Star Party Etiquette

Donít use white lights. Use red lights sparingly. Bright red lights are almost as bad as a white light. Use a dim red light if you must use one at all. If you absolutely must use a white light, shout out a warning to give people a chance to cover their eyes, so you can avoid ruining the night vision of others.

Make sure your vehicle lights donít violate the first rule. Backup lights and interior lights can ruin someoneís night vision (or astro-photograph). If you are planning to leave before the event is over, park so as to be able to leave without using your lights or put duct tape over them. Many new vehicles do not allow you to turn off headlights while the car is in Drive. NOTE: Sometimes it's just not avoidable when driving in and out of a site. Try to arrive before sunset, and when leaving just give everyone PLENTY of warning before starting your car.

Parking. If you come to a star party without a telescope, please park some distance away from the observing site to save room for those with heavy equipment to carry.

Never touch anyone elseís equipment without permission. But donít be afraid to ask. Never touch any glass optical surface.

Avoid loud and boisterous behavior. Stargazing is a quiet, peaceful activity. Astronomers tend to like it that way.

Donít litter.

Avoid kicking up dust with your feet or your car. Gravelly dust and rocks are not friendly to telescope optics. Drive very slowly so as to avoid this situation.

Watch your step (but donít use a flashlight). Be especially careful of wires on the ground. Some scopes require power and some folks use their carís battery. If your scope requires power, try to make the wires as safe as possible around your setup.

If you are a visitor or a "newbie", try not to monopolize another personís time. The astronomers are there to enjoy the sky, not to give lessons. (Except, of course, when the party is specifically organized to help the public and/or newbies.)

Be extra careful when astrophotographers are doing their thing. Children are always allowed at star parties. However, please remember that FWAS members are not there to babysit your children. If you do bring children, please supervise them at all times.

Pets are not allowed at the dark sky site. For your safety, your petís safety, and the safety of others, please leave your pets at home.

As far as music is concerned, just remember that your taste in music may be extremely irritating to others. When in doubt, use a headset.

Smokers should stay downwind of non-smokers and their telescopes. Just because youíre outdoors doesnít mean your smoke isnít annoying (and unhealthful).

These are all things that will help you to acclimate to most star party events. As with any situation the rules can bend depending on the location of the star party (especially when it comes to lights - sometimes it's just not avoidable when driving in and out of a site - just give everyone plenty of warning before starting your car)