I'm a monthly "star party" coordinator for our local astronomy group, and we set up in a darkened parking lot on the edge of town once a month in warm weather (May - October, sometimes April and November if we're desperate). Usually about 15-25 scopes, 100-300 public visitors wandering around during the night. Invariably, you hear a "clunk" when someone bangs into a tripod leg because they are not yet dark-adapted.
This happened to my scope on Saturday night, and while no damage done, of course I then had to do a complete re-alignment to get going again. So I was wondering what to do about having some sort of reflective tape, little red lights, something that would let people see where it is. I don't feel it's a big issue when I'm observing normally, just when lots of newbies are roaming around, and in those cases, we usually don't have many LP obsessives around (our area isn't dark enough for them generally). So I was wondering what people have to suggest to use?
- I have the Celestron vibration suppression pads under the legs, and they have a small orange semi-reflective ring, but not enough for anyone to really see.
- However, at the last star party, someone had those little glow bracelets/necklaces (i.e., crack and shake), and put three loops on the ground, one around each leg. A bit brighter than I would have expected but clearly did the trick. Anybody have experience with other astro people finding those TOO bright? Can I buy red ones?
- Solar tape would seem too bright to me, and most glow white.
Anyone have other suggestions?