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    Re: Venus transit June 8 and sextants
    From: Frank Reed CT
    Date: 2004 May 12, 19:15 EDT
    Robert E wrote:
    " I twitch uncontrollably even when an expert handles it and feel a great sense of relief when it is finally handed back to me.
    God!  I am shuddering already."

    <g> Yeah, I feel that way around my telescopes. I watch very carefully to make sure no one reaches up to wipe the eyepiece lense which seems to be an instinctive behavior for some people who wear eyeglasses. If I'm outside with a sextant and I expect anyone to be interested in what I am doing (as opposed to being scared of the strange man with the weird device in his hands) I usually bring along a plastic sextant. It's still valuable, but not so scary to hand to an amateur.

    And asked:
    "But a follow-up question: another poster (not sure if it was you Fred) indicated that he brings the sun down to the horizon to view it; the implied message being that it is safer. "

    That was me again, I think. It's nothing more than the safety of habit. You hold a sextant in that orientation often. You know instinctively that the shades have to be down and so the chance of a silly mistake is relatively low. When I shoot a Sun limb-to-limb index correction, I always double-check or triple-check that I have put all the shades in before I look up at the Sun. It's not intrinsically more dangerous --just more likely that a trivial error will ruin your day.

    Frank R
    [ ] Mystic, Connecticut
    [X] Chicago, Illinois
       
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