The Clean Eyepiece Hack
Photos courtesy Ken DeSilva
Are you performing sidewalk astronomy and need to keep your eyepieces clean? Ken DeSilva of the Mount Diablo Astronomical Society shared a technique for doing just that! While this helps to reduce the amount of wipe downs needed to keep eyepieces sanitary, it also has another bonus: keeping Halloween makeup and other potential smudges and smears off the lens!

Ken writes:

"Before accepting the outreach request for an event at an elementary school I wondered what I could do to help reduce possible COVID-19 exposure. I already planned on using disinfectant wipes on the handle of my stepping stool but I wasn’t quite sure what to do about possible eyepiece exposure.  I didn't want to use a harsh disinfectant that could harm the optics.
This was my solution:
I cut 1 1/4” PVC pipe (available at most hardware stores) to a length that matched the eye relief point for a few of my eyepieces. These rings are different lengths so I can stack them on eyepieces (depending on the eye relief of each) and rounded the sharp edges on my small bench belt sander (a file could also be used) to remove the sharp edges.  I did the same for my wider eyepieces using 1 1/2" PVC pipe.

I made about 10 of these for each eyepiece size and put these PVC rings over the eyepiece for each student and wiped the used ones down with disinfectant wipes when there was a lull in observers."
photo of two white cylindrical eyepiece cups resting on top of  a black telescope.
Photos courtesy Ken DeSilva

Thank you so much Ken! For more tips on how to help keep your events safer during the pandemic, check out our safety recommendations flyer for in-person events, along with guidelines from the Astronomical League. Stay safe and may you have clear skies!

Last Updated: October 22, 2021

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