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Giving Out Binoculars During Outreach

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#1 zjc26138

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 11:12 AM

I'm slowly collecting a stable of binoculars. Most are vintage, but all are usable. Some are really nice vintage (I might keep some of those).

 

My plan is to give out binoculars to people on a first come first serve basis. My little way of giving back to the community.  In an ideal situation I'd be able to give out tripods as well, but the bank account isn't ready for that yet. :lol:

 

Though I could give out some literature on the best objects to view with said binos.

 

That leads me to this question. Would I have to have some kind of disclaimer when I give the binos out that says "Do not point these at the Sun, or risk injury"   Or something along those lines.

 

 

Want to be sure to cover my basis in the sue-happy world we live in.

 

 

Thanks!

 

Zach


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#2 wrvond

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 11:36 AM

We had friends over a while back for a "mini outreach". I gave each of them a red flashlight and their own 10x50 binos to keep. They were thrilled and amazed. The binos didn't come to me with any warnings, and I didn't see a need to provide any written warnings either.

 

If you're concerned, I'd suggest making or finding a video demonstrating the effects of the sun through a telescope or binoculars to show as part of your outreach. Far more effective than just telling them. I remember seeing a video showing a pig's eye held up in front of an eyepiece back during the '17 solar eclipse.


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#3 lee14

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 11:38 AM

You may just want to include a basic information sheet with each, i.e. how to focus when individual focusing is an option, and the selected list you've already mentioned (perhaps by season). A warning about not using them for solar viewing could be added.

 

Lee


Edited by lee14, 27 October 2021 - 11:39 AM.

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#4 zjc26138

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 11:42 AM

Thanks for the input guys, it is appreciated! 


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#5 wrvond

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 11:45 AM

You may just want to include a basic information sheet with each, i.e. how to focus when individual focusing is an option, and the selected list you've already mentioned (perhaps by season). A warning about not using them for solar viewing could be added.

 

Lee

To me, the over-riding consideration is the health of the people using these (or similar) devices. Including a statement about the danger of looking at the sun doesn't cost you anything and may prevent harm to a kid.

Speaking of kids - I'd be sure to give them to a parent and let them give the binos to their kid.


Edited by wrvond, 27 October 2021 - 11:46 AM.

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#6 iwannabswiss

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 12:10 PM

Despite your good intentions, I'd be willing to bet though, even with a warning provided, lawsuits could be abound.  Our club has insurance to protect us in case an incident occurs during an event, however, I don't know how that applies to loaned or given out equipment.  If you're part of a club, I'd recommend checking.


Edited by iwannabswiss, 27 October 2021 - 12:10 PM.

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#7 B 26354

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 12:18 PM

No idea about the legality aspect... but along with your "Thought I could give out some literature on the best objects to view with said binos?"....

 

In my nearly seven decades of using binoculars and telescopes for astronomical and terrestrial observation, I've found that most people have no idea about how to actually use or adjust a pair of binoculars to match their eyes' spatial and visual characteristics. They haven't ever had any reason to consider the facts that everyone's interpupillary distance (IPD) is different, and that the visual characteristics of each of their eyes is also different... so it doesn't commonly occur to most people that a pair of binoculars is designed to allow for adjustment of those characteristics.

 

For those reasons, whenever I'm about to hand a pair of binoculars to someone whom I don't know, I always first ask them if they know how to adjust them properly, to match their eyesight. 95% of the time, I'm greeted with a blank stare.

 

I think that coming up with a list of things for them to look at would be difficult, since you'll have no idea under what sort of light-pollution conditions the recipient will be using the binoculars. Perhaps a reference to Touring the Universe through Binoculars, or a similar reference book, would prove more useful.

 

But a simple one-page explanation (and maybe a diagram or two) of how to first adjust the binoculars' IPD, and then how to focus the left-eye view with the central focus-wheel and then the right-eye view with the right-eyepiece's diopter adjustment, would be hugely beneficial. I probably would also include an explanation of the magnification-times-aperture designation that all binoculars have... because again, most people have no idea what "seven-power-thirty-five" means.

 

And of course, at the very top of this one-page document, in large, bold, red capital-letters, you could print "RISK OF INJURY OR BLINDNESS! NEVER POINT THIS INSTRUMENT AT THE SUN!"

 

biggrin.png


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#8 eyeoftexas

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 12:26 PM

 

Speaking of kids - I'd be sure to give them to a parent and let them give the binos to their kid.

My one suggestion would be to reserve them for families and those with kids old enough to use them, rather than the first come, first served route.  Overall, however, this will be a very nice gesture on your part.  Excellent job!


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#9 zjc26138

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 01:35 PM

No idea about the legality aspect... but along with your "Thought I could give out some literature on the best objects to view with said binos?"....

 

In my nearly seven decades of using binoculars and telescopes for astronomical and terrestrial observation, I've found that most people have no idea about how to actually use or adjust a pair of binoculars to match their eyes' spatial and visual characteristics. They haven't ever had any reason to consider the facts that everyone's interpupillary distance (IPD) is different, and that the visual characteristics of each of their eyes is also different... so it doesn't commonly occur to most people that a pair of binoculars is designed to allow for adjustment of those characteristics.

 

For those reasons, whenever I'm about to hand a pair of binoculars to someone whom I don't know, I always first ask them if they know how to adjust them properly, to match their eyesight. 95% of the time, I'm greeted with a blank stare.

 

I think that coming up with a list of things for them to look at would be difficult, since you'll have no idea under what sort of light-pollution conditions the recipient will be using the binoculars. Perhaps a reference to Touring the Universe through Binoculars, or a similar reference book, would prove more useful.

 

But a simple one-page explanation (and maybe a diagram or two) of how to first adjust the binoculars' IPD, and then how to focus the left-eye view with the central focus-wheel and then the right-eye view with the right-eyepiece's diopter adjustment, would be hugely beneficial. I probably would also include an explanation of the magnification-times-aperture designation that all binoculars have... because again, most people have no idea what "seven-power-thirty-five" means.

 

And of course, at the very top of this one-page document, in large, bold, red capital-letters, you could print "RISK OF INJURY OR BLINDNESS! NEVER POINT THIS INSTRUMENT AT THE SUN!"

 

biggrin.png

 

Yeah my plan is to explain how to use the binos in said document. I figure some info is better than no info. :)

 

As for what conditions people will observe under, most of the area is in an orange/yellow zone, so I'm fairly confident in providing them an object list as well as referencing binocular observing books.

 

The risk of injury is my first line item. :lol:


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#10 zjc26138

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 01:38 PM

My one suggestion would be to reserve them for families and those with kids old enough to use them, rather than the first come, first served route.  Overall, however, this will be a very nice gesture on your part.  Excellent job!

 

Yeah I agree with reserving them for families or at most I'd give a couple of pairs to a family depending on size.

 

Thanks!  I love sharing my love of astronomy to as many people as possible. One of my nicknames in my town is "The Astronomy Guy" due to my past outreach events and always sharing astro photos on one of our communities fb pages.


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#11 CltFlyboy

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Posted 28 October 2021 - 07:45 AM

How about getting some inexpensive thin foil stickers that say "Don't point towards the sun" on them that you can put on each pair? Since it's outreach and you aren't worried about the physical beauty of the binocs, it would be an easy, simple, and cheap disclaimer.

 

Btw, I love your idea. I would suggest though so way of prioritizing who gets them that takes into account if the recipient is truly passionate/curious or if they're just there to snag binocs.


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#12 zjc26138

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Posted 28 October 2021 - 08:47 AM

How about getting some inexpensive thin foil stickers that say "Don't point towards the sun" on them that you can put on each pair? Since it's outreach and you aren't worried about the physical beauty of the binocs, it would be an easy, simple, and cheap disclaimer.

 

Btw, I love your idea. I would suggest though so way of prioritizing who gets them that takes into account if the recipient is truly passionate/curious or if they're just there to snag binocs.

Great idea about the stickers!

 

I also agree about figuring out who really was interested.

 

I generally make my outreach announcements in one of our communities facbook pages (about 7k members compared to our cities pop of 19k). In the announcement I would not mention the binoculars, and basically have them tucked away out of view during the outreach.


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#13 B 26354

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Posted 28 October 2021 - 09:58 AM

In the announcement I would not mention the binoculars, and basically have them tucked away out of view during the outreach.

I agree. "Advertising" a binocular giveaway could be a recipe for disaster.

 

I think perhaps what I'd do, is just keep one or two of the "really nice vintage" pairs "in view" and available for use by participants... with the others out of sight.

 

It's always been pretty easy to tell who's really been "hooked", and has become sincerely interested in learning more... and it's those folks that I'd quietly talk to. Perhaps in the spirit of "demonstration", I'd say something like, "Yeah, those are pretty nice, aren't they? Let's see what you think of these..." and have them try the ones you'll possibly be giving to them.

 

I grew up thirty miles southeast of Steubenville, by the way... and I commend you for doing this level of outreach in an area that is often starved for clear night-time skies. Great work!   waytogo.gif


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#14 zjc26138

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Posted 28 October 2021 - 11:10 AM

I agree. "Advertising" a binocular giveaway could be a recipe for disaster.

 

I think perhaps what I'd do, is just keep one or two of the "really nice vintage" pairs "in view" and available for use by participants... with the others out of sight.

 

It's always been pretty easy to tell who's really been "hooked", and has become sincerely interested in learning more... and it's those folks that I'd quietly talk to. Perhaps in the spirit of "demonstration", I'd say something like, "Yeah, those are pretty nice, aren't they? Let's see what you think of these..." and have them try the ones you'll possibly be giving to them.

 

I grew up thirty miles southeast of Steubenville, by the way... and I commend you for doing this level of outreach in an area that is often starved for clear night-time skies. Great work!   waytogo.gif

I like all of those idea!

 

Always great to meet someone else from the Ohio Valley!


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#15 Katharine

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Posted 16 November 2021 - 06:58 PM

I disagree with the idea of only giving them to kids/people with kids.  There are definitely people who get into the hobby as adults, and they matter too.  Some of them may in fact have once been kids who didn't have the opportunity to have someone introduce them when they were young.


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