Star Party Volunteers might be one of the coolest volunteering opportunities one can get! These people get the opportunity to share their love of the nights sky and the nights sky with the public in attendance. This does require letting others look though your gear, but this is a lot of fun and an opportunity that amateur astronomers love to do anyways.
Here are a few helpful tips and tricks for those star party volunteers who help make star parties happen! Star parties are a time of public observation, so those who want time to observe in private should not be attending star parties.
1. Arrive early to the event to allow time to setup and prepare while it is light.
2. It is highly recommended to leave expensive equipment at home as things could get lost or damaged in a dark environment with so many people in a small area.
3. Star Parties are public events! It is an event for those with telescopes to share the view with others.
4. Be prepared to answer questions about your equipment and the objects being viewed.
5. Calmly and nicely remind those around you about best practices and etiquette in regards to lighting. Note: There might be more red light than expected, so please be prepared and patient.
6. Avoid arguments with the public, especially on topics that are opinion or not provable in any way. Topics in this vain can include, but are not limited to aliens, and conspiracy theories. (A good way to diffuse the situation could be to show them another celestial object or discuss another topic)
7. If the public is interested in learning more about astronomy clubs or astronomy in general, send them to our site our a local astronomy club, which we have a list of.
8. Provide a safe environment for observing.
9. Be cautious and extra safe when children are observing. When children want to observe, it is best practice to either provide some sort of a ladder or step stool for use to step up the eyepiece. Never touch or lift a child to the eyepiece unless unless an adult accompanying the child has explicitly approved.
Now you know the best practices for star party volunteering! Feel free to add in your comments, and experiences so we can improve this list.
Here is a wonderful article on star party etiquette that is a great resource to provide to guests and volunteers alike so everyone can be their best.