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What Is The Strangest Thing Someone Did/Tried To Do To Your Telescope At An Public Astronomy Outreach Event?

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#101 Forward Scatter

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Posted 17 March 2024 - 09:30 AM

wow. I dug deeper into the Jeremy Joseph Christian (train attacker) affair, and it gives a chilling reminder of what is possible.

 

You did exactly right; the precursor you described looked like it might parallel what happened there.

 

Bob

I really hated to bring up disturbing and tragic events to an otherwise mostly humorous thread. Coupled with the yahoos in hopped-up 4X4s with the big nighttime deer hunting light bars who cruise repeatedly through the parking area of our local state park dark site we use, just to "own" us after dark, heading out there is not really enjoyable experience. At least the last winter storm we had knocked down a lot of the trees surrounding our house, improving the horizons!


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#102 Bob Campbell

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Posted 17 March 2024 - 09:56 AM

I really hated to bring up disturbing and tragic events to an otherwise mostly humorous thread. Coupled with the yahoos in hopped-up 4X4s with the big nighttime deer hunting light bars who cruise repeatedly through the parking area of our local state park dark site we use, just to "own" us after dark, heading out there is not really enjoyable experience. At least the last winter storm we had knocked down a lot of the trees surrounding our house, improving the horizons!

If you truly believe that they cruise through your space with bright lights with the expressed purpose of harassing you, I would never return to that place.

 

I realize that some would point out about your rights, but seeing these guys are deer hunters (illegal btw to use spotlights) and have bedded pickup trucks they have the necessary skills literally to make you disappear.

 

Reminded me of the movie 'The Road' (excellent scary movie)  I'll post a picture from it and leave it at that since a picture is worth a thousand words.

 

 

theroad4x4.jpg

 

Bob


Edited by Bob Campbell, 17 March 2024 - 09:59 AM.

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#103 maroubra_boy

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Posted 21 March 2024 - 04:47 PM

Now, if you have both skill sets, an amateur astronomer AND a deer hunter, this can come in very handy to acquire some exotic bits of kit...  Just saying... flowerred.gif


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#104 Phil Cowell

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Posted 02 April 2024 - 10:40 PM

Last thing you want on a quiet night, Meal Team 6.

 

If you truly believe that they cruise through your space with bright lights with the expressed purpose of harassing you, I would never return to that place.

 

I realize that some would point out about your rights, but seeing these guys are deer hunters (illegal btw to use spotlights) and have bedded pickup trucks they have the necessary skills literally to make you disappear.

 

Reminded me of the movie 'The Road' (excellent scary movie)  I'll post a picture from it and leave it at that since a picture is worth a thousand words.

 

 

attachicon.gif theroad4x4.jpg

 

Bob


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#105 jakabasej8

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Posted 09 April 2024 - 08:28 AM

lol.gif lol.gif lol.gif

Why do people feel the compulsion to touch stuff that really they shouldn't touch?? They know better, but they still will touch the objective lens or corrector, or a painting or sculpture. I've seen plenty of people touch the eye lens of an eyepiece and they know NOT to do it, but there is this unstoppable urge to do it, & they quickly disappear into the ether when they realise what they have just done...

Sorry, but I won't subject my expensive gear to mascara, saliva, fingerprints or tomato sauce. Would do you well to control the chances of spreading pinkeye too with regular cleaning. Doesn't mean a crap image is on display. It means thinking a little more broadly in terms of pragmatism, which includes hygiene & cleaning.

It can be incredibly frustrating when people ignore basic etiquette and touch things they shouldn't, especially when it comes to delicate equipment like telescopes or artwork.


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#106 dnrmilspec

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Posted 09 April 2024 - 08:25 PM

It can be incredibly frustrating when people ignore basic etiquette and touch things they shouldn't, especially when it comes to delicate equipment like telescopes or artwork.

 

Imagine going to a star party where every person there would not let you focus the scope for your eyes.  It would be the last one you ever attended.  Yet there are people who tell people not to touch at star parties now.  It happened to me. I wanted to look through an Explore Scientific refractor and the owner (at a public star party) would not let me focus the scope.  When I reached for the focuser he snapped "don't touch the scope!!!"  So I wandered off, thoroughly embarrassed and thoroughly PO'ed.  Got in my car and went home.

 

All it takes is one person like that "operator" to turn someone off forever. 

 

People are welcome to tough my scope.  They are welcome to focus it for their own vision.  I bring the good stuff.  But if touching is not something one is  prepared to tolerate with politeness, one might consider a beater scope or staying home. 


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#107 Bob Campbell

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Posted 09 April 2024 - 08:34 PM

 When I reached for the focuser he snapped "don't touch the scope!!!"  So I wandered off, thoroughly embarrassed and thoroughly PO'ed.  Got in my car and went home.

 

All it takes is one person like that "operator" to turn someone off forever. 

 

People are welcome to tough my scope.  They are welcome to focus it for their own vision.  I bring the good stuff.  But if touching is not something one is  prepared to tolerate with politeness, one might consider a beater scope or staying home. 

didn't you explain that you are a seasoned amateur astronomer and apparently do not have the same refractive correction as he/she has?

 

Did the operator think that his precious scope should just be worshiped like a sacred calf?

 

Big difference in fingering a scope in non-essential ways and adjusting it for one's own optical situation.

 

Maybe you dodged a bullet there because the last person to look through it had pink eye.

 

Oddly, I have never been to a star party, partially for this reason. If I really wanted to look through it, I would have asked whether if it was OK to adjust the focus.

 

Edit: About a year ago, I was out in front of my house with my EAA setup and a dude drove by (closed subdevelopment) and asked whether he could look through the scope.

 

I told him it had no eyepiece so you couldn't look through it but you could look at the image I had displayed.

 

Somehow, he couldn't get his head around the fact that the image  on the TV was what the telescope was capturing. I think  he thought he was being  dissed and I didn't want him to look. Luckily he gave up still not realizing that the whatever up there was the real deal.

 

Bob


Edited by Bob Campbell, 09 April 2024 - 08:42 PM.

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#108 maroubra_boy

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Posted 09 April 2024 - 08:51 PM

Imagine going to a star party where every person there would not let you focus the scope for your eyes.  It would be the last one you ever attended.  Yet there are people who tell people not to touch at star parties now.  It happened to me. I wanted to look through an Explore Scientific refractor and the owner (at a public star party) would not let me focus the scope.  When I reached for the focuser he snapped "don't touch the scope!!!"  So I wandered off, thoroughly embarrassed and thoroughly PO'ed.  Got in my car and went home.

 

All it takes is one person like that "operator" to turn someone off forever. 

 

People are welcome to tough my scope.  They are welcome to focus it for their own vision.  I bring the good stuff.  But if touching is not something one is  prepared to tolerate with politeness, one might consider a beater scope or staying home. 

There are people on this forum that think this way, "DON'T TOUCH THE SCOPE!!!", at outreach events.  They think that somehow it is acceptable for people to view through a scope with a blurry image to their eyes.  But they would never accept such a blurry image for themselves.  Very curious.  Yes, why do outreach at all then, because they certainly don't give a stuff about their guests.  I can only surmise that outreach must be some sort of ego trip for them, big noting themselves in their own minds but in reality only come across as magnanimous as a fart in an elevator.

 

Like you, I encourage people to focus the scope to their eyes.  But I also stay close to every new person coming to my scope and just quietly say to them to not grab at the scope "because your pulse is enough to shake the scope", which is a positive spin on why not to grab at the scope, and then say if they need to focus to turn this little wheel (focuser knob).  They then gently touch the focuser knob and see straight away just how much the image shakes and it all makes sense why not to grab.  If it is one of my dobs, I have no problem showing guests how to move the scope too and they get a big thrill with this, seeing just how easy its action is and the mental gymnastics that takes place with the image movement is very quickly overcome.


Edited by maroubra_boy, 09 April 2024 - 08:52 PM.

