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Blocking local lights

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#1 Bill Hannum

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 11:49 AM

Hi All: I usually observe from my apartment complex on a top floor balcony. There are two very bright lights about 25 yards away which of course are very annoying. I welcome any suggestions on how to block them. I have a railing which I could use for support.

#2 BigC

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 12:11 PM

Check with a local photography store ,they may have light blocker background cloths including frames.

You can make your own with PVC pipes,c-clamps, and opaque materials. It is probably better if you can avoid the appearance of "something trahy or flashy" that might offend your neighbors OR draw their attention.I'd avoid those cheap bright plastic tarps !So I suggest materials that are dull or flat colored and similar in color to the building material,or at least complementary.You might consult the color charts in a paint department?

#3 BigC

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 12:11 PM

Check with a local photography store ,they may have light blocker background cloths including frames.

You can make your own with PVC pipes,c-clamps, and opaque materials. It is probably better if you can avoid the appearance of "something trahy or flashy" that might offend your neighbors OR draw their attention.I'd avoid those cheap bright plastic tarps !So I suggest materials that are dull or flat colored and similar in color to the building material,or at least complementary.You might consult the color charts in a paint department?

#4 StrangeDejavu

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 12:18 PM

Posted Image

All the materials can be bought at Home Depot. (PVC and Landscaping Fabric). I think I paid $20 for all of it, and had enough fabric left over to make a second one. I built the frame then wrapped 2-3 layers all the way around and stapled the fabric all the way around except at the bottoms, so the fabric can be slipped on and off. :waytogo:

#5 Fuzzyguy

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 12:40 PM

In your situation, I think I'd look for some 1/2" gator board or foam core boards in black. They come in 4x8 foot sheets and you can use the spring type "A" clamps to hold them against your balcony rail. They are fairly cheap, light weight and easily positioned. With a little planning, ingenuity and some duct tape, you can cut them into folding panels for easier storage.

#6 Mike in Tampa

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 01:13 PM

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#7 Kraus

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 01:17 PM

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#8 Achernar

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 04:04 PM

Why not get some thin plywood, make some loght blocking panels, paint them with black paint and C-clamp them to the railings when you are observing?

Taras

#9 rnc39560

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 04:20 PM

You'll shoot your eye out... you'll shoot your eye out. All of the above sound good. Also, for storage purposes, if you don't glue vertical p.v.c. (the ones on the side of the frame) into the bull of the tee, you can slide it out and lay it flat under furniture or stand it in back of closet.
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#10 AstroTatDad

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 06:48 PM

There is a lot of options, it all really depends on how much room you have. In tight areas it is hard, see for me I have the guy next to me "towards the left in the photo" which loves to leave his light on all night long and he is close to me. I also have pool lights that are on all night as well. Other then that I'm good, but if I didn't have these light blockers my viewing would be bad. My skies are fairly good for a red zone, I don't really have any other lights bother me, its just the lights next to me that wreck it.. especially using a Dob or doing AP. My observing area is not that big, so I was only able to make my light blockers so high.. other wise my scopes couldn't see over them.

It really didn't cost much to make, I kept it simple went to Home Depot and got all the PVC pipes and connectors. The guy at Home Depot let me do all my cutting there, because i didn't have any tools. I pretty much built it there, right on the floor LOL. I went to Harbor Freight picked up clamps and while I was there they had black moving blankets on sale, I think $3 bucks each. They are lite, not to heavy and work great. Plus you can wash them :)

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  • 6000494-blakets.jpg


#11 AstroTatDad

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 06:50 PM

Here is the PVC frame

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  • 6000498-PVC.jpg


#12 rnc39560

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 09:33 PM

Pretty cool Jeff. Like those tri-fold room dividers! With multiple panels it can support itself. No legs, and store flat. Simple and works.
Robert

#13 AstroTatDad

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 10:13 PM

Pretty cool Jeff. Like those tri-fold room dividers! With multiple panels it can support itself. No legs, and store flat. Simple and works.
Robert


Yup. :) I have also added on to this blocking me in, I have 2 black 7x10 thin rugs "not the furry ones lol" there pretty thin. I'm putting this on the ground to black me all in, kinda like a observatory. This has helped out even more, makes me feel like I have one. :)
I also wear something over my head and EP when I'm looking through the scope. Kinda like a hood, the Miss's calls me a Sith "from Star Wars" lol :) Cool story about that too, everyone has names for there observatory so thanks to her I call ours The Sith Temple. :) but SITH is "Stars in the Heavens" so "The S.I.T.H Temple". :) lol I know silly huh?

#14 kind

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 10:37 PM

ya that is a pretty sweet setup you got there did you post it in the frugal thread cause it should be.

#15 Slartibartfast

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 10:59 PM

Here's mine (with my Z12)

Posted Image

(not as nice as AstroTatDad's but it gets the job done).

#16 AstroTatDad

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 02:10 AM

Most important thing is, if its blocking light.. then it working :)
If it wasn't for HOA, I would use a clothesline with some tarps clamped with clothespin :)

#17 REC

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 05:02 AM

Clothesline, what a brilliant idea! Just can't have much wind on those nights! I use a 9' umbrella laid on it's side to sometimes block a streetlight. Very portable.

#18 REC

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 05:07 AM

That's a quick cheap simple solution for a couple of stray street lights. I think I would have to put down a few weights at the bottom for light breezes in my yard. I like it!

Thanks,

Bob

#19 Kraus

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 07:54 AM

Good job Herr Starti. A very portable observatory. And I think a light breeze is hindered as well.

#20 csrlice12

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 08:21 AM

I just grab the Patio umbrella and lay it on it's side and it works fine...it also collapses down...it's an umbrella....AND, it also has non-astronomy uses......

#21 Kraus

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 08:27 AM


A patio umbrella? What a tacky idea. I love it.

#22 rnc39560

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 08:44 AM

I've gotten some REALLY cool ideas reading this thread! Thanks guys! Oh and Jeff, not silly at all! Us big kids gotta stick together! Lol.
Robert

#23 Slartibartfast

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 01:26 PM

AstroTatDad,

If it wasn't for HOA, I would use a clothesline with some tarps clamped with clothespin


I think if I were part of a HOA, they'd be at my door with torches and pitchforks!

Kraus,

Good job Herr Starti. A very portable observatory. And I think a light breeze is hindered as well.


Thanks. It handles a breeze well (though a good gust of wind would likely topple it). The cube shape reinforces itself.

#24 Bill Hannum

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 08:51 PM

Thanks for all the good ideas!!! More are welcome ...

#25 REC

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 07:06 AM

Yeah, I do that too, get a cheap 9' umbrella and I hide underneath it. Neighbors sitting out on the patio look over to mine and see it laying on the ground and say, well Bobs out doing his thing tonight....lol


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