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okieav8rAdministrator
I'd rather be flying!
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Reged: 03/01/09

Loc: Oklahoma!
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: bicparker]
      #5471487 - 10/15/12 12:42 PM

Quote:

Light enforcement at star parties is not easy and is even more challenging these days because of the newer and brighter forms of lighting that are coming onto the field. Tablets, phones, laptops (more of them and they are brighter), various pilot and status lights on cameras and mounts, and often surprising things that don't even come to mind initially (such as USB hubs, charging stations, etc.).

Another challenge is having someone willing to tell another person to correct their problem. Most of the times, this goes pretty well, but every now and then it gets more confrontational. I don't think anyone goes to a star party wanting to get into a confrontation, but sometimes it happens. Often it is because of other frustrations happening; the most frequent reason is that the person in question is having difficulties getting their equipment working.

It is tough. I would just simply recommend to those who are asked to dim their lights, understand that there are probably several others who are being affected who aren't making the request, but want the light intrusion to go away. I would also recommend to those who are enforcing light etiquette (whether as an individual or as star party management), make sure you understand the problem and have suggestions handy (one, of course, may end up being simply "turn it off"). Make it a learning experience where appropriate.

A final recommendation for the star party organizers... have at least two people, who are level headed, take on the responsibility of responding to light rules complaints and make sure everyone knows who it is. In many cases, just knowing that there is some accountability creates better self enforcement. But when that doesn't work, then there is someone to ensure that firm enforcement of the rules is accomplished. Also, with more people that the star party gets involved in this, you get a larger base of attendee ownership in the star party.

One other practical thing that we found handy as of late for TSP... carry a small roll of black electrical tape for the bright pilot/status lights on cameras, power supplies, USB hubs, et al. That often solves some simple problems easily, quickly, and to everyone's satisfaction.

Since safety was also mentioned here, I will add on that we do have volunteers at TSP who work on light rules enforcement (as Preston pointed out). But they also serve other functions in those roles. During the walkthroughs, they also look for any safety issues (such as tent guy lines intruding into walking paths, or fire hazards), and power line violations (since we do provide power on the field for TSP).




David, everything you say in your post makes sense and you have some good ideas.

I will say that the problem regarding the guy with the white lights was kind of perplexing. Several times we asked him, nicely, to refrain, and he said he would. It was his first star party, so we explained light etiquette to him. I even loaned him a red light with a dimmer. But then, thirty minutes later, he'd turn that white light on again. I don't get people like that. It was almost like it was a battle of wills between him and other observers around him.


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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: okieav8r]
      #5471739 - 10/15/12 03:00 PM

Rex,
That is too bad this guy you describe was like that. It sounds like you did everything correctly, too, and I don't get that kind of behavior as a response, either. Sometimes, certain people only respond to a punitive measure (i.e., stop it or pack it up, fines, etc.). Of course, those can only come from the star party itself.

By the way, I don't want to sound like what we do at TSP is the perfect solution (in fact, I know that Okie-Tex, RTMC, WSP, et al have some really excellent volunteer operations for handling problems like this, too). There are no set solutions in dynamic settings. TSP is just the model with which I am most familiar. A lot of what we do at TSP has come about from over 30 years of experiences with a wide range of problems and situations. We do some things simply because we could give a hundred reasons why we do them, but the most important ones are the ones we can't think of.

However, we still get new things thrown our way and they always precipitate a bit of head scratching and inward looking as to how we can handle things better. The best solution is to be as proactive and prepared as possible. And part of that preparation should include the unexpected.


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TL2101
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/17/10

Loc: Concord, CA
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: bicparker]
      #5471785 - 10/15/12 03:41 PM

The few star parties I have been to have dark enforced areas and casual viewing areas. I assume when I setup in a casual area there will be some leeway in enforcing the rules but dark enforced areas should have a zero tolerance rule. IMHO

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RobbW
sage


Reged: 02/09/10

Loc: Elgin, IL
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: mogur]
      #5471884 - 10/15/12 05:00 PM

Quote:

What irks me most about this subject are those who find it necessary to constantly lock and unlock their cars. These same people will disable their dome lights (nice), but forget that the headlights or parking lights flash when they push that button. When you're camped 10 feet from your car, why do you need to lock it anyway!?




Just yesterday, I returned home from the Enchanted Skies Star Party in Socorro, NM. I had flown into Albuquerque and rented a car for the trip. As this was a rental car and not my own, I was not familiar with how the lighting worked. I was able to turn off the dome light so it would not come on when the doors were opened. However, there were side lights in the doors that would come on when doors were opened and there was no way to turn them off, save pulling a fuse. Since this was a rental, I did not feel comfortable messing with the fuses and the electronics. Also, the car would flash its lights every time you locked/unlocked the vehicle. To avoid upsetting anyone at night, what I ended up doing was leaving the car unlocked so that I wouldn't have to operate the key fob and blast the site with multiple flashes of light. I felt pretty secure about leaving it unlocked because in the dark of the night, it would be pretty obvious if anyone tried to open a door as the side lights would light up the area. The other thing I ended up doing was rolling down one of the back windows in the car. Any gear that I did not have with me in the field, I left on the floor of the car in the back with a blanket over it. That way, I could reach into the car and grab what I needed without having to unlock or open any doors. Plus, my gear was covered so that no one could easily peer into the car to see what I had. Everything worked out fine for me.


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Jamesbaird
newbie


Reged: 05/16/12

Loc: Redondo Beach, CA
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5472146 - 10/15/12 07:14 PM

At a recent visit to Mount Pinos CA a group of about 30 "night hikers" wandered down from the higher elevations using very powerful forehead lights. When they came into our larg group gathering, they flat refused to turn the lamps off, away or down. Nice going Sierra Club drop outs. Worse still, they knew our gathering was engaged in astronomy...

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amicus sidera
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Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: George N]
      #5472167 - 10/15/12 07:29 PM

Quote:


Music? A couple in their 20’s near me at Black Forest 2011 had an Australian bullroar (not exactly the kinda thing you expect to hear in the dark) and a guitar, felt the need to sing, and from the smell, I’m sure they weren’t smokin’ tobacco! ….and this was in a state park!!





Can one safely assume that they were immediately expelled and/or arrested - and if not, why not?


Quote:

I’ve also seen people tripping and falling over stuff like black cases and tripod legs, and if they fall over your gear left out in the dark, guess who gets sued: both you and the organizers. When you have large groups of people together you will have issues.




In my opinion, in this litigious day and age, any star party organizers that don't have a fairly ironclad contract that attendees must sign stating that that one is responsible for one's own clumsiness/lack of perception in a dark environment, and that holds harmless both the organizers and attendees for any accidental injuries they might suffer, even if caused by the carelessness of others, is playing with fire... as is anyone attending such an event.

Even such precautions are no guarantee, of course, which is one reason among many for why I've sworn off attending other than private events for the last two decades.


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okieav8rAdministrator
I'd rather be flying!
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Reged: 03/01/09

Loc: Oklahoma!
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5493996 - 10/29/12 01:13 AM

I just read Uncle Rod's astro blog this evening, and it has a little piece about light abusers and other undesireables at star parties. I've encountered everyone of them, and that's what made it so hiliarious to read. Find it here, about halfway down the page under the heading, Star Party Zoo. Funny, he calls those who don't get lighting etiquette 'Whiteliticus Rex'.


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Cow Jazz
professor emeritus


Reged: 11/24/03

Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5505940 - 11/05/12 08:35 PM

"If the organizers of your star party don't enforce the lighting policy then you just need to find another star party. And be sure to let them know why the attendance is dwindling."

We have tried VERY hard at Starfest (tm) up here in Canada to strictly enforce lighting. We posted signs in many areas, had it in emails, Facebook, and our registration forms. Several of us are always walking the field. The biggest problems are computer displays, cars that drive in and out at all times (nothing we can do about the movement, but we do cover the lights with red as best we can), and red and green lasers (now banned). It's very difficult to get everyone to "behave", and we have had issues with some folks, including telling them that they can leave the next day if they continue with the lights.

Our other issue was people "stealing" power from the lines we run out that are for astro use only. We were always resetting circuit breakers because of coffee pots, tea kettles, coolers, etc. This year, we increased the cost of the power (all the way up the $5 a day) and strictly enforced it's use with tags on all power cables. The response from those in the field was really positive, and we had almost no issues once people realized that we were serious about it.

The people that run these events work their butts off for many months leading up to the starparty, and even harder at the party. So please go easy on us, we're doing the best we can. We like to spend some time observing the skies, too.


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Lew Chilton
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 10/20/05

Loc: SoCal
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: bicparker]
      #5506283 - 11/06/12 02:16 AM

I have also noted the same breaches of star party etiquette at the monthly public Mt. Pinos star party. I call it the monthly 3-ring circus.

I've solved the problem by choosing an alternate observing nite, usually a few days before or after the regular Saturday nite star party. On one Thursday nite, only 6 of us shared the observing site instead of the usual 200 or so. It was a nite of tranquility and utter enjoyment.


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Cotts
Just Wondering
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Reged: 10/10/05

Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: Lew Chilton]
      #5506609 - 11/06/12 10:17 AM

It amazes me that some people who go to Star Parties do not prepare their vehicles for the lights they may produce. Do you have dome lights, side door lights, headlights etc. that come on? Then cover them with red plastic or red electrical tape or cardboard or whatever before the first night of the star party.

Cover all your pilot lights, especially the green and blue ones with electrical tape. Keep all your gear on your tarp/carpet. (Corollary to this: don't walk THROUGH a person's site.) For tripod legs and black tent ropes I've found 'glow-in-the-dark' rope to be a wonderful and inexpensive way to mark your trip hazards - dim but visible and a MUCH better solution than some of the ridiculous, to the point of overkill, flashing lights or red glowing plastic strips etc..

Ounce of prevention........

About music. While there is observing going on? An absolute no-no IMHO. Put on your headphones. No 'live' jamming either (it's clear out! what did you come to the star party for?)

"Live" music - something I've been known to be involved in (hi John!) should be confined to cloudy nights (not too late) or during the day.

There. I feel better now.

Dave


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operascope
sage
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Reged: 09/03/08

Loc: Canada
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: Cotts]
      #5507802 - 11/07/12 01:03 AM

Right on Dave!
-Lance


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PAW
sage


Reged: 10/12/06

Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: operascope]
      #5514009 - 11/11/12 05:52 AM

Expecting perfect (or even close to perfect) lighting etiquette/conditions at a Star Party borders on the ridiculous.

Keyword here is: Party

Can't have your cake and it eat it too.

If it's that much of an issue find a different location or date.


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mogur
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 07/29/11

Loc: WI
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: PAW]
      #5514375 - 11/11/12 12:11 PM

Quote:

Expecting perfect (or even close to perfect) lighting etiquette/conditions at a Star Party borders on the ridiculous.

Keyword here is: Party

Can't have your cake and it eat it too.

If it's that much of an issue find a different location or date.




Well, PAW, the rest of us are there to do some observing. Please keep your "partying" done during the day, OK? If this is too difficult for you remember that partying can be done at other places. Go to a campground where lanterns and loud revelry is rampant. I pay good money to attend an event where all are as interested as I to do some observing. There are those of us who live in an area where observing at home is futile for anything but the moon and planets. For instance, I live in an apartment and have no yard to use. I can set up a scope in the driveway where cars are constantly going to and fro, but there is no where to use my dob unless I pack up the car and drive several miles to a park. There cars are also constantly coming and going, and I may get kicked out at any time because the park closes at 10 PM. Therefore, star parties are my only decent opportunity to observe DSO's in a dark setting.

Please try to have a little consideration for others during your "partying". Perhaps star parties should adopt a policy where certain areas could be held separate for partiers like PAW. They could have light shields around them so the lights wouldn't bother those more serious about observing. It's an idea anyway.


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okieav8rAdministrator
I'd rather be flying!
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Reged: 03/01/09

Loc: Oklahoma!
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: PAW]
      #5514995 - 11/11/12 07:51 PM

Quote:

Expecting perfect (or even close to perfect) lighting etiquette/conditions at a Star Party borders on the ridiculous.

Keyword here is: Party

Can't have your cake and it eat it too.

If it's that much of an issue find a different location or date.




So, you're saying it's a stretch to expect people who should know better to follow set rules?

The whole idea of a star "party" PAW, is for people to have a chance to observe under dark sky conditions that they usually don't otherwise have ready access to. My issue isn't with whether or not lighting conditions are perfect--I simply ask that persons who attend star parties use common sense and common courtesy, and follow the stated rules of the event. I would suggest that those who have a cavalier attitude toward following the light restriction rules are the ones who need to go elsewhere.

Edited by okieav8r (11/12/12 02:42 AM)


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George N
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Reged: 05/19/06

Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5515811 - 11/12/12 11:21 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Expecting perfect (or even close to perfect) lighting etiquette/conditions at a Star Party borders on the ridiculous.

Keyword here is: Party

Can't have your cake and it eat it too.

If it's that much of an issue find a different location or date.




....The whole idea of a star "party" PAW, is for people to have a chance to observe under dark sky conditions that they usually don't otherwise have ready access to.......




While correct as far as it goes, a star party is also a social event, meaning that you are there to be with people of similar interest, in addition to observing under excellent conditions. Those other people will have widely differing ideas on what to expect, what ‘amateur astronomy’ is, what their level of commitment is, and what their level of expertise is. While one can reasonably expect “light and sound discipline conditions”, one needs to understand when dealing with people at a social event, there will be a variety of opinions, each of equal weight. If you need absolutely pristine conditions with behavior according your personal needs, ya need to find a private observing location, far from “the maddening crowd”.


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jrcrillyAdministrator
Refractor wienie no more
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Reged: 04/30/03

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Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: George N]
      #5515840 - 11/12/12 11:36 AM

Quote:

If you need absolutely pristine conditions with behavior according your personal needs, ya need to find a private observing location, far from “the maddening crowd”.




...or attend any properly-organized star party. Those always have rules in place forbidding intrusive light on the observing field.


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edwincjones
Close Enough
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Reged: 04/10/04

Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5519130 - 11/14/12 07:28 AM

all good points, all reasonable, but contradictory
so we need to pick the star parties that meet our needs
-hardcore dark sky folks to TSP
-families to GCSP or Cedar Key
-AP need small private

for me, I would rather take the RV, wife, dogs, grandkids to a state or national park to enjoy nature and the semidark skies (many star parties would prefer that also)

edj


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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... [Re: edwincjones]
      #5709800 - 03/03/13 12:41 AM

Inviting the 'general' public to any star party, it's expected that light etiquette will not be followed. For star parties organized specifically for visual / imaging amateurs, light etiquette should be a given, Golden Rule. If you've been into this hobby for even a few months, you know the absolute value of dark sites and skies. For example, the F-150 I purchased for towing our RV has the ability to turn ALL lights off except for the odometer and engine status lights even when locking /unlocking / opening the cab doors and starting the engine. Put in this stealth mode, you never know when I get in or out of the truck and if it's locked or not. Being 95% an imager, my main concern when out with visual only folks is to try not and offend them. I really appreciate their need in maintaining their dark adaption. This year, I'm going even further with my home built equipment by installing higher value resistors to dim the status LEDs... I've attended a number of star parties over the years and while most have been enjoyable, I find that after midnight: Most of the non-dedicated public / amateurs have packed it in and left and those that are left, have their equipment setup and working, pretty much 'in the zone' ...

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Zamboni
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 01/03/05

Loc: Colorado Springs
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #5711327 - 03/03/13 07:48 PM

One trick I've picked up to minimize chances of dome light infractions on the star party field is to replace all interior lighting bulbs with red LEDs. You can order them from www.superbrightleds.com

The red bulbs from this company are reasonably dim, too.

Typically, my only big annual star party is Rocky Mountain Star Stare, which my club organizes. It's largeish, but not ridiculously huge. Attendance is typically in the 300 range. I've come to prefer the smaller star parties because you get less of the riff-raff ruining everyone's observing.


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MadHungarian
sage


Reged: 11/18/10

Loc: Rainy WA
Re: Breech of lighting etiquette at star parties..... [Re: Zamboni]
      #5712250 - 03/04/13 10:35 AM

And violaters of lighting etiquette should be punished by being forced to live in Western Washington State.

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