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First light with Mallincam Color Hyper Plus at WSO

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#1 Bowmoreman

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 09:07 PM

[similar content to another thread]

OK, so no pictures, cause I didn't take any... but...

I just spent 2 hours out there - freezing in the winds and 20 degrees... btw winds were 20+ and so seeing was awful...

but transparency was good, and my SQM was 18.7 at beginning (crescent moon was still up) to 19.65 at end... not great, but not terrible - moon was there after all!

First target: Dumbell - oh, MY DEAR LORD... AMAZING!

With 100mm f9 scope, using the MFR3 reducer - so about F6...

I had an image of incredible detail on my 19" Proton Monitor using the 56 second mode; tons of COLOR!!! It was about 4" in size on the 19" monitor, and full of detail...

My 7 year old said it looked just like an apple core! (and it did!)... WOW... WOWWWWW

My wife actually thought I finally had accomplished something, and said that she could get into seeing things like that - especially if/when I could put em on the nice warm den HDTV! - LOL (is that permission to spend some MORE)

So, then on to many other targets... I can't remember everything... I just kept going from target to target...

p17/Holmes was amazing - took up the ENTIRE monitor, detail fabulous! So many stars through the coma!Wow!

The Ring nebula - small (of course; at prime focus in a 900mm scope how big could it be) - but COLOR (lots)!!! wow!!! Probably only about 1/2" in size on the 19" monitor...

Several clusters (M11 was fabulous!!!) M31 was best I've ever seen - saw the dark lane (in a 100mm!!!!)... Can you believe that?! Dark Lane in Andromeda in a 100mm???? Wow

Only thing I didn't like (more likely user error!) was I just couldn't get Albireo to look colorful - would just saturate... probably have to play with things... I really only barely read the manual :roflmao:

I can't wait to spend more time with this... I can only imagine how fabulous it will be in my 10" on an EQ platform
!!! :rockon: :rockon:

I'd have spent more time tonight but, it was getting COLD - and it was going to be 2 more hours before Orion was over the horizon/roof of the obs, and the wifey wanted me to come inside... ;)

So, from me (FWIW) - *believe the hype* - this thing is fabulous!!!

To Rock: :rockon:

clear skies - this IS the future!

#2 Nebhunter

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 10:05 PM

Great, just what I need at this point. I'm deliberating on a TEC140, and now you post this gem. Gee, the Ring Nebula was "only" a 1/2" in size. Compared to the view in my 5", that's huge.

Viewing inside during the winter months is very interesting. I guess all you need now is an electronic focuser, and dew heaters to keep the lenses clear.

I was at a dark site last week, and could see NGC7000 with the naked eye. The Equinox80 with an OIII filter gave me dark lanes sprinkled with stars between them. I can't imagine what the view would have been like with the Mallin Cam. Time for some Scotch and more deliberation.

#3 David Pavlich

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 10:10 PM

Like I've posted before, the first time I saw the Horsehead was at an outreach in a suburban setting with the typical light pollution and the Moon at first quarter. It was an 8" Meade with a Mallincam and the Horsehead was as plane as could be. Amazing piece of hardware, that one.

David

#4 jayscheuerle

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 10:16 PM

Nice report.

You may cost me money...

#5 Chris Schroeder

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 10:27 PM

So Dave tell us how you really feel ;)
You sure make it tough for us who are trying to save up some money for Christmas gifts.
Congratulations on the MallinCam, it is on my short list of things to get :waytogo:

#6 erik

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 10:32 PM

Sounds like a great first light- congratulations on the Mallincam! :)

#7 Bill Weir

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 10:42 PM

Well, if you are happy pretending you are looking at objects I'm happy for you. Why not just go on the Hubble site and jam around? To me this is like listening to a live recording of a band. Yes it was live, but I'm not there.

I agree technology is great and I can see the use of this for someone who is half blind or has a debilitating disorder so they can't get their body up to the eyepiece. Can you save images with this thing? Then you could take them around with you and show people how to observe in the daytime. : )

One thing you said I find interesting in that "M 27 looked like an apple core". Wasn't it showing the faint outer nebulosity that envelopes the inner core? Also, the dust lane of M31 is visible with an eyeball through a 100mm scope. It's visible with my 80.

With M 57 did it show IC 1296?

Enjoy your new toy. I just don't get it. It doesn't make it wrong in my opinion. To each their own.

