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A solution to open star parties to the public?

beginner clubs eyepieces observing observatory outreach sketching
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#1 Oregon-raybender

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 03:01 PM

I was asked if I had any ideas about how clean eyepieces after each person for public and school viewing.
Since many clubs are trying to find ways to getting back to star parties and education classes. What would work?

I have suggested a video eyepiece is one way, display on a large screen. Many exploring groups are doing it.
Like the Nautilus live. The scientist can point out areas of interest and worth noting. 

But the clubs and public would like to get back to hands on viewing.

 

OK, I decided to think out of the box. I remember many decades ago when I worked in R/D as a optical engineer.
I was asked to find a simple solution for some optics the staff was working on.
 
I recalled I used food wrap (Saran wrap) to cover some lenses, but still work optically.
 
So last night I tried it on my 6 inch GSO scope and 25 mm eyepiece. Made a PVC tube with the wrap
across the eye lens. Looked at some trees and won't you know it. It works. The eyepiece can be
covered and still perform. I just checked out Jupiter and Saturn with the 25mm and 9 mm with
the wrap simply across the top (eyelens). NO issues, the moons and bands were visible. Next
I tried Saturn, again no issues, Rings were fine, Rea and Titian were visible.
 
I think this may solve the issue of cleaning the eyepiece. Make a PVC holder that slips over the eyepiece
for each person. I can think of a table with a batch of these, after each person, replace with a fresh one.
Make sets up for the number of visitors (based on the limit in the dome, may 25?) with extras. Have fresh sets
made up, in one box and the used ones in the other. After each viewing cycle, wash and replace the wrap.
Use gloves when making the sets and removing the cover.
 
The wrap is not perfect, there were areas where it would be an issue, but I found there is a lot of clear spots.
Remember, it's the size of the exit pupil ( 5-6mm) of the (25mm) eyepiece that has to be just good enough.
 
The eyepiece appears to be dirty with the wrap on it. Beyond that works fine. I think for the common
objects like the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn should be OK for first time observers and kids.
 
Think about trying it yourself. I used Kirkland brand (Costco) for today's test.
 
Maybe a solution in the future?  Cheaper than a glass window. 

Not sure if it meets health standards, but it's worth a try? It's use to protect food?  Can someone answer this question?

 
Let me know your thoughts. I attached some images of the project.
 
Starry Nightswaytogo.gif

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#2 chanrobi

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 03:28 PM

I don' think the eyepiece is the problem, it's the stuff the people are breathing on...


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#3 TOMDEY

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 03:57 PM

Very nice! It subliminally reminds me of something... but I just can't quite place it...    Tom


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#4 Oregon-raybender

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 04:00 PM

Thanks for your input.

 

Eye splash was one of the issues that was of concern. I did not address the mask, distancing, limits of the number of folks.

Yes, breathing on the scope is of concern. Cover the focuser and knobs. So far there have been positive reviews. But like

it's not a total fix, just one of many. All bets are off if a lock down happens.

 

If there is a concern, than video is way to go. A good example is here, where video works and scientists can explain what is happening and what people are seeing. 

 

Gee, Tom yes it was someplace, I think I recall a old article on using special wrap as a window for domes. It was in S&T decades ago. However this is a simple solution using common materials. I was surprised how well it did work, the smaller exit pupil is the reason, <25mm seems to work "good" enough.

 

I also attached what SunRiver Observatory in Oregon is doing. It goes into many details on how they are handling it.

 

Starry Nightswaytogo.gif

 

https://nautiluslive.org/

 

https://snco.org/know/


Edited by Oregon-raybender, 20 October 2020 - 04:07 PM.


#5 Migwan

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 04:00 PM

Convenient and probably effective.   With proper screening of all guests and requiring masks, I don't see why not.   jd



#6 sunnyday

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 04:01 PM

people touch the telescope, breathe on the telescope, not obvious to find a solution.


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#7 TOMDEY

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 05:34 PM

It's creative, costs nothing, common materials, harmless... therefore worth trying.

 

On the other hand, one can strongly argue that although mitigation is reasonably possible and effective, nevertheless absolutely assured prevention is unrealistic and borders on obsessive. After this Pandemic becomes no more than a distant memory of years past, just another component of our annual flu shot... we may well be left with a pathological epidemic of abject hypochondriac germophobes. It is possible to go overboard holed up behind masks, sanitized hands, forever six-foot radius personal space, handshakeless, hugless, kissless, and permanently isolated... not good.     Tom


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#8 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 05:38 PM

<snip>... we may well be left with a pathological epidemic of abject hypochondriac germophobes. It is possible to go overboard holed up behind masks, sanitized hands, forever six-foot radius personal space, handshakeless, hugless, kissless, and permanently isolated... not good.     Tom

I seriously doubt that public outreach will ever be viable again, at least not for 5-10 years.


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#9 TOMDEY

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 06:14 PM

I seriously doubt that public outreach will ever be viable again, at least not for 5-10 years.

Seriously, that's my fear, too! And it may permeate everything, not just our little astronomical nook.    Tom


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#10 chanrobi

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 08:35 PM

In F1, the drivers have a multiple, removeable clear plasic skin over their helmet -- something similiar here would work in a general sense.
 

Probably even just a big square plexiglass thing held up over he eyepiece that covers, that and most of the telescope. To reset for someone else, you'd simply spray with disinfectant and wipe it down.

 

Similar to the partition type deals you see in restaurants and food service places now. Whatever you get has to be easily cleanable, and quickly easily cleanable if people are taking turns looking through it.

 

As this is a U.S based sites, you guys are honestly the world leaders in getting screwed by corona right now. You'd need max supervision and max safety to do this, if it is even possible



#11 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 08:50 PM

Seriously, that's my fear, too! And it may permeate everything, not just our little astronomical nook.    Tom

I feel the same way about star parties, too.  They may never go back to the way they were in 2019 and before, if they are ever held again at all.


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#12 mg07

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 11:18 PM

I don't know. Following the developing science around COVID it seems that it's basically never spread through surface contact (otherwise grocery stores would have caused huge outbreaks), and rarely spread outdoors except under very crowded conditions. All the worry about cleaning scopes and eyepieces doesn't seem to match the actual threat of transmission. Keep people outdoors and spread out, wear masks, and one person at the scope at a time seems more than enough to prevent risk of a serious outbreak at a star party or outreach event.
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#13 Napp

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 11:47 PM

I don't know. Following the developing science around COVID it seems that it's basically never spread through surface contact (otherwise grocery stores would have caused huge outbreaks), and rarely spread outdoors except under very crowded conditions. All the worry about cleaning scopes and eyepieces doesn't seem to match the actual threat of transmission. Keep people outdoors and spread out, wear masks, and one person at the scope at a time seems more than enough to prevent risk of a serious outbreak at a star party or outreach event.

I tend to agree as far the disease apparently not being spread through surface contact.  However, the eye is different.  Direct contact of eye fluids to the surface which following eyes may come into direct contact with is too much risk for me.  I will continue not sharing views through scopes for the foreseeable future.


Edited by Napp, 20 October 2020 - 11:48 PM.

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#14 TOMDEY

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 12:58 AM

We could host Star Parties with impunity... provided everyone keeps their eyes shut. This has the further advantage that we will all be ideally dark-adapted.    Tom


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#15 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 06:14 AM

It's creative, costs nothing, common materials, harmless... therefore worth trying.

 

On the other hand, one can strongly argue that although mitigation is reasonably possible and effective, nevertheless absolutely assured prevention is unrealistic and borders on obsessive. After this Pandemic becomes no more than a distant memory of years past, just another component of our annual flu shot... we may well be left with a pathological epidemic of abject hypochondriac germophobes. It is possible to go overboard holed up behind masks, sanitized hands, forever six-foot radius personal space, handshakeless, hugless, kissless, and permanently isolated... not good.     Tom

 

We are not there yet.  

 

Where we are is that the numbers are growing again.  

 

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven"

 

This is the season for being extra careful.  The season for star parties will return.

 

Jon  


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#16 Pauls72

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 08:40 AM

We had lots of ideas for doing outreach that we thought where good and safe. One of the doctors in our club said all you need is one person with Covid without a mask to cough or sneeze and the whole area will be contaminated.

 

About the only reasonably safe thing you can do is do some EAA and have the object on a computer screen. This way no one touches anything.



#17 TOMDEY

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 08:42 AM

One can convincingly argue that we shouldn't drive to work, because we might get injured or killed on the way to the forum. The problem is that without work, we would soon have no cars, houses, food or clothing. So instead, we have concocted bumpers, crumple-zones, safety glass, seat belts, air bags, speed limits, driver competency certification, auto insurance, first-responders, and hospitals. That's not an ideal solution, but realistic mitigation. Society can support precious few bubble-boys. If that becomes the norm, the entire house of cards collapses.    Tom


Edited by TOMDEY, 21 October 2020 - 08:43 AM.

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#18 spereira

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 10:43 AM

Please folks, let's not drift off into discussion about pandemic do's and don't's in general.  This topic is about a specific idea that might assist with some public viewing.  Opinions and discussion about that are fine, but general discussion about the pandemic or how to protect oneself in general are not.  As a reminder, the general discussion about the pandemic can be found here in the OTO.

 

smp


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#19 Oregon-raybender

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 12:35 PM

As an engineer I was asked how to solve one issue using simple and available equipment and method. I offered a possible course of action

if folks wanted to host a star party. I think if this is very limited to small or private groups, that are known to you, family and friends or even by appointment if caution steps are taken. On the larger scale, many factors could and will have to solved before we get back to what is the new normal. Yes it could be next year or 5 years (hope not). I for one being a former safety officer for large companies, believe I am well aware of

what human behavioral actions are. For my own personal safety as well, I am one of those on the short list.

 

We need to think out of the box when the time comes when we finally are allowed to start again. What I suggested may solve one issue. What about others. I think video is one step in the right direction. As I suggested, many universities and exploring groups are offering live viewing

of what they are doing. Perhaps for clubs this could be a start. We are zooming all over the place, work, club meetings, and lectures. The idea is to get folks interested in the universe again. Many weather reporters are mentioning meteor showers or other celestial events, so the interest is

still there. The Mars encounter is going to waste, best viewing for decades for us in the north, loving it, but miss sharing with the public. So

why not zoom a view.

 

So put your thinking caps on, develop new and creative ways to have the public be reintroduced to the stars again, if and when the world

is ready. We have the wisdom and knowledge to figure out how to solve this. Test it out and let others know, I did.

 

Dec issue of S&T has reported on the eVscope. Sounds like one solution, others are electronic eyepiece or cameras on WiFi. This

would reduce contact to scope. As winter closes in, for now there will be less interest. But, it would be nice to sit in ones easy chair

with a cup of hot coco, scanning the sky with our remote scope and sharing it with world. We now have the tech to do so. I share

many very simple videos on my FB and LinkedIn accounts, often 500-800 people have watched them. That is a lot of reach.

 

Be safe, and have many

 

Starry Nightswaytogo.gif


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#20 Forward Scatter

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 01:20 PM

I was asked if I had any ideas about how clean eyepieces after each person for public and school viewing.
Since many clubs are trying to find ways to getting back to star parties and education classes. What would work?

I have suggested a video eyepiece is one way, display on a large screen. Many exploring groups are doing it.
Like the Nautilus live. The scientist can point out areas of interest and worth noting. 

But the clubs and public would like to get back to hands on viewing.

 

<...snip...>

Y'know, Ray, the poly wrap you show reminds me of the barrier wraps they use in the dental practices on the light fixture handles, drill handles, etc that cannot be sterilized, only sanitized. Made to be swapped out between patients. They use either a light stick-um adhesive or static cling to stick. May make it easier to use on an eyepiece and swap between viewers.



#21 Oregon-raybender

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 03:53 PM

I help understand what we are dealing with, I found a few papers on the eyepiece transmission of germs. After reading them, I get a sense all of us should have been cleaning the eyepieces a long time ago. There are some really bad bugs out there!

 

The main conclusions is 99% are killed using >70%  Alcohol. The studies were on bio labs and manufacturing

companies using scopes for inspect. These could be a guide, the answer of course it will be a while to get back to normal.

 

Be safe out there

 

Starry Nightswaytogo.gif

 

https://www.analytic...-for-users.html

 

https://www.leica-mi...e-a-microscope/

 

https://www.olympus-...our-microscope/

 

https://www.gla.ac.u...723419_smxx.pdf


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#22 DSOGabe

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 04:56 PM

At this point in time the major issue is the "Covid fatigue" factor. While this idea is an excellent possibility to help restart outreach, it seems to me that most people are having more and more trouble maintaining appropriate distances. So wiping down the scope become irrelevant. All one needs to do is listen to or read a news story about a party or some together and then there is a spike of infections that can be traced back to that moment. And for that there is nothing that can be done other than not creating the opportunity for gatherings, sadly. Especially if someone who is an anti-masker shows up and creates a confrontation, with it being far worse if that person also happens to be asymptomatic! 


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#23 mogur

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 07:48 PM

Just remember that 70% alcohol is 30% water! If you get it between glass elements it may cause mold to grow.


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