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Thread: Astronomy Hacks: Hack 45 - Dark Adapt Your Vehicle.

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    Default Astronomy Hacks: Hack 45 - Dark Adapt Your Vehicle.



    These tips are going to be especially usefull if you attend star parties.

    When first arriving at the site pull the fuses for the backup lights, break lights, and head lights. Be sure to replace these after reaching a safe distance from the site.

    Also recommended is replacing all interior lights with red led bulbs or red filtered incandescent bulbs. Other ways to dark adapt your vehicle include using break light tape, theatrical gel, or dark red nailpolish.

    The authors actually have a vehicle that is used only for astronomy and is completely dark adapted, and loaded with all their astronomy gear.

    Next Hack: Use A Barlow.

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    All the interior lights in my car are covered with a red tinted plastic material.
    Wish I had $1 for every time someone has asked 'how come the courtesy light is red?'

    I remember my first time at a big star-party event - someone opened the rear of their car, and a white light came on.
    To my dark-adapted eyes it was blindingly bright - and there were many howls of complaint from all around.

    I made a mental note never to make that mistake myself
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    I bought some Rubylith to do the same thing...what's the best method of attachment?

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    a bit of velcro on each bumper and roll rubylith over the top of the car...... stick down edges with Gaffer tape
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    /wide field scope. 10x10 shed with dome. Sky watcher sky adventurer mount.

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    A cheap toggle switch would work really well instead of pulling fuses, too. You can get double pole ones so you can so the headlights and running lights, and most are small enough that you could mount it behind the most easily accessible fuse panel without it being visible.
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    I found this interesting. I've not been to a star party so I've not yet outraged anyone.

    But Putco makes replacement lighting for interior dome lights. It turns out they make at least some of them in a red LED version! I may get that later this month.

    BTW, I found the part number on the PUTCO site and then found it for a decent price on Amazon.

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    This isn't on the topic of dark-adapting your vehicle, but it is about dark-adapting your eyes. Normally full dark adaption can be anywhere up to an hour, but i use a great meathod to dark adapt my eyes in just ten mins. How do i do this you ask? i wear my sunglasses at night

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenixrising View Post
    How do i do this you ask? i wear my sunglasses at night
    Another idea Phoenix
    Get some red-lensed sunglasses - I wear mine indoors for at least half an hour before going out.

    Human dark-adapted eyes use the rod-cells on the retina, whereas when it's light, the cone-cells are used.
    Rod cells are insensitive to red light, but are bleached of a chemical called 'Rhodopsin' by any other colour light.
    The change-over from cones to rods is pretty quick when you first go into the dark, but it's the re-charging of Rhodopsin that takes the time.
    By wearing the red sunglasses before going out, rhodopsin levels have been allowed to build up in advance

    Bright sulight during the day before an observing session can also have detrimental effect on rhodopsin levels.
    So I also use red-tinted sunglasses on a sunny day, if I intend to be observing that night.

    Another tip: Bilberry extract.
    Tablets or capsules are available from health food stores. Bilberries contain a substance which aids rhodopsin production.
    The same substance is contained in many fruits, so if you eat lots of fruit on a daily basis, you may already have good rhodopsin production - but bilberries have quite high concentrations of it.
    Last edited by Carlos_dfc; 02-15-2011 at 11:29 AM.
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    My mazda 6 came with a nice red-lit dashboard. The speedo, clock, more or less everything uses red LEDs, and it also has a dimmer. Great for driving at night, but I guess it's great for dark adaptation too. Hadn't thought of that benefit! Actually, there's just the one green LED (for the heater I think), it quite annoys me when everything else is red!

    Of course the courtesy light and exterior lights are not red. But if you're looking for a car that will get lots of star party usage, it might be worth bearing in mind. The boot is massive too, and the back seats fold flat with a single button press, so getting big equipment in wouldn't be an issue. It's the older one I have (~2005), no idea what the latest ones are like inside.

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    I have a Mazda 3 and the headlight main beam indicator light is BLUE!
    The Rear Screen Heater light is ORANGE
    Just the dash lights/radio etc are red really
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    /wide field scope. 10x10 shed with dome. Sky watcher sky adventurer mount.

 

 
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