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This is 'sidewalk video' astronomy!

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#1 core

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 02:05 AM

Got a pocket/pico projector last week, it's been cloudy ever since :grin: (I guess the curse even knows when your equipment will be used in astronomy)

I'm really exited with the possibilities, sharing some quick shots from tonight - here's the setup:

Celestron 6SE

Meade Electronic Eyepiece (discontinued) - I like that it has manual gain control, very useful at full-moon to dial down the gain/contrast to bring out shadowless features.

0.5x 1.25" Focal Reducer - could work either way with or without, depending on what you want to show.

3M Mpro150 Pocket Projector - long discontinued; 4:3 aspect ratio, 640x480 resolution, about the lowest lumens (15 lumens max) projector out there. On board battery last about 2hrs. While it's rated at ~40" projection, I can get astro vids to show nice on screen size in excess of 100" in dark environments.

Screen - I already have several options accumulated; 50" and 80" portable, ~20" rear projection. However the winds were gusting tonight (yay OK!) and I didn't want to bother with a flapping screen - mounted the projector as high as I could on the tripod and pointed it down to the bare concrete floor :jump:

Can't wait for the moon to wane, and bring out my lowly SDC-435 to give it a go. Yeah, there are several factors involved, including the incongruency of introducing even more light into observational astronomy - but I'm certain there are several situations where this sort of setup can be put into good use, either in an outreach setting or just for the fun of it. Our local club has a monthly outreach event at the local art district, under well-lit locations - I'll be giving it a try then.

I also have a 3M M220 65 lumens arriving next week; I didn't know initially if 15 lumens would be too bright, but from the past week of testing it's way more than enough imo - the 65 lumens unit does seem like an over-kill now, but will see how it goes. If you're looking for a pico projector, you might want to avoid 3M units as the analog input cables are propriety and may be hard to find (make sure they come with the unit when buying used). The other option would be aaxa P series projectors that have standard inputs.

These two moon shots are live:
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This one is a picture display from a M42 capture I did sometime back with SDC-435 and 6SE, gives an idea of what to expect.
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#2 rlandsboro

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 04:43 AM

Very cool! Sidewalk astronomy indeed.

#3 JimT

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 05:47 AM

WOW. A true sidewalk astronomer if ever there was.
Love it. :waytogo:

#4 dragonslayer1

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 07:57 AM

That is so cool, thank you very much for sharing,, now thats real time video LOL, just kidding.... I bet thats a big hit at star parties or just sharing,, very cool
Kasey

#5 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 08:30 AM

Very cool.

#6 Undermidnight

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 10:55 AM

Now that is just really cool. Something to consider (for all of us)... something I do on Halloween during trick or treat is to have a few telescopes set up. Could you imagine using this setup for that?

Maybe I need to start saving up for a video camera. You guys have some really neat stuff that I think would be great for outreach.

Jason

#7 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 11:02 AM

Now that is just really cool. Something to consider (for all of us)... something I do on Halloween during trick or treat is to have a few telescopes set up. Could you imagine using this setup for that?

Maybe I need to start saving up for a video camera. You guys have some really neat stuff that I think would be great for outreach.

Jason


It doesn't have to be a video camera. It can be a stills or Hybrid camera with video output and do the same thing.

#8 Puck Ja

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 12:28 PM

Cool idea if I can get a hand on that small-size light-weight projector. It certainly was not limited to video camera at all. One can project the digital image from his/her computer out for real-time public viewing.

You just need to look down instead up for observing. Easier on neck. :)

#9 jambi99

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 05:01 PM

Wow! that is a great idea. Just a suggestion, do you think you could put some sort of white clothing on the sidewalk? It would increase contrast I think.

#10 StarmanDan

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 06:40 PM

Very cool! Talk about walking on the moon!

#11 Undermidnight

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 07:06 PM

Very cool! Talk about walking on the moon!


I hear Sting singing now...

"Giant steps are what you take... walking on the moon... "

:lol:

Jason

#12 okieav8r

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 07:41 PM

Neato! That's a different approach for sure!

#13 scout72

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 10:40 PM

Here was my similar approach from a while back- also had up on Halloween! http://www.youtube.c...h?v=-gcOl3xVj8g you can find some pretty cheap RCA input projectors around- just make sure the bulbs work because the replacements can be more than the projector is worth. But it would be nice to have a battery powered unit...something else to buy :-)


#14 core

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 03:13 AM

Thank y'all for the kind words! Definitely not something new (will be planning to use my garage door as a screen for Halloween, thanks scout72!).

Very cool! Talk about walking on the moon!


Dan, I'm going to have to borrow your idea when I get to chance to try this out at a sidewalk/outreach with the moon up - "step right here and walk on the moon!" :D

I would have tried a white sheet on the floor(or grass), but the winds weren't too cooperative. I had a couple sheets of white corrugated plastic that I tried, but they only measure ~2'x1.5'

The Mpro150 seems to be going right under $100 on ebay, still a tad high imo, and the battery (if used) might already be half-way thru its life. The projector is powered via 5V/2A, so if you splice the power cable, it should be pretty easy to use a wide variety of 5V supplies.

The AAXA P1 Jr. Pico was $109 MSRP just before being discontinued. Best deal imo for new would be on the look out over at daily deal sites (woot.com, etc) for discontinued or refurbs.

Next up I'm going to team the projector up with a analog video processor (in another thread here), which should allow for black-level and other controls, which would hopefully reduce the amount of LP in the video being projected when projecting DSO's (since there's no picture controls on most all projectors).

#15 mclewis1

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 10:54 AM

I had a neighbour who used to do Saturday night outdoor movies on the side of his house for the neighbourhood kids. He actually painted part of that that side of the house in a paint designed for projector use. The next step up was a pair of 4x8 sheets of ply with a tight tongue and groove seem between them as a better projection surface. The projector was an older DSP type of unit with 1024 x 768 resolution.

Just before I moved I did a few nights of video from the telescope with him. It went over very well with the kids and adults. Large bright objects were the best choices, especially the moon (but M13, 8, 16, and 17 were also big hits). The highlight was "touring" over the surface of the moon at medium magnifications but I had to be careful not to go too fast otherwise I started to get "whow, that's making me sick".

The scope was positioned around the corner from the project to help cut down on the light. I stood in between on the corner to be able to talk to the kids and still see what the scope was doing.

I found that better surfaces made a real difference with lower brightness projectors. S-video SD 420i resolution was fine for most situations as long as we didn't try to cover 8' sections, but today an HDMI upscaler would probably smooth things out for an even better image.

#16 dragonslayer1

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 12:47 PM

LOL Mark,, that is too funny..

Hey kids, lets go watch Marks astronomy videos,, just remember to bring your barf bags LOL,,,, :p
That would be a good outreach method,, mmmmmmm :question:
Kasey

#17 mclewis1

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 06:37 PM

Kasey, It sure was a surprising comment during the moon views.
I wouldn't want any of them to :vomit: , that would be a night to remember for the wrong reasons.






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