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Loss and Breakage, Key, and Safety Agreements


(Rev. August 06, 2007)

Loss and Breakage Agreement

The equipment you will use in this course is fragile, expensive and very difficult to replace. In order that everyone has equal opportunity to complete the course requirements and responsibility can be assigned fairly we have implemented the following loss and breakage agreement.

  1. You are on your honor to report all damage to the instructor or TA immediately. Do not attempt to fix it yourself. Shut down the equipment and report the problem. If the nature of the damage endangers other equipment (roof won't close, electrical problems) you must contact us. If neither the instructor nor the TA can be reached, contact any astronomy department member.

  2. A written description of any damage or problem is to be given to the instructor the following day. In order for observing equipment to be repaired promptly, we must know specifics about the problem. Damage caused by the student will be assessed against you.

  3. In the case of loss or damage which cannot be assigned as the responsibility of a given individual, all students authorized to use the equipment during the time period in which the problem occurred will share equally the cost of replacement or repair. Checks on the equipment will be made daily and the last users will be held responsible for its condition. If an item appears damaged or is missing when you first check it out, notify your instructor in writing and the previous users will be assessed damages.

  4. Always fill out the observing log for every observing session. No credit will be given for observations carried out during an unlogged session!!!

  5. In all cases the judgment of the Astronomy Department in assessing the damage costs is final. We will make every effort to be fair subject to the constraint that the costs must be paid. Normal wear will be allowed for.

  6. All assessed costs must be paid within 4 weeks of notification. Your grade will be withheld until all payments have been made.

Key Agreement

For completion of the requirements of this course you will be issued one or more keys which you must return at the end of the semester. Any keys signed out over night should be returned promptly the next weekday morning.

Your grade will be withheld until all keys are returned to the department. These keys are loaned to you for use in completing the requirements of this course. They are not to be copied, loaned to friends, or used to gain access to the department's facilities for any non astronomy related purpose. You may not bring friends with you to the observatories.

Safety Agreement

This is a laboratory course and like any lab course there are potential hazards which could result in injury. For the most part you will be working in the dark either outdoors conducting observations or in the darkroom. Use common sense when moving about; do not make any sudden, quick movements. Telescopes have sharp corners and parts that stick out. Make a mental note of the locations of all equipment, including steps or ladders. This information may help you to prevent accidents. In any event, always carry a flashlight. Remember that you are more likely to hurt yourself than large pieces of equipment.

McCormick Observatory Much of your observational work will be done here using the 6-inch and 10-inch telescopes in the Doghouse and the 26-inch in the main dome.

Some safety notes:

  1. The photometer has a high voltage power supply and all the telescopes have electrical connections. Be alert.

  2. No horseplay. No alcoholic beverages. No smoking.

  3. Watch your footing in the Doghouse.

  4. First-Aid equipment is located in the built-in bookshelves in the Observers Room. There are several phones in the building. Note their locations. In case of an emergency, you must dial a ``9'' before 911: 9-911.

Fan Mountain Any trips to the Fan Mountain Observatory will be supervised by the TA or faculty. It is always about 10 degrees colder at Fan, so you will need to dress warmly.

Injuries If an injury of any kind occurs, notify the instructor if he or she is present. If the injury is minor and no supervisor is present, you should notify the instructors the next day. If the injury appears even remotely serious call the rescue squad (911). Notify the instructor immediately. (Call her/him at home if necessary.) Emergency numbers are posted by the phone.

Wear suitable clothing at all times. Remember than even 60 degree weather can be chilling if you are engaged in observing with a minimum of movement.

Metal surfaces get very cold; numbed hands can lead to accidents. Walk slowly and carefully when leaving a lighted room and entering the dark. It takes a minimum of 5 minutes for your eyes to adjust to darkness and more than a half hour for full adaptation. Once your eyes are night adapted, it is best to keep them that way until all observations are completed. Repeated switching from light to dark will cause eye strain.

After reading these agreements, sign the pledge.


Sign and return this sheet to the instructor of this course.


I understand the loss and damage policy described elsewhere and agree to promptly pay replacement or repair charges assessed me by the Astronomy Department. I will report all problems in the manner prescribed as quickly as possible.



I understand the policy regarding safety for this course and will act responsibly to prevent accidents.



On my honor as a student I agree to return those keys loaned to me upon completion of the course. I will not duplicate any key nor will I loan a key to anyone under any circumstances.


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