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Excess light at outreach.

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#1 oldtimer

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Posted 21 September 2022 - 10:06 AM

Our club attempted to do a public outreach at a suburban library last night. I say 'attempted' as the library staff set up a reserved space in their parking lot for us. As if Bortle 7 skies were not bad enough the spot was brightly illuminated with flood lights. With a lot of eye strain, I was finally able to do a two star alignment with Vega and Arcturus.  With my 5" RFT refractor I tried a couple of bright clusters (NGC 6633 and M39.) but what I discovered is that with all the bright lights My (and the publics) pupils were shrunk so badly that the stars were too faint to be seen . I talked to our coordinator about why the lights could not be turned off at least in our little spot. He said the library official said they must remain on for safety and insurance purposes. 

 

Gary (oldtimer). 


Edited by oldtimer, 21 September 2022 - 10:07 AM.


#2 jimr2

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Posted 21 September 2022 - 10:36 AM

Well, if they can't turn off their own lights off for a star party they requested there, then I guess they won't be having anymore star parties there! One would think that it would be obvious that trying to see some faint things in the dark would be incompatible w/ bright lights shining over one's head, but apparently not so obvious to all! Anyhow, don't see what else you can do, other then to take your telescope(s) elsewhere for star parties....

 

Good luck!


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#3 oldtimer

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Posted 21 September 2022 - 10:42 AM

" One would think it would be obvious..."  It is amazing  how uneducated some people are or is it that they just don' care or see any relevance toward astronomy. Also when we pointed out the space station going overs a middle aged man uttered "What a waste of money."  BUT then there were some very excited children who were thrilled to see the rings of Saturn.. so maybe there is hope.


Edited by oldtimer, 21 September 2022 - 10:48 AM.

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#4 havasman

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Posted 21 September 2022 - 10:43 AM

Yes, that's the nature of the beast for some locations. We often found those places were where we would have the largest crowds. Those sites were then best scheduled when there was plenty of moon to show the folks. Hopefully you had the planets to show. We always though it our opportunity to show whatever we could and try and interject some knowledge of what the light robs us of. No, the public doesn't really care. Because they don't know. So we do outreach to try and show them and hopefully they might come to care a bit.

 

We always discussed setup locations and lighting with the site personnel well before the events. Then we could inform participants of what to prepare for. We had events at libraries, school football stadium parking lots, the boy scout headquarters and at the public park in the middle of downtown Dallas. All were too bright for observing, drew large crowds and were very successful. It's not observing, it's outreach.

 

___________________

edit

We had a checklist we sent to the site personnel for them to return to us that clarified the availability of power and distance to a plug, lighting conditions and potential for control, surfaces, slopes, availability of bathrooms, anticipated crowd sizes and ages, availability of supervision for young people and availability and authority of site personnel during the session. It also told of our few requirements such as assuring that sprinkler systems were turned off. When returned the checklists were distributed to our participants so they could be aware of the anticipated situation.


Edited by havasman, 21 September 2022 - 01:39 PM.

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#5 Diana N

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Posted 21 September 2022 - 03:12 PM

At extremely bright sites, limit your targets to the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and consider doing a daytime solar viewing outreach (with proper filters, of course!).  Anything else just won't work.


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#6 Diana N

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Posted 21 September 2022 - 03:13 PM

Well, if they can't turn off their own lights off for a star party they requested there, then I guess they won't be having anymore star parties there! One would think that it would be obvious that trying to see some faint things in the dark would be incompatible w/ bright lights shining over one's head, but apparently not so obvious to all! 

A lot of non-astronomy people think that telescopes can see through light pollution (because they don't understand how telescopes work).



#7 havasman

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Posted 21 September 2022 - 03:54 PM

lol.gif

 

Yep. We had an event for hundreds of girl scouts, showed up with our scopes that we showed and explained to all the attendees and then declared the event over. The people got funny looks on their faces and one asked why we weren't going to let them see objects like we'd promised. She understood better when we pointed out the thick overcast sky she'd not considered.


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#8 DSOGabe

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Posted 21 September 2022 - 04:28 PM

Been there, done that on a couple of outreach events at a library. 

Pretty much limited it to the quarter moon and couple of planets that were out. I attempted at least a couple of brighter open clusters but it didn't pan out at all. 



#9 HagglePig420

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Posted 22 September 2022 - 07:42 PM

Yeah... i find that DSOs are hit or miss with people anyway.. Too many people just expect to see a vivid Hubble photograph through the eyepiece... Its frustrating when we schedule a star party and its not until we get there and tons of people show up that they tell us the lights can't go out.. People are certainly more likely to appreciate DSO observing under darker skies, we hold events at a Bortle 4 site in the summer and that usually goes over very well.

#10 jgraham

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Posted 22 September 2022 - 07:43 PM

We occasionally get outreach locations like this. We go after the usual bright targets (moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Albireo, etc.) plus an EAA system. The EAA scope punches through just about anything. We recently did an outreach on a campus quad under bright lights. With the EAA we were watching M51!


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#11 Astroman007

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Posted 01 October 2022 - 06:22 PM

Our club attempted to do a public outreach at a suburban library last night. I say 'attempted' as the library staff set up a reserved space in their parking lot for us. As if Bortle 7 skies were not bad enough the spot was brightly illuminated with flood lights. With a lot of eye strain, I was finally able to do a two star alignment with Vega and Arcturus.  With my 5" RFT refractor I tried a couple of bright clusters (NGC 6633 and M39.) but what I discovered is that with all the bright lights My (and the publics) pupils were shrunk so badly that the stars were too faint to be seen . I talked to our coordinator about why the lights could not be turned off at least in our little spot. He said the library official said they must remain on for safety and insurance purposes. 

 

Gary (oldtimer). 

Not to mention, you need some light to see the stars and things by. Right? Right?

 

Night vision must be a myth invented by the conspiratorial toe-stubbing cabal, I assume. One stub equals a dollar, like YouTube.

 

 

" One would think it would be obvious..."  It is amazing  how uneducated some people are or is it that they just don' care or see any relevance toward astronomy. Also when we pointed out the space station going overs a middle aged man uttered "What a waste of money."  BUT then there were some very excited children who were thrilled to see the rings of Saturn.. so maybe there is hope.

Wow. Well, at least Bubba's got it all figured out and is not afraid to show it. All hail the prophet of the new age! Quick, before he can teach the children!

 

 

lol.gif

 

Yep. We had an event for hundreds of girl scouts, showed up with our scopes that we showed and explained to all the attendees and then declared the event over. The people got funny looks on their faces and one asked why we weren't going to let them see objects like we'd promised. She understood better when we pointed out the thick overcast sky she'd not considered.

You mean to say you're scope isn't powerful enough to see through the clouds? Golly gee whiz, what a useless piece of junk. I had to reschedule my yoga class for this.




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