Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Do Not Overheat (Eclipse cartoon)

(c)2012 Bill Kramer
There is just over an hour between first and second contact. Even though there is an eclipse going on, you and your equipment are taking in a lot of sunshine. To protect yourself, use sunscreen and drink plenty of liquids. Your equipment should be shaded when not in use.

Modern electronics are able to endure a wide range of temperatures but they are still subject to over heating when left in the direct sunlight. Experiments with a modern camera/video recorder had repeated problems when recording sunsets after as little as half an hour of pre-sunset direct exposure. Simply keeping the camera out of the direct sunlight during the same intervals prevented those problems.

When moving optics from an air conditioned environment to the outside one must also be aware of humidity changes as well as the temperature. Cameras and telescopes need to adapt to the surrounding temperature to perform at optimum capacity.

Thus it is highly recommended to set up your equipment before first contact (or shortly after) and cover it with an umbrella or a light colored towel to keep it in the shade.

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