How to best assist handicapped viewers
Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:41 PM
In the past I have been fortunate enough to be able to share the view with a nice woman in a wheelchair who came out to the park in our area. She just emailed me and stated she would be out tonight for the meteors.
In the past I have showed her the view through my wedge mounted LX200. I was planning on using my F5 refractor on my EQ-6 this time, maybe mostly pointed up at Jupiter. I think she would have no trouble viewing a few things, especially near zenith.
Does anyone have any other advice for making the experience better for her? Last time she looked through my scope she was super excited and happy, she never expected to be able to do that, and maintaining that enthusiasm would be great.
Thanks in advance,
Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:13 PM
Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:49 PM
K W TONG
C8+CG5 GT, TSA102+HEQ5 PRO, MK67+Voyager, NexStar 6SE, C5+Mizar K, WO ZS80FD+Kenko NES, Megrez 72FD+Kenko KDS, Mini Borg 50, PST
Posted 14 December 2012 - 12:15 AM
Posted 20 December 2012 - 01:52 PM
Posted 25 December 2012 - 01:39 AM
Posted 27 December 2012 - 09:28 AM
I find most handicapped people have no problem observing through my 8" dob. It is usually a better height for them than the tripod mounts.
My dob is a 12", I can imagine for some objects it would be pretty easy, butshe had a bit of trouble leaning over close enough to see out of another dob that was there.
However, she did enjoy the meteor shower, and some views from a my refractor and some other scopes there.
Posted 10 March 2013 - 06:30 PM
A few years back I was invited to do a star viewing night at a childrens' paliative care hospital here in Sydney. I was warned that it could be confronting for a new comer to this special place as just about all the kids there are in wheelchairs. What greeted me was most unexpected.
I took two scopes with me, my 17.5" dob and my little C5 on its wedge. I also took my modified webcam and laptop as I had a hunch it could come in useful.
At the hospital I found that not only were all the young patients wheelchair bound, but that of the 7 or 8 who were there that night, only one of them would have had ANY chance of looking into an eyepiece. And it would have been achievable only with great difficulty.
The hero here is the little webcam. Coupled to the C5, it gave all the kids a real viewing experience. As the scope moved so did the image. As you focused, the image altered. As Saturn came into view, the joy in their voices is something I'll never, ever will forget. The 17.5" scope didn't even get assembled and not once was it even considered. What that little C5/webcam combinatiion offered no amount of aperture grunt could.
This single experience showed me the value of video astronomy. Not only to people with mobility difficulties, but even for novices in light polluted areas. Under an urban sky there is no way for a novice to view a galaxy, or to begin to come to terms with averted vision in a one minute look with 30 other people behind them. Even a bright nebula like M42, most people will find it difficult to make out much actual detail as viewing dim DSO's is an acquired skill.
If mobility is not an issue with the crowd that's attending, I now take two scopes, one for straight visual as everyone wants to look through a scope, and one for video. The video scope is only a little 80mm refractor, but that actually has enough grunt! If mobility is a factor, then it's just the video scope.
The camera I have now is a dedicated astronomy video camera - the webcam I used was only capable of showing the Moon and planets. The video camera with the 80mm refractor I have can show colour in M42, resolve into thousands of little stars a large globular cluster. It can show bright galaxies too like the Sombrero and M31.
Astrophotography is not my thing. Sketching at the eyepiece actually is. But that experience with those extraordinary kids showed me the power of video as a tool for us. It doesn't take from the experience either as it is live. And I make sure that a visual instrument is also there for that exclusive photon experience.
I've also just completed a rig exactly for this purpose on the weekend. An old Meade 8" fork mount that was destined for the scrap heap was salvaged in a nick of time, a platform for mounting the 80mm scope with a 50mm finder, a DIY wedge and a surveyors tripod. PERFECT! Nothing overly sophisticated, but it shows exactly can be done with modest gear that actually sees amateur astronomers make a real science contribution to astronomy. Occultation chasing, variable star spectrometry, planetary surveillence, and supernova finding - all very much doable science.
Posted 10 March 2013 - 07:34 PM
Don't forget low tech!
Posted 11 March 2013 - 10:58 AM
Posted 21 March 2013 - 11:37 AM
I also set up some police line type tape on stakes around my equipment so people don't get too close.
Posted 23 March 2013 - 08:18 PM
The hero here is the little webcam
I have a friend who hooks up a cam to his eyepiece and shows the sky objects on a screen about 8 by 8 inches. This solves a host of problems for viewing, not only for physically challenged people, but also for children, older folk, and others. Also, several people can view the object(s) at the same time vs. one at a time through the eyepiece.