Sunday, November 27, 2005

Recent Purchase: The Plamp

‘Plamp’ is short for ‘Plant Clamp’.

For the longest time I've been looking for a solution to block stray light at my current observing location in Central Park. The lampposts at TotL are further apart than most of the lampposts surrounding the Great Lawn but they still create enough glare to make observing difficult.

Central Park Lamppost

An articulated arm that could hold a light shield seemed like the right solution but I couldn't easily find one on-line. I finally went down to B&H Photo to take a look around. Nobody in the store could point me to the right product so I decided to hit the lighting section. Nothing on display seemed right. Too heavy!

After roaming around the department for a few minutes I saw two products. Both had articulated arms that could clip-on to a tripod and both had clamps on the end. The smaller of the two seemed to fit the bill. The ‘neck’ is 19" long with 33 articulations. I also purchased a 12" round black/silver light shield.

This should do the trick!


Dave Pearson said...

Is this to create a shield for the 'scope itself, or just for the eyepiece?

Ben C. said...


The articulated arm will hold a round light shield to block light from shining on the eyepieces creating the glare that forces me to block the light with my hands. This will be used for both nova hunting with binoculars and when using the Televue-76.

It's like having the Goddess Lakshmi at your side!


Dave Pearson said...

Any reason why the old "towel over the head" trick wouldn't work?

Ben C. said...

Our original solution, involving towels, worked best. We would cover the nearest lamps with towels blocking the light for everyone involved - multiple observers for all setups.

This was deemed offensive by the local park rangers and we can no longer make use of the towels over the lampposts. The darkness of the site itself was rather remarkable which was probably the reason it was stopped. They thought it was unsafe ... too dark.

For me, a towel over the head is an inconvenience. It only works for one observer. It collects moisture onto the eyepieces and restricts the movement necessary to record what is seen - especially for nova hunting.

I haven't used the new setup yet and hope it works out well.

Do you use a towel to block stray light?


Dave Pearson said...

Interesting comments about the effect of towels at the eyepiece.

Do you use a towel to block stray light?

Thankfully I don't have that much of a problem with stray light.

Kim said...

A guy in my club rigged up a red laser that could knock out street lights by targeting the light sensor underneath. The light would go out for about 10 minutes, then gradually come back on. I've tried this on my street, but can't seem to locate the light sensor, unfortunately. It might work for you, though.

Ben C. said...


Thanks for the tip. I've heard about this technique and we did check to see if there were any disabling points on top of the lamp. None were found.

Check out the entry again to see what the lampposts look like in Central Park. I've added an image.

All the best.


P.S. - is this Girly-girl from 'My Diary'?

P.P.S. - how did you find this site?