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#109 David Knisely

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Posted 09 April 2024 - 10:10 PM

Re: the "Don't touch the scope!" commands.  Usually, this is when you are dealing with children who just need something to hold onto, and not because they might mess up the focus or try to do something nefarious with the scope.  With certain telescopes, a simple child's innocent grab will often send it well off-target, so when dealing with children at outreach, I like to provide them with a small step stool ladder that has a nice wide bar-like handle extension on the top end.  That way, they can hold onto the ladder's upper handle and not the telescope.  Even some adults appreciate having something low and convenient to hold onto, which is why I try and always bring along my short 2-step ladder with its top handle.  Indeed, for over 40 years, we have had three such small step ladders with handles on the deck at Hyde Observatory, along with a much larger movable platform stair with handles.  My primary outreach telescope (NexStar 9.25 GPS/XLT) is a robust fork-mounted unit on a heavy duty tripod, so a child holding onto it is unlikely to move it much, although the view might shake a bit.  However, if using my 100mm f/6 refractor on its GEM, I sometimes find myself gently saying, "Try not to touch the scope because it will move."  A short pleasant explanation-type request often goes a long way with younger members of the public.   Clear skies to you.

 

 2024EclipseHydeDeck1Small.JPG  


Edited by David Knisely, 09 April 2024 - 10:14 PM.

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#110 maroubra_boy

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Posted 09 April 2024 - 11:10 PM

Yep, a step ladder with a TALL handrail is the ultimate outreach accessory.  I have two that I use depending on the scope I am using.

 

The WORST step ladder is one with either no handrail or a handrail that is much too short like shown in the first pic below.  As soon as that scope is aimed higher than in this pic, that child will no longer be able to reach the handrail.  A step ladder with no handrail or too short a handrail is not a good option for anyone, child or adult.

 

The tall handrail is not just for kids but for adults too.  The third pic shows the stepladder I use with my 17.5" dob.  Its handrail is so tall I use it hang my sketching rig off it.  And I use the handrail myself at the scope and I don't seek any support from the scope.  The steps on this ladder are nice and deep so I am not trying to balance on a wee ledge.  It is very stable that I can lean into it comfortably with no fear of falling or over balancing.

 

But this is moving away from the theme of this thread.

Attached Thumbnails

  • BAD astro ladder.jpg
  • step ladder iv.jpeg
  • sketch rig set up (2).JPG

Edited by maroubra_boy, 09 April 2024 - 11:17 PM.

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#111 Phil Cowell

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Posted 09 April 2024 - 11:42 PM

I don’t put eyepieces in my scopes (unless you count one with NV) Only EAA most of the time and if someone touched the scope when operating I’d tell not too. Politely asking to put an eyepiece in the scope will be politely declined. I don’t use beater scopes. They can look at the output on the iPad though. Outreach doesn’t mean looking through scopes in many cases.

 

Imagine going to a star party where every person there would not let you focus the scope for your eyes.  It would be the last one you ever attended.  Yet there are people who tell people not to touch at star parties now.  It happened to me. I wanted to look through an Explore Scientific refractor and the owner (at a public star party) would not let me focus the scope.  When I reached for the focuser he snapped "don't touch the scope!!!"  So I wandered off, thoroughly embarrassed and thoroughly PO'ed.  Got in my car and went home.

 

All it takes is one person like that "operator" to turn someone off forever. 

 

People are welcome to tough my scope.  They are welcome to focus it for their own vision.  I bring the good stuff.  But if touching is not something one is  prepared to tolerate with politeness, one might consider a beater scope or staying home. 


Edited by Phil Cowell, 09 April 2024 - 11:46 PM.

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#112 maroubra_boy

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 10:07 AM

Phil, who's talking about EAA in outreach? The post you quoted is referring entirely to people looking through a scope, not look at a screen. I've done EAA at outreach too, but you've missed the context. Of course no one should need to touch the scope if you are showing stuff on a screen. One situation has nothing to do with the other.

#113 John the Space Traveler

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 11:13 AM

Yep, a step ladder with a TALL handrail is the ultimate outreach accessory.  I have two that I use depending on the scope I am using.

 

The WORST step ladder is one with either no handrail or a handrail that is much too short like shown in the first pic below.  As soon as that scope is aimed higher than in this pic, that child will no longer be able to reach the handrail.  A step ladder with no handrail or too short a handrail is not a good option for anyone, child or adult.

 

The tall handrail is not just for kids but for adults too.  The third pic shows the stepladder I use with my 17.5" dob.  Its handrail is so tall I use it hang my sketching rig off it.  And I use the handrail myself at the scope and I don't seek any support from the scope.  The steps on this ladder are nice and deep so I am not trying to balance on a wee ledge.  It is very stable that I can lean into it comfortably with no fear of falling or over balancing.

 

But this is moving away from the theme of this thread.

I completely agree with using tall step ladders for a variety of reasons.  First is safety for short people trying to peek into an eyepiece at an awkward height.  It does indeed give them something safe to hold onto rather than the telescope. I make sure I paint it a bright color so that they can easily see it.

 

Secondly, it forms a subtle psychological/physical barrier between them and the scope.  I can't afford a burner scope for public viewing, so I try to give them something to grab on to without touching the scope, and it keeps me from having to ask them not to touch it (I want them to have a nice experience).  Which brings me to my suggested investment for anybody doing public viewing -- an electric focuser.

 

Electric focusers are, in my opinion, indispensable for star parties.  Not everybody's eyes focus the same, so it's fair for somebody to ask to fix a blurry view.  Likewise, letting them use the focus controller allows them to "touch" the telescope without really touching it.  Kids in particular enjoy having that sense of control over their experience.  And of course, it speeds up moving people through the line because electric focusers don't shake the scope.  Due to inexperience the public often lacks a gentle touch, and so time gets wasted while they try to get fine focus with a shaky scope.


Edited by John the Space Traveler, 10 April 2024 - 11:14 AM.

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#114 Phil Cowell

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 11:45 AM

We’re doesn’t it say EAA in outreach. Ever use a pico projector with kids at outreach. 
Try it in the US. LP is real problem for sidewalk outreach for example. 
Grabby heads don’t care if it’s screen or eyepiece.

Did outreach for the eclipse here on Monday. 2 Seestars and not an eyepiece in sight it went very well.

Great group of folks no one grabbed kit. 

Phil, who's talking about EAA in outreach? The post you quoted is referring entirely to people looking through a scope, not look at a screen. I've done EAA at outreach too, but you've missed the context. Of course no one should need to touch the scope if you are showing stuff on a screen. One situation has nothing to do with the other.


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#115 maroubra_boy

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 03:59 PM

Good grief, man, READ my post properly.

 

Phil, who's talking about EAA in outreach? The post you quoted is referring entirely to people looking through a scope, not look at a screen. I've done EAA at outreach too, but you've missed the context. Of course no one should need to touch the scope if you are showing stuff on a screen. One situation has nothing to do with the other.

Good grief, man!  READ my post in its entirety instead of just the first sentence.



#116 Phil Cowell

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 04:46 PM

Read the context to the heading of the thread. Barclays Bankers, outreach isn’t just looking through eyepieces.

Even with a RASA some folks try to mess with it. Kids are great most parents are great it’s the folks who want to see where do you insert the eyepiece. Looking in the dew shield while the system is running. Have you tried taking a non traditional scope to outreach? The RASA is perfect as it’s F/2.2 and 11”. 
Read the topic. 

 

Good grief, man, READ my post properly.

 

Good grief, man!  READ my post in its entirety instead of just the first sentence.


Edited by Phil Cowell, 10 April 2024 - 04:59 PM.


#117 jakabasej8

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Posted 19 April 2024 - 09:41 AM



Imagine going to a star party where every person there would not let you focus the scope for your eyes.  It would be the last one you ever attended.  Yet there are people who tell people not to touch at star parties now.  It happened to me. I wanted to look through an Explore Scientific refractor and the owner (at a public star party) would not let me focus the scope.  When I reached for the focuser he snapped "don't touch the scope!!!"  So I wandered off, thoroughly embarrassed and thoroughly PO'ed.  Got in my car and went home. https://sharpedgesho...s-multi-purpose

 

All it takes is one person like that "operator" to turn someone off forever.  https://eldfall-chro...slayer-dragoon/

 

People are welcome to tough my scope.  They are welcome to focus it for their own vision.  I bring the good stuff.  But if touching is not something one is  prepared to tolerate with politeness, one might consider a beater scope or staying home. 

grin.gif grin.gif




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