The next Eugene Astronomical Society’s star party is just before dusk on Friday, March 31. There will be a variety of telescopes available. If cloudy or rain, the event will be April 1. Meet at College Hill Reservoir on Lawrence Street between 23rd and 25th avenues
Star Party Dos and Don’ts
Star parties tend to be informal, with several telescopes set up more or less at random and people milling around between them to look at different objects through different scopes. Don’t be shy; come on up and say “Hi” and have a look. If there’s a line behind a telescope, it’s okay to ask the person operating it what that scope is pointed at before you get in line. Ask questions! Amateur astronomers love to share what we’ve learned about the night sky.
Children are welcome, but small ones tend to grab for the eyepiece, often with sticky fingers. Fingerprints can ruin an eyepiece, and eyepieces can be very expensive. Before you allow your child to look through a telescope, explain to them how to clasp their hands behind their backs and simply look into the eyepiece, not touching any part of the telescope. Practice this at home with a pair of binoculars or a toilet-paper tube. If they cannot follow this procedure, please do not bring them to a star party.
Preserve your night vision and everyone else’s. It takes up to 20 minutes for eyes to adapt to the dark. A single burst of bright light can ruin that for everyone. If you carry a flashlight, use the dimmest light you can, and cover the lens with red filter film. (Red light isn’t quite as damaging to night vision as white light.) Automotive brake-light repair tape works well. You might need several layers. Remember that once your eyes adapt to the dark, it doesn’t take much light to see your way around–or to ruin your night vision.
Cell phone screens are way too bright to use at star parties. Please go a long ways from the group before using your cell phone.
Please leave your dogs at home. In the dark, they could cause accidents if they get underfoot.
Star parties are always “weather permitting.” Check the sky before you set out to spare yourself a trip if the sky is cloudy. More at eugeneastro.org