Bill

#8 jason_milani

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 10:48 PM

Who ruined your day? This IS the future of visual astronomy. Why try putting a damper on it ? I suspect you still drive a model T Ford. Get with it. Instead of mocking the new technonolgy, embrace it. You'll be much happier.

#9 Mike Harvey

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 11:25 PM

Well, if you are happy pretending you are looking at objects I'm happy for you. Why not just go on the Hubble site and jam around? To me this is like listening to a live recording of a band. Yes it was live, but I'm not there.


Bill...I suspect you're speaking from ignorance (and I don't mean that in an insulting way).

Until you've actually used one of these you may ASSUME you know what it's like... but you really don't.

Think of it as an 'electronic eyepiece' - not a camera.
I use a 3.5" TFT LCD screen that sits right next to the scope's focuser. I'm just looking at that instead of squinting through an eyepiece.
And I'm seeing more that I would EVER see at the eyepiece of ANY scope!

Even my most Luddite observing friends (some of whom still won't use GO-TO or DSC's) have been rendered speechless when they've used the MallinCam. When the DO find their voices, the first utterance is usually "where can I get one?".

Mike

#10 cocobolo

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 11:49 PM

Well, Bowmoreman, I hope that Rock gives you a commission. It's always hard to believe the advertisers hype about their products, but when it comes from a user....well, that's different. I wonder if there's a way to rig it up wirelessly to play on your semi-big screen lcd tv in the nice warm house? Keith

#11 Bob S.

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 11:50 PM

Bill, Not to gang up on you for your perspective but these "virtual eyepieces" (I also use a MallinCam Color Hyper with a WATEC 3.5" LCD monitor) are allowing us in real time to see the structure and morphology of objects in ways that have just simply not been available to us amateur astronomers. Mike H. above has been a hardcore astronomer for a long time and has owned a "ton" of high-end equipment including his current 28" Kennedy/Starstructure GOTO telescope. We are also fortunate to live in Florida and sometimes get exceptionally steady skies. You need to consider that we frequently are able to view objects without image breakdown in these large scopes at 600-1000x plus. Even with these capabilities, the assistive optics of the astrovideo cameras and image intensifiers are blowing our own preconceived values away! I might hasten to add that this is not like looking at objects on a computer screen at home. We can at will now go to innumerable faint objects and see detail that was never, ever available to us in real time. I think that is what Mike and the others are trying to convey and until you see it for yourself, I think it will be difficult to remain anything but skeptical. As someone else pointed out, this "may" be an important future in visual astronomy for amateurs? Only time will tell how it ends up. Bob Schilling

#12 Bill Weir

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 12:08 AM

Oh I understand what it is. I have used a elecronic digital relay device to view in real time objects as collected using an optical aide and then viewed on a screen. Maybe it wasn't this brand of device but it was the same idea. It just didn't do anything for me. I'm sure this is the latest widgit and much higher quality image. Like I said to each their own.

Yes you could consider me somewhat of a luddite and I don't consider it an insult. I still ask the question, does it show these faint challenge objects such as IC 1296, next to M 57? I am curious. I can see their use for outreach. For myself when observing I sometimes like the challenge. Not everything needs to be easy.

If observing that way makes you happy then by all means. If we all did things the same way it would be a very dull world.

Oh, one other question. If this is a screen, then will it disrupt my night vision if I am set up close to you? Would you need to hood this screen so you aren't being rude to the other people who might be observing around you. I know how much the porch light of the house about 1/2 km away through the forest bugs me when I'm observing.

Bill

#13 Mike Harvey

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 03:40 AM

Bill...

I have noted IC-1296 as being visible but I didn't "work it". I'll add that to my list.
There's a great deal of structure easily visible in the ring itself and the colors are glorious!
With steady seeing there are as many as 6 stars visible within the ring in addition to the actual central star.
A couple more are seen superimposed ON the ring.

My last night out, we hit the galaxies in Pegasus.
Three of Stephan's Quintet show structure.
A wealth of detail is visible in the dust lane of NGC 7814.
NGC 7479 looks better than any photo I've ever seen of it and I spent over an hour just studying all the knots, filaments and HII regions in it's spiral arms.

Someone requested the Bubble Nebula and most of the nearby observers saw the "bubble" for the first time. This is an almost impossible feat, even with a Big Dob, under our increasingly light polluted sky. With the MallinCam it was just gorgeous and the bubble was seen full-circle.

