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Possible Quick & Easy LP Shielding for Your Yard

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#1 Sarkikos

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 01:04 PM

The neighbors to my north like to keep their outside lights on at night.  Until I can have a tall fence built or trees planted, I'm thinking of quick and easy ways to shield my front yard from their lights. 

 

I have considered erecting poles at intervals along my side of the lot line, and attaching tarps or other shielding material between the posts.  I could move or remove the shielding as needed.  The poles would remain in place.

 

Or maybe I could screw the metal posts into receptacles permanently planted in the ground.  (Secured with concrete, foam or gravel?)   Just screw in the posts and hang the shielding when I'm going to observe.  Has anyone ever done this?  I wouldn't have to dodge the posts when mowing the grass, and no one would walk into the posts in the dark.  (It would be a good idea to cap the receptacles somehow, so they wouldn't fill with dirt and debris.)

 

This would be much less expensive than a fence or row of trees.  And it would be easier than dragging out and setting up the usual type of temporary shielding enclosures we see in these threads.  Storage of poles and shielding would take up little space in my garage.

 

The only permanent features are the in-ground receptacles for the poles.  It just makes sense to me.

 

A fence or row of trees would be easier in the long run.  Nothing at all to take out or bring in.  It's already out there ready for use. 

 

And the fence would be a quicker solution than the row of trees.  The fence is already at the height I need.  I'd have to wait for the trees to grow.

 

But in the meantime, maybe this system of poles would be a good solution.

 

I'm curious to know if anyone has set up a system like this, with removable poles and shielding.  In any case, do you think it would be worthwhile to do?

 

Thanks,

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 02 June 2020 - 01:04 PM.

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#2 Sarkikos

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 01:10 PM

Ideally, to shield the neighbor's lights, I'd like poles about 8' tall.  That could be hard to manage, though.  Maybe 7', even 6', would be good enough, because I like to sit when I'm observing.

 

Here are Threaded Aluminum Poles 8′ x 1-3/4″.  But no price.  https://hardrockdeve...8-x-1-34-b5-96/

 

Kraft CC236 1-3/4 Inch X 6ft Aluminum Pole  $31.99  https://shop.rentato...-aluminum-pole/

 

I think it would be important to have aluminum poles.  We don't want a row of lightening rods beside us when we're at the telescope.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 02 June 2020 - 01:11 PM.


#3 Sarkikos

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 01:14 PM

To attach the shielding material to the poles, I could sew two vertical lines of Velcro along the right and left sides of the material.  Overlap the edges of two sheets of the shielding around a pole, and secure with the Velcro.  This would provide a light-tight connection that would not be easily detached by the wind.

 

The placement of the poles and shielding material would be determined by which section(s) of the sky I'd like to observe on a particular night.  Maybe I could even set up a little shed or bench box near the pole line to store the poles and shielding between observing sessions.  I wouldn't have to drag the stuff out of the garage.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 02 June 2020 - 01:29 PM.


#4 barbarosa

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 01:34 PM

 

I think it would be important to have aluminum poles.  We don't want a row of lightening rods beside us when we're at the telescope.

An interesting project. I may be a bit slow this morning but why  wouldn't aluminum poles be lighting rods? And why would you be worried about lightning strikes while at the scope? My understanding is that lightning is usually associated with big dark clouds.



#5 Sarkikos

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 01:40 PM

An interesting project. I may be a bit slow this morning but why  wouldn't aluminum poles be lighting rods? And why would you be worried about lightning strikes while at the scope? My understanding is that lightning is usually associated with big dark clouds.

I thought that lightening would only be attracted to ferrous and copper materials, not aluminum.  Maybe I'm wrong?  

 

Yes, I wouldn't intend to be outside observing under big dark clouds.  But weather can change pretty quickly in this area.

 

Mike



#6 Sarkikos

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 01:44 PM

3pcs-4-8ft long Fiberglass Telescoping Threaded Paint Roller Extension Pole  https://www.amazon.c...g/dp/B07BMMV113

 

Mike



#7 TOMDEY

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 01:46 PM

Yep... whatever helps. The IES and IDA technical terms are ~Light Trespass / Veiling Glare~, just one component of Light Pollution. The down-scatter sky brightness component, of course... there is absolutely nothing you can do about it... other than move to a darker region.    Tom



#8 jeffreym

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 01:49 PM

Here is my "observing blind" 12' on three sides (not square as it does not need to be).

This picture is the thing partly built.

The poles stay, they are in the ground about 6".  I just pluck them out and put them back when mowing.

the top rails are 1" PVC and fittings, no glue just pushed together.  Six 6' long sections.

The sides are for a 12x12 pop-up canopy from Northern Tool.  They have Velcro straps.

the sides pack into a small duffel bag.  The 6 pole sections lean in a corner of the garage until needed.

 

Jeff

Attached Thumbnails

  • Obseratory blind partial.jpg

Edited by jeffreym, 02 June 2020 - 01:50 PM.


#9 Sarkikos

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 01:52 PM

Yep... whatever helps. The IES and IDA technical terms are ~Light Trespass / Veiling Glare~, just one component of Light Pollution. The down-scatter sky brightness component, of course... there is absolutely nothing you can do about it... other than move to a darker region.    Tom

I have moved to a darker region.  This a Bortle 4.  My other house is in a Bortle 7.5.   A state park is only 15 minutes away in the Bortle 4, with a nice open field shielded from light.  But I would like to improve observing at my house.  In the backyard I can hit 21.16.  The front yard is exposed to glare from the neighbor's light.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 02 June 2020 - 01:53 PM.


#10 Sarkikos

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 01:59 PM

These might be tall enough.  DocaPole 6-24 Foot Extension Pole  https://www.amazon.c...2dDbGljaz10cnVl

 

:grin:

Mike



#11 jeffreym

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 01:59 PM

The stakes in the picture are $7 each 96" long.

https://www.lowes.co...take/1000489847


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#12 Sarkikos

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 02:04 PM

The stakes in the picture are $7 each 96" long.

https://www.lowes.co...take/1000489847

Those are cheap enough for experimenting.

 

Mike



#13 jeffreym

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 02:04 PM

I actually have that pole (DocaPole 6-24 Foot Extension Pole) for hanging Xmas lights.  It will extend 24' but it would snap off in a second if you hung a light barrier from it and got a 2mph wind.

 

I think you want to keep it as close as you can stand and as short as will work.

 

If the wind is above 10mph I don't put mine up.

 

Jeff


Edited by jeffreym, 02 June 2020 - 02:07 PM.

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#14 Sarkikos

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 02:06 PM

One thing I want to avoid is tie-downs, like tents have.  If the pole is sturdy enough and secured well-enough in the ground, you don't need to bother with tie-downs.  I had a tent once.  I used it once.  Then I gave it away.  Too much work.  

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 02 June 2020 - 02:09 PM.


#15 jeffreym

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 02:06 PM

Those are cheap enough for experimenting.

 

Mike

Mine have been in the ground for 2 years now, no issues.

 

The short extensions at the top add a little needed height and make it easier to attach to the poles.

Jeff


Edited by jeffreym, 02 June 2020 - 02:06 PM.

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#16 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 02:28 PM

Lightning rods in substations are frequently aluminum poles, due to not rusting, and better conductivity than steel.

 

Mike,

I have built some shields for wind, to be attached to the side walls of my observatory.  They fit into sockets in the walls.  I made them with 1/2 inch electrical (EMT) conduit, and screwed tarps to the conduit with sheet metal screws.  The tarps roll up onto the conduit, and store in the rafters when not in use.  You could make similar shields for lights, and attach them between posts on or near your property line.  You might want to use bigger EMT, maybe 3/4 or 1 inch for taller shields.  Mine fit into sockets drilled into 2x4 plates attached to the walls, two plates per conduit.  Your shields probably don't need to go all the way to the ground, btw.


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#17 Sarkikos

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 06:42 AM

They were using aluminum as house wiring when the price of copper went up. 

 

Mike



#18 Sarkikos

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 06:45 AM

Electrical (EMT) Conduit

 

https://www.google.c...iw=1920&bih=975

 

So far I only see 10' or 5' lengths.  Too long or too short.  I guess I could order 10' sections shipped to my house and then cut to 7' or 8'.  In any case, I'll need to bring out a step stool so I can attach the shielding material.  (I could store a folding step stool in the bench box along with the EMTs and shielding.)

 

Now will any vendor ship the stuff?  Yes, Lowe's will deliver. https://www.lowes.co...Conduit/3129621

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 03 June 2020 - 07:14 AM.


#19 Sarkikos

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 07:04 AM

What could I stick into the ground as a secure base for the EMTs?

 

Sigma Electric ProConnex 3/4-in Compression Connector https://www.lowes.co...Fitting/1100705

 

Could I attach the connector to a shorter length of EMT, insert that into the ground, and have a secure base for an 8' length of EMT?

 

Looks like I need to visit Lowe's and see how these parts connect and how I can use them.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 03 June 2020 - 07:13 AM.


#20 Sarkikos

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 07:07 AM

I could probably find a cap for an eyepiece or other astronomy equipment to fit the top of the compression connector, to prevent dirt from falling into the connector.  These compression connectors need to be at or slightly below grade to prevent snagging with the lawn mower, or having someone trip over them.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 03 June 2020 - 07:09 AM.


#21 Sarkikos

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 07:17 AM

The advantage to the stakes (post #11) is that they have a sharp point to insert them into the ground.  I wouldn't need to screw them into a receptacle in the ground.  I could just spear the stakes in wherever I want to.  They are 3/4" diameter, like the EMTs I was looking at.

 

OK, I'll probably try out the stakes first.  I like simple and easy.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 03 June 2020 - 07:20 AM.


#22 Sarkikos

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 07:22 AM

Now what can I use for shielding material?  Tarps?  How to attach them to the stakes?  Velcro strips?  How do I keep the shielding material from slipping down the stakes?  Secure it to the top of the stakes somehow?

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 03 June 2020 - 07:23 AM.


#23 jcj380

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 07:37 AM

I use black polyester grommet top shower curtains.  Very light weight, mold resistant, machine washable if ever needed, and take up very little storage space when folded.  And they're cheap.

 

Downside is that you might need a double layer or have to fold one over on itself if the lights are really bright and they can sail in the wind if you don't weight down the bottoms.   If they do move in a breeze, they don't crinkle and crunch like tarps can - just a soft whisper - if sound matters to you.


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#24 Sarkikos

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 12:13 PM

If tarps, where should I get them?

 

Harbor Freight Tools is where I've bought tarps before.  Cheap. 

 

This is a good size for a temporary light shield between stakes or poles:

 

7 Ft. 4 In. X 9 Ft. 6 In. Blue All Purpose/Weather Resistant Tarp $4.99  https://www.harborfr...paulin-877.html

 

One of these could be all I need for an observing session.

 

The tarp's weight is 1.75 lb.  Shouldn't the two 8' stakes be able to hold that tarp upright without any tie-downs?

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 03 June 2020 - 12:19 PM.


#25 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 12:18 PM

The tarps that are silvery on one side and brown or black on the other side are better at blocking light.   The blue tarps don't block much light.  I know from back when I made up light shields.


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