Company Seven's Star Watching Suggestions for the News Media
If this is your first event with us, or if it has been a while since you
have been to one, please take a few minutes to review these guidelines.
Understanding the intent of these will help to make your presence more
welcome at these activities. Also, it will minimize crowd abuse of camera
men and their lighting, and it should result in a better story (video and
audio) for your organization.
Otherwise, feel free to mingle, ask questions. Most observers enjoy
talking about their hobby!
- NO WHITE LIGHTS! In a dark environment, the human eye requires at
least thirty minutes to dilate (or Rdark adaptS) so that it can see more
of the faint objects to be viewed. Any observable white light will cause
the eye to constrict. If one absolutely must turn on a light on site
(especially where where people may be taking time-exposure
astrophotography), then first yell out a warning "WHITE LIGHT", then wait
30 seconds. This may be relaxed during events such as a Lunar eclipse, or
at others involving bright objects.
Plan to arrive and set up your equipment before sunset. Daylight (or
twilight) aids setting up anyway.
Try to shoot whatever video footage of equipment (telescopes, etc.) you
think you will need during the set up of that equipment, and before
sunset or at twilight. Shooting with natural lighting will allow a more
comfortable interview for the person (no squinting eyes from spotlights
in the dark, etc.).
If you need a live interview after dark while others are
observing, then try to shoot any video portion of the interview near your
van and pointing away from the general crowd.
- GET SUPPORT EARLY As you arrive, try to "Check-in" with our staff.
They will be knowledgeable, and experienced to assist you with technical
or scientific questions. They may be available for interviews. If so,
then the appointment time and duration should be scheduled to avoid any
last minute confusion or inconvenience.
Company Seven has the optical and electronic systems available which will
allow us to provide live feeds from our telescopes or lenses via
distribution amplifiers to your transmitters or recorders. Please have
your camera staff contact us (301-953-2000) in advance to assure we have
available what will be required to support you.
- USE DIM RED LIGHTS For walking about the site, or reading notes, etc.
Dim red lights will not affect night vision. Use these instead of
unfiltered lights, but keep them dim. Remember, even bright red lights
could ruin someone's astrophotography efforts.
- PARK BASED ON YOUR OBSERVING PLAN If you plan to stay all night, park
away from the exit. If you are leaving early, park near the exit. Park so
that you will not have to back up (white lights!). If you do not have a
telescope, park away from the observers and walk over.
If your vehicle arrives after dark, enter the site only with parking
lights on; proceed slowly.
If your vehicle departs during the event, exit the site only with parking
lights on; proceed slowly.
- PLAN YOUR DEPARTURE We try to organize departure times usually of
10:00 P.M. and midnight at our (C-7) sponsored activities. If you
absolutely have to leave at any other time, please yell a warning five
minutes before you leave so that astrophotographer have time to save
their photos, and others can shield their eyes. Remember your vehicle
interior lights; you may simply cover the side and rear windows if it is
- NO SMOKING NEAR EQUIPMENT Be careful while lighting up if you smoke;
and keep any smoke away from telescopes and accessories. Smoke is
inhibitive or even corrosive to certain optical systems.
- PREPARE for the weather. Bring proper gear for any possibility (cold,
or hot). Do not plan on rainwear - we typically will not be out if it is
highly probable, but have a shelter (vehicle or tent) available to you.
- DRINK/FOOD You may bring provisions (a thermos of hot coffee or tea,
or a jug of water); in the cold dehydration can be a problem. Do not
bring alcoholic beverages - these have no positive effect physiologically
or mentally at events such as these where your senses must be at their
We do not wish to appear as though our star parties are regulated by
Nazis, but these guidelines help all to enjoy the opportunity.
Reinhard Heydrich, Jr.
Head of Corporate and Star Party Security