Final request was for the Horsehead.
Beautiful colors! The reds of IC 434 were in gorgeous contrast to the light grays, dark grays and jet black clouds of the head itself. The 'cumulus' and 'cirrus' cloud effects were plainly visible as were about a dozen foreground and protostars superimposed on or actually within the Horsehead itself. It is readily apparent to all observers that the Horsehead is NOT just a "hole" in IC 434 but a dark gaseous cloud. It has a certain "3-D" look to it.
Totally different from the 'dark bay' or indistict smudge that is all that most observers ever see.

Yes, I do have a light-blocker for the screen. I've been using a small cardboard box. This is about to be upgraded to a styrofoam shield coated with Kydex. I also set up away from 'normal' visual observers. You've got to "come over" to see the screen.

Mike

#14 David Pavlich

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 11:17 AM

What the Mallincam does is allows backyard astronomers that can't afford a 20" mirror to see what those that have a 20" mirror can see. Further, it sees the stuff from a light polluted suburban backyard. As I posted earlier, I saw the Horsehead through a modest 8" SCT during the first quarter Moon and typical suburban light pollution. I'd be willing to bet a dozen donuts that under these conditions, the best 20" reflector won't see the Horsehead.

Edit: And one more observation, I didn't need a ladder to view it. :grin:

David

#15 Bowmoreman

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 04:29 PM

I know my first post seemed a bit, well, enthusiastic... but that was my visceral reaction... I didn't describe ALL that we saw, just the highlights...

But I have to tell you; the detail in the Dumbbell nebula was amazing (yes an apple core, but one with many MANY filaments of gossamer, and colored(!) detail!). What impressed me the MOST was, this was all from 6:45PM til 8:30PM, when:

1) Luna was out - in fact Luna was no more than about 15-25 degrees from most of my targets!

2) Seeing was ATROCIOUS, winds at earth level were 20-30 (such that papers and other oddments were being blown around INSIDE my roll-off, in spite of 6 foot walls - CSC had Seeing as poor as it gets...) I didn't "test Seeing" by looking at Mars FWIW..

3) I was only using 100mm of aperture.

BTW: I have NEVER been able to see the dark lane of Andromeda from my backyard in my 100mm before - NEVER, let alone with the moon up... I have seen it on new moon, with my 10", but even then it isn't distinctly obvious; I am in the Orange zone for LP

Here's the deal (for me, YMMV):

I was so absorbed in seeing things (and colors) I had NEVER seen before, I forgot about being analytical (i.e. counting the stars in the ring, or searching for faint/obscure objects nearby my initial targets etc...

This was FIRST light, not umpteenth light... Now that I know:

1) it works
2) it works in my 100mm (which means its gonna be killer in my faster, 254mm!)
3) that it displays beauty better than ANY of the posts on the web can show, I presume due to using a good monitor

It warrants my further attentions and time (and probably money) spent to kick it up to the next notch:

1) the pending EQ platform will be killer w/ this!
2) this is going to be fabululous for outreach
3) I will now pursue the oddments needed to do wireless, etc. back into the HDTV in the house.

This will NOT be a replacement for purely visual for me, not by any stretch... but for those times when I want to do outreach, especially with kids... for those times when its just too cold and windy to STAY outside doing visual... for those times as I want to get my wife MORE into this with something more rewarding (to her!) than "faint gray blobs/fuzzies"...

Well, it really fits those needs to a T.

Anyone in the greater MA area that wants to check it out, just PM me on ANY clear night. Now that it gets dark early, this is the time when I get MORE viewing in!

Next new moon at ATMoB, I'm bring it, and the accoutrements along...

Eventually, I'll get the PC adapter and a TV video capture card for my PC and start frame-grabbing (for yucks)... But I'm in no hurry - this is a VISUAL tool for now.

clear skies

#16 Bob S.

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 05:15 PM

Dave, I could not have said it any better. People who have not seen the color images that the MallinCam's can produce just don't know what a fabulous treat they are missing. Obviously, it is not right for everyone and has some hassles that using an eyepiece does not have. Overall, it does have the potential to open up astronomy to more people that don't have the time or interest in training their eyes/brain to tease out detail in faint fuzzies. The astrovideo cameras, especially the color ones, simply present the images in a format people are used to viewing. I think we hav pretty clearly shown that color images are what people are more used to looking at and it allows the brain to discern more contrast than hues of black and white. That is not to say that the black and white cameras are not greatly useful and may go slightly deeper for those that still want to tease out the most of faint objects. Again, it is a YMMