WDAS Members Observing Evening Guidance

Document Rev 3, September 2023

Prepared by: Phil Brocklebank
Reviewed by: Andy Hewitt

Date of Observing evening: as advised separately.
Location: Grounds of Nazarene Theological College, M20 2GU

WDAS Members are warmly invited to a ‘Naked Eye’ observing session at our dark(er) sky venue. Previous events were well attended, and the weather was glorious, so fingers crossed that this favourable weather continues!

On arrival members will be greeted in the college car parking area and be asked to sign into the session. When the majority of the planned attendees have arrived the group will be guided to the observing area to the south of the main building.

There will be some red torches available to support your night vision adjustment – you are welcome to bring your own. Please avoid regular white light torches/ phones etc.

N.B. Members will be made aware of some of the areas of uneven ground and steep steps. Ground level lighting will be provided to assist.

There may be one or two larger telescopes that will be set up to view various objects of interest. You are welcome to bring along your own binoculars and telescope that you are familiar with using. Unfortunately, it won’t be possible to support people to set up equipment on this evening. There will also be a few pairs of binoculars to share.

The observing session will be led by one or more members of the committee. They will give a brief talk (approx. 10 minutes) to the assembled group about the visible night sky and point out and explain objects of interest. Those speaking may have their backs to the group whilst pointing out objects of interest. To assist the speakers, members are asked to save any questions, private conversations and interruptions until the talk and explanation is finished.

A WDAS registered and approved laser pointer will be used for identifying objects of interest. This use is based on the Federation of Astronomical Society’s guidance on the use of laser pointers. Attendees are asked to NOT bring along or use their own laser pointers.

WDAS has carried out a Risk Assessment for the use of a laser pointer. A copy of this is appended to this Guidance Document [here], along with the approved register of users of the laser pointer.

The requirements of the risk assessment are summarised below. All members are required to comply with these.

  1. The society laser pointer is a Class 2 pointer, as outlined in the FAS Guidelines. The laser pointer is labelled as belonging to WDAS. No other laser pointers are to be used.
  2. The laser pointer is ONLY to be used by a named and approved WDAS operator as the attached register [here]. The operators are trained in the use of the laser pointer, based on the guidelines prepared by the manufacturer and FAS.
  3. The laser pointer operator is to stand at least 2m away from the assembled group of WDAS members and is to use the laser pointer with this directed away from the assembled group.
  4. WDAS members are to not distract or interrupt the operator of the laser pointer when it is in use.
  5. The operator is to avoid pointing the laser pointer horizontally or downwards at reflective surfaces and wildlife.
  6. The operator is to avoid pointing the laser pointer at aircraft. A second nominated member is to look out for any passing planes and is to shout out that the laser pointer should be turned off if planes are seen to be approaching the observing area.

To ensure that this event is as safe as possible we would like to know who is coming along. Please reply within the ‘Observing Group WDAS’ WhatsApp group, preferably by lunchtime of the day of the observing session. The session is primarily for members of WDAS. Friends who are interested in joining the society would also be welcome. Please include their names on your reply.

*All observing sessions are weather dependent and may be cancelled at short notice

Cancellations or updates will be posted on ‘Observing Group WDAS’ WhatsApp group. Please be advised that this group is for WDAS Members. Membership details can be found on the WDAS website or ask a member of the committee.

Kind regards WDAS Committee.

This page last checked & updated: Wednesday, 25 October 2023