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Hawaiian Astronomical Society
Club Members Only Star Party Etiquette
If you're reading this page, the chances are pretty good that you've attended one of our public star parties and got inspired to join HAS. Congratulations, and Welcome! Now you're thinking about attending one of our Club Members Only Star Parties, and we'd like you to be aware that these Star Parties are somewhat different than our public parties.
At our public parties, you were "entertained" (for lack of a better word) by one of our members who pointed their telescope at a multitude of heavenly objects with ease and confidence. Did you ever wonder how they learned how to do this? It's not easy! It takes time, patience and perseverance to learn what's up there to look at, and then how to find it over and over again. One of the places where our members improve their star finding skills is at the Club Members Only Star Party. The purpose of the Club Members Only star party is to provide a venue where the club members can work on their object location skills or other personal observing interests without a line of 20 people waiting to look through their eyepiece.
Does this mean that you can't talk to or ask for help from the other members? Absolutely not! But, you might have a wait a few minutes for that person to get to a point when they can step away from their own telescope to help you. Also, if you feel you need more help than just an occasional question (e.g.: "I just got my first telescope, can someone help me set it up?") then please ask for this assistance before the star party (at the general meeting or one of the public star parties) to make arrangements with a specific member for assistance.
Mahalo for your cooperation!
Flashlights: If you wish to use a flashlight, please cover the end with a red balloon or some red acetate to limit the amount of light emitted. You may not realize it, but after you have spent about 20 minutes in the dark your eyes adjust to the darkness allowing you to see more. It only takes a fraction of a second of looking at a bright light to destroy the dark adaptation and you will need to wait a while again before you can see clearly in the dark.
Food and drink: Sticky fingers, crumbs, and liquids are very bad for the equipment. If you need to eat or drink while at a star party, please keep a short distance away from the telescopes, and wipe your hands when you are done. Also, no alcoholic beverages are permitted at our star parties. Please deposit your trash in a waste bin, or take it home and throw it away there.
Look With Your Eyes and Not With Your Hands: Do not place your hands on the telescope. This will cause the telescope to move and the object you should be viewing will move out of the field of view.
Parents, please mind your children: Our star party locations are in public parks where children are used to running around. However, in the evening, it is easy to trip on a small mound of grass that you can't really see. We don't want anyone to get injured, and we also don't want our equipment damaged by someone running around and tripping / falling onto our telescopes.
Headlights on your car: At our Dillingham Airfield site, you will park your car very near to where we set up our telescopes. When arriving at the site, please turn off your headlights so you will not temporarily blind someone. When leaving, please keep your headlights off until the front of your car is facing away from the telescopes. For those vehicles that turn on the headlights automatically, please consult your owner's manual for a way to turn off this "convenience".
Laser pointers: While laser pointers are very useful to point out objects in the sky, please be careful when using one. Do NOT target an aircraft with a laser pointer, and do NOT let children play with a laser pointer. The maximum output beam power level of a laser pointer allowed at an HAS star party is 5mW (milliWatts).
If you have any questions about the Hawaiian Astronomical Society