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How to block lights while observing

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#1 Classic8

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 02:50 PM

I have a couple of nearby lights (from houses) that bug me when I'm trying to observe. I was looking for some panels or something that I can set up between me and the stray light coming in. Maybe 5+ ft tall by 3 ft wide approximately. Ideally they'd be something I could bring with me in the car if necessary, but it's mainly for home use. Do others have this problem? What do you use to block the light?

Thanks
George

#2 csa/montana

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 02:56 PM

George, here's a link that shows many panels that members have built. Just scroll down a little.

Light blocking panels

#3 Trebor777

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 02:59 PM

Post deleted by csa/montana

#4 mikey cee

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 03:24 PM

Post deleted by csa/montana

#5 AlanK

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 03:33 PM

The best streetlight is a hole in the ground. No bullets needed in that case.

#6 Joe Aguiar

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 04:28 PM

you can build some fron 2x4 & tarp make the legs like an upside down t that way you can just slip the legs out & fold up everything.

Joe

#7 csa/montana

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 04:38 PM

Folks, even joking; CN does not condone any illegal activities on the site.

Please post, with this in mind.

#8 brooster

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 04:44 PM

Great minds think alike!

#9 Chris Curran

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 06:30 PM

The original Light blocking panel project:

http://www.planetcurran.com/blind.php

2" foam board and duct tape. Still in operation today...

#10 randtek

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 07:13 PM

The original Light blocking panel project:

http://www.planetcurran.com/blind.php

2" foam board and duct tape. Still in operation today...


Ooh! I like this! :jump:

#11 JayinUT

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 09:26 PM

Just built some light shields a month ago from the original article here, but modified. I used them last Friday and Saturday and they worked wonderful! Only thing I don't like is I didn't secure the black 4 mil plastic at the bottom and it will flop in a slight breeze. They come apart so I can transport them but at home I just carry them outside.

Here is a link, I just modified the design. Light Shields

I have to say that my dark adaptation on both nights was vastly improved over previous times and that made for a better experience on both nights. I'm getting ready to set up again tonight. I need to build two more and then I'll be set.

#12 JSeay86

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 09:32 PM

You could try a broadband filter that will filter out most of the common light-pollution light (from mercury lights etc.)

#13 Bill Cowles

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 09:43 PM

I figured the deleted post probably mentioned the word lead. :smirk:

Bill

#14 Chris Curran

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 09:54 PM

Ooh! I like this! :jump:


Thanks. I did one of those PVC and plastic things in '03. Too much work, too hard to move once it was up and it didn't take punishment that well.

I came up with the foam board and duct tape idea in Feb of '04. If you recall, Florida had four major hurricanes hit later that year. I used that blind to protect my generator during a few of those storms. Foam board and duct tape - tuff stuff. :cool:

#15 FlyingAstronomer

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 10:54 PM

Two inch thick foam board placed back to back like that would make a four inch wide edge - two overlapping layers of duct tape longitudinally or many short strips across the edge? And I'm a bit confused by the reference to using them in a hurricane. They look like they would blow over in the lightest breeze, not to mention a hurricane. Anything in particular to hold them down? And where does one get these tall pieces of two inch thick foam board?

I'm intrigued too because I'm such a mechanical klutz/nincompoop, and this looks like something even *I* might be able to produce, and I have a huge need for just such a contraption.

EDIT: Ok, I found the previous page under "Equipment" where it says, "I used 2" foam board - you can find it in the insulation section of your local home center." I'm still wondering what holds the things up, though - they're bound to be very light (good for moving, not so good for staying put in the wind.)

#16 Lane

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 01:57 AM

The original Light blocking panel project:

http://www.planetcurran.com/blind.php

2" foam board and duct tape. Still in operation today...


Where did you find these foam boards?

#17 Chris Curran

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 06:19 AM

Where did you find these foam boards?


The insulation section of any home center...

#18 Chris Curran

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 06:25 AM

Roger,

Duct tape: You need the 3" wide type. Blowes sells it, I dunno about Casa Depot. The 2" will work in a pinch, but wider is better. One strip down the middle and then one down each edge. You can add a few strips perpendicular to this too if you want (I later did). The only tricky part in this is making sure you tape the correct sides together so as to preserve the accordion effect. Leave the beer in the fridge while doing this. :)

Anchoring: During normal use (zero to light winds) I don't need to anchor it at all. Those foam boards are surprisingly stable all by themselves. For medium winds, the very end pieces have extra large wire ties poked through them about 4' off the ground and about 4" in from the edge to act as anchoring loops - I stake it to the ground with one of those nylon tie-down straps (the kind with the cam buckle - not the ratcheting kind). For the hurricanes I closed it completely around the generator - it was no longer an open "U" shape but a triangle.

Also, for summertime use here in humid Florida I have another panel that I throw over the top of the open "U" end to provide overhead protection from the dew and yuk.

Note: Those foam boards as bought are 8'x4'. I cut 2' off the long side to make 'em 6'x4'. I of course saved the 2' cut offs and they've been darn near as handy to have around too. Mine gets left outside most of the time, so I have to re-tape it about once a year since duct tape and UV don't seem to mix that well...

Pros: It's very tuff and very light. I can accordion the thing up and carry it in one piece sitting on my shoulder. It looks odd, but is easy.

Cons: It doesn't travel well unless you have a truck or travel trailer or RV or something else to bring it in.

foam light block panels

#19 csa/montana

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 08:49 AM

Chris, I edited your post by adding your link to your project. I'll add it to the list under Carol's picks!

#20 Mittag55

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 01:06 PM

Was having the same problem..had the same idea as the deleted posts probobly suggested, but i sucked it up and went next door one afternoon and shot my mouth off instread of the .308..bottom line is most folks don't even think their lites are a bother and if asked will turn of for a period of time..in my case they don't come on till he gets home and goes to bed at 2 AM now...I am usually done with swatting mosquitos by then..just go ask..

#21 mikey cee

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 03:00 PM

I figured the deleted post probably mentioned the word lead. :smirk:

Bill

:waytogo:Bingo!!

#22 okiestarman56

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 03:16 PM

If you go to galleries and look for okiestarman56, you will see how i overcame this problem-8x10 tarp and pvc 1" you will see it broke down and packed and ready to go, We have 3 of them and in less than basicaly in 10 minutes their up. If you glue key parts and mark and have a plan of them its easy and you can make all 3 for way less than the cost of some that you can buy. Also if you are nice on the phone and explain the problem your power company will come out and paint part of the shield black to block out light in your direction, they did two for me.

Jerry



#23 Chris Curran

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 03:33 PM

Our club does a lot of outreach programs at state parks. Most folks don't realize that big yellow light outside their trailer is bothering us astro types. I've found the easiest way to get them to turn it off is to invite them over for a view. When they get there, they almost always comment on how bright their own light is. Problem solved, I didn't have to say a negative word to anyone and I usually make a new friend in the process...

#24 mikey cee

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 03:46 PM

Our club does a lot of outreach programs at state parks. Most folks don't realize that big yellow light outside their trailer is bothering us astro types. I've found the easiest way to get them to turn it off is to invite them over for a view. When they get there, they almost always comment on how bright their own light is. Problem solved, I didn't have to say a negative word to anyone and I usually make a new friend in the process...

Wait 'til the first "redneck" comes across your path!! :grin: :grin:Mike

#25 Classic8

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 04:08 PM

Thanks for the ideas everyone. I live in a townhouse community where the homeowners' association actually tells people to leave their lights on for security. Fortunately, most of them don't, so there's usually only 1 or 2 to contend with, though there's a streetlight too. I'm basically mechanically-declined so I need something simple to create and hopefully doesn't take up too much space, since my garage is pretty cramped already. I do have a Menards and Home Depot nearby so I'll check for some materials I can use.

If they had a spool of material that could be attached to another spool or pole so I could simply separate the two spools and have the material unroll that would be neat, but I probably won't find anything like that which would be large enough.


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