[AZ-Observing] Re: Star Party Rules

  • From: "bobe at ngcic.org" <bobe@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 16:17:27 -0700

Arizona Observers,

In my humble opinion, contrary to popular belief, large star party events
are social events, and NOT serious observing events.  Most of my observing
falls in what I define as serious observing.  Because of that, you won't
find me at large star party events if I have an observing list of faint,
obscure objects.

No matter what you do, someone will inadvertently leave their automatic
transmission in 'Park', thereby activating the bright, white backup lights
when the engine is started, even if they are pointing at the exit. (In most
cases this has resulted in the backup lights pointing at me).  Someone will
inadvertently open their trunk, thereby turning on the white interior trunk
lights, even though they deactivated the interior dome light or made it
astronomer 'safe' in some way.  Those things happen amongst the best of
intentioned observers.  They are annoying and result in the loss of some or
all of one's night vision, and there's almost no method of preventing them
in a large, well attended event.

If I'm willing to put up with that, then I attend the star party, and I
don't bring a list of 15th mag UGC galaxies to observe during the course of
the evening.  If not, I go somewhere whose location has not yet been made
public knowledge either via the web, or a magazine article.  Usually its
with a few close observing friends who share the same or greater level of
seriousness that I do.

I won't even go to a well known site where the evening's large star party
event ISN'T being held.  I did this once, and was treated to a rude,
discourteous observer who went to sleep in his auto with the engine running
to keep him warm, even though his late model car has white running lights
turned on whenever the engine is on, and there's no on/off switch to turn
them off.  I've not been back to that site since, and will return only
reluctantly, since it cost me a 2-hour drive from the Phoenix metro area.

In short, there are too many people with too many ways to inadvertently
generate white light at large star parties, no matter how well intentioned
they are - its just the nature of the beast.  When I attend them, I bring a
list of Messier objects I haven't looked at for a few years, set up my
16-inch Dob, and view them, enjoy the conversation, and let it go at that.
I don't do serious observing at large star party events because if I did,
I'd always leave in an angry mood.  I don't like to finish an evening in an
angry mood, so if I'm doing serious observing, I do it from one of my
'private' sites.

Steve Coe is right - astrophotographers and very serious deep sky observers
just don't show up at large star party events, but that's OK too, because
they, by definition, are places where disturbing white light gets
inadvertently or intentionally generated, and the astrophotographers and
serious deep sky folks already know that - That's why they're not there!!

My $0.02 worth.


"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has
endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us
to forgo their use." - Galileo Galilei
Bob Erdmann - Core Team Member & Webmaster
The NGC/IC Project - http://www.ngcic.org
e-mail: bobe@xxxxxxxxx

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