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.