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David Knisely
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5712579 - 03/04/13 01:48 PM

At the Nebraska Star Party, we have definite lighting restrictions, but it is hard to enforce them. We publish the restrictions in the registration packets, explain them at length during the Beginner's Field School, and mention them on the observing fields during the evening meals and programs, but with the site being a public park, you do get an occasional white light coming down a road into the area. If someone does violate those rules who really should know better, they do get talked to, but again, there are limits to what we can do. Even amongst experienced amateurs, some people still do not know just how dim (and shielded) their lighting must be to avoid impacting others. Still, there are setup locations away from the center of the observing fields which are shielded enough that one need not be bothered at all. Most people there are pretty well behaved when it comes to the proper use of lighting while observing. Clear skies to you.

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DeanS
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Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5740544 - 03/18/13 11:43 AM Attachment (18 downloads)

Here is a good example of what NOT to do at star parties. This guy was asked numerous times to keep the light off but continued for several nights. One night at around 2 am he came out in his robe and told us to keep it down as people are tying to sleep and we where being rude. I suggested to him that this is what people tend to do at star parties and perhaps a hotel room might have been a better choice

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: DeanS]
      #5740576 - 03/18/13 12:04 PM

Complaining about others being rude; when he lights up the entire area, with no thought to others?

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The Planetman
professor emeritus
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Reged: 01/27/06

Loc: Western KY
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5740647 - 03/18/13 12:46 PM

Several years ago, when we hosted our star party at the observatory, a guy decided that he'd plug in his popup camper, which was a no-no, so he could have his TV on all night. He did this without asking or anyone noticing it.
Being the star party chair, when he started snoring, I took it upon myself to unplug it. When he woke up and complained, I explained that the TV was bright and distracting. Not to mention that many had come from great distances to enjoy some dark sky. He told me, in a hateful tone, that he'd driven 3 hours, and no one was going to tell him that he couldn't run his TV. That when I told him he had two choices; leave it off or pack up and go home. He left early the next morning. Wouldn't have been so bad if he did this when most everyone had gone to sleep. But it was 9:30! Haven't seen him since....
I was the hero that night. Especially when it turned out to be the best night of the party.


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WadeH237
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: Snohomish, WA
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: DeanS]
      #5740813 - 03/18/13 02:20 PM

Quote:

This guy was asked numerous times to keep the light off but continued for several nights.




It's good to be polite when reminding people about their lights, but why wasn't this person ejected after the first night?


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DeanS
Post Laureate
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Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: WadeH237]
      #5740836 - 03/18/13 02:33 PM

They would turn it off, then would come back on later for a while, then on and off like that until they went to sleep. Several different people had asked them to turn it off, and they would at the time.

When he confronted us about talking he reminded us that every time we asked him to turn off the lights he did. Like he was doing us a favor???

I can understand someone turning on a light by accident, but they should figure it out after being asked a few times.

Oh well, just bound to happen with a lot of people.


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Whichwayisnorth
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Reged: 07/04/11

Loc: Southern California
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: DeanS]
      #5741253 - 03/18/13 05:43 PM

I wired around my back up lights and my day time running lights with switches so I could turn them off. I often get frustrated with weather and remind myself I have a cold wife and a hot bed waiting for me at home.

During outreach events it is expected people have white lights in your face. I now just use my computer screen to show people what my camera can see. I typically use a laptop tent and I make sure I am in a position where there are no other astronomers behind me but again, outreach, white light is expected.

I am non-confrontational for the most part so the worse people can expect from me is a dirty look. That and I have a temper so I make sure not to start any problems knowing I'll probably end up in jail.


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bicparker
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/07/05

Loc: Texas Hill Country
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: Whichwayisnorth]
      #5742327 - 03/19/13 06:22 AM

Being the light police at a star party is a difficult task. It is a balancing act to ensure that everyone at the star party has a positive experience. In my experience, most everyone who I have had to talk to about lighting problems did not intentionally create these issues and they were more than helpful in rectifying the problem. Many folks who breach the etiquette are seasoned veterans of star parties who just didn't realize they had some sort of light leak going on. Most people don't go to a star party with the sole intention of ticking everyone else off.

The bad situations that some have described where the person with the problem is confrontational are rare, but they do happen. And these are the ones that get all of the attention. There is no magic way to handle these situations, and on a very rare occasion, things have to be escalated.

Here a just a few things I would encourage for everyone to remember when you are at a star party. This isn't an all encompassing list. Just some thoughts that bubbled up to the top for me.:

1. If a problem affects one person, it is affecting twenty others, as well. The star party organizers are trying to make this a great experience for up to several hundred people at once in close proximity. At night, this means that actions by a single person can affect many others. This is a group activity and it only really works when folks are part of the group, not separate.
2. It is dark on the field. You are not being singled out on a personal level if you are asked to change some lighting. Often the volunteers have no idea who the responsible parties are until they are right up on the situation, especially if some equipment is unattended. Don't get offended.
3. The volunteers monitoring for light violations are looking at the light levels on a large field level. If they are picking out a problem, it is often because they can see it across the field, not just right around in your area.
4. Set a good example for others. Work together with others in your area of the field and be "light aware". Talk it up, especially before the sun goes down. People around you will hear you and follow by example.
5. Help the volunteers. If you see a lighting problem, try to work it out. But if you don't feel comfortable doing that, talk to one of the staff and they may be able to help (it is sometimes easier for me, as a staff person, to talk to someone as a third party in resolving a light problem).
6. Remember that the volunteers policing the lights are star party attendees, also. They would rather be at their scope than policing lights.
7. Many light violations are created by reflected light situations, not direct ones. One example would be where someone sets up their laptops to face away from the field, only to have the light reflecting off of the white trailer behind them, which gives everyone the joy of a light dome.


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George N
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/19/06

Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: bicparker]
      #5742721 - 03/19/13 11:35 AM

>.....One example would be where someone sets up their laptops to face away from the field, only to have the light reflecting.......

Has there been a discussion somewhere on CN about shielding laptops? I know about the red screens, but I'd also like some sort of 'cave' to put a laptop in.


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hm insulators
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/22/07

Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5742734 - 03/19/13 11:39 AM

Quote:

Complaining about others being rude; when he lights up the entire area, with no thought to others?




I was asking myself the same question. Gotta sit down one of these days and figure that one out!


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hm insulators
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/22/07

Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: DeanS]
      #5742752 - 03/19/13 11:46 AM

Quote:

Here is a good example of what NOT to do at star parties. This guy was asked numerous times to keep the light off but continued for several nights. One night at around 2 am he came out in his robe and told us to keep it down as people are tying to sleep and we where being rude. I suggested to him that this is what people tend to do at star parties and perhaps a hotel room might have been a better choice




Dean, I see coconut palms in the background, which of course don't grow in Kentucky. Was this star party in Florida?


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DeanS
Post Laureate
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Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: hm insulators]
      #5742948 - 03/19/13 01:21 PM

Why yes it was

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: George N]
      #5742980 - 03/19/13 01:35 PM

Quote:

but I'd also like some sort of 'cave' to put a laptop in.





There is one on the market. I'll see if I can find a link.

Edit: here's one Link

I believe there's one that's made out of a soft material also; I'll try to find that one.

Here it IS

Edited by csa/montana (03/19/13 01:44 PM)


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Matthew Ota
Hmmm


Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Los Angeles, California
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: bicparker]
      #5744048 - 03/19/13 09:35 PM

Astrophotographers should NEVER do any imaging at star parties. It is best done alone.

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zerro1
Postmaster
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Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Smokey Point , 48.12°N 122.25...
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: Matthew Ota]
      #5744228 - 03/19/13 11:04 PM

Quote:

Astrophotographers should NEVER do any imaging at star parties. It is best done alone.






Really? So what would be the point of paying the registration fee, travel costs and such to go to a dark site to "NOT DO" imaging, if you're an Astrophotographer?

I personally take every precuation to safeguard eveyone elses night vision. I most often have two rigs going at once: laptop screens are turned completely down and covered with red transparency film. All domelights of my vehicle are either covered or removed. Flashlight is red(and not LED). I don't bring white light. My car does not flash lights when the fob is used(But I never lock it anyway)... Plus I take the time to get aquainted with the people camped around me, I let them know that they should be anything but suttle if some light does leak.

Once I turn on the camera and start capturing, and light spills into the end of my scope from some stray source, that exposure is ruined, I'll never get it back. how does my need for adherence to SP etiquette differ from the Observer?


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DeanS
Post Laureate
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Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: Matthew Ota]
      #5744677 - 03/20/13 08:43 AM

Quote:

Astrophotographers should NEVER do any imaging at star parties. It is best done alone.




I agree for out reach type programs.

But like Robert, I drive thousands of miles yearly to get to dark skies for imaging. I expect at these star parties that the attendees who have paid would know enough to keep the lights off.

Again I expect accidents to happen occasionally, and someone may not be aware they are too bright, but after being asked one time it should not happen again.


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The Planetman
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 01/27/06

Loc: Western KY
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: DeanS]
      #5745050 - 03/20/13 12:29 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Astrophotographers should NEVER do any imaging at star parties. It is best done alone.




I agree for out reach type programs.

But like Robert, I drive thousands of miles yearly to get to dark skies for imaging. I expect at these star parties that the attendees who have paid would know enough to keep the lights off.

Again I expect accidents to happen occasionally, and someone may not be aware they are too bright, but after being asked one time it should not happen again.




Being a diehard deepsky observer and wanting my surrounding area to be as dark as possible, I will disagree that imagers should stay at home and not go to start parties.
They enjoy a dark sky just like the rest of us. Their style of enjoying the hobby and night sky is different from observers.
Other than the TV incident that I wrote about above, we've not had any major problems at Twin Lakes Star Party. I agree with Dean in that I believe nearly every light issue is an accident.
I'll even take it one step further. From my experience, the majority of the offenders of lighting are either beginners or they are first timers to a start party.


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skyquest25
member


Reged: 08/22/12

Loc: United States
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... [Re: DeanS]
      #5745051 - 03/20/13 12:29 PM

Astrophotography obviously requires more strict conditions due to obvious reasons. While I myself am very considerate of light etiquette, I can see a cause for disagreement here.

Why can't I use a laser in assisting myself navigate the skies? Or help teach my children at very dark skies where there's lots of stars they aren't use to? (I pose this rhetorically to express the other side of the fence)

So we all have quandaries to deal with. We just need to do the best to help each other and be considerate, in the end it's up to the host to determine the rules and the level of enforcement they want to place on certain aspects of those rules.

There's all kinds of people in the world, some don't give a #$#$. And some do.

When it comes down to it, hosting a star party requires you to mitigate those issues. It's just not going to be easy no matter how much you discuss it.


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t.r.
Post Laureate
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Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: skyquest25]
      #5745269 - 03/20/13 02:29 PM

Well, after this thread, I now know how to thoroughly screw with a bunch of star party goers! And apparently all that is needed is a flashlight, what cheap fun!

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WadeH237
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: Snohomish, WA
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: t.r.]
      #5745617 - 03/20/13 04:53 PM

As someone who does both imaging and visual observing, I disagree that imaging requires stricter controls.

It is very easy to destroy dark adaptation with just a little bit of (even red) light. This has a major impact on visual observing near the limits of magnitude, and it takes about 30 minutes to recover.

With imaging, the damage occurs if light gets to the camera sensor. The kind of ground level lighting that is commonly associated with accidental light at star parties isn't much of an issue. Light that brightens the sky - especially green lasers - is very bad for imaging. The occasional attendee who naively shines their red light into an imaging scope is also really bad. And any light event with imaging affects only the one subexposure that was in progress during the event. There is no recovery time like there is with dark adaptation.

Honestly, in the last few years, I have seen lots light leakage coming from the imaging areas - enough that it can be a problem for visual observers. I do not see the reverse. In that way, I sympathize with the post above that imagers should avoid star parties - even though I strongly disagree.

I value dark skies as an imager as much as I do as an observer. I go to great lengths to avoid light leakage. I cover all LEDs with electrical tape. I use a 1/8th inch thick red shield on my laptop *and* keep the laptop display dimmed down to where it's barely legible. Often times, my imaging setup is also inside of my observatory tent, even with the above precautions. My goal is that my observing site is not noticeable from more than 10 feet away under a dark sky.

-Wade


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