some 2 miles down the
 dirt road and the half nighters to use this other site closer to the main 
 paved road. At Sentinel there are some other turn offs before that last 
 curve to the regular site, and any lights from the one will not get the
 other, the furthest back site is for an all night stay.
    This may not go over big as with most Americans, amateur astronomers
 do not like being told where they can park. But its just an idea.
 It would only apply to the new moon night, as most leave on the last
 quarter weekends at moonrise.
    There is no excuse for dome lights, as they can be covered, shut off
 or given red tinted lamps. Computer monitors are a problem, but the
 fortunate thing is most laptops fade out if you are not looking at one
 on center and close up. I would just recommend that when not in use they
 be turned off or the display folded down. Have a black screen saver!
    I don't know if a big turnout star party is ever a good place for the
 astro imagers, its just too iffy. Maybe at least we can make it a good
 compromise for the hardcore visual observers to do some useful viewing.
 How long is the typcal astrophoto or deep CCD image anyway? I have heard
 that most CCD users make multiple exposures of just a few minutes duration
 True? not?
    I know some will raise the idea about car horns, big shouts or bull 
 horns disturbing those napping (I take a 2 hr snooze on most all night
 events). Personally as a lighter sleeper, the noise from the coyote 
 choir or the crowd when a meteor comes by is enough to jar awake. I 
 just understand that at a star event, sleep is optional and not guaranteed.
  Thats all I have.
 As Rick said....it just seems like something to put up with if you are at a 
site with lots of people.  I think that we need to change that.

Already we have chased all the long exposure astrophotographers away from any 
type of star party that involves lots of people.  They have learned that 
ingnorant folks are going to mess up a long exposure with headlights or the 
interior lights from their vehicles.

I would be willing to say that the times I have attended large Arizona 
gathering, I don't take a list of very faint deep sky objects because I know 
that this type of list will be tough to complete.  I dearly love to meet and 
chat with observers from all around the world, but this problem is not going 
to help.

So, let's be creative here.  Yes, I have already thought of all types of 
violent things we could do to the perpetrators of light splash.  We are big 
enough to get past that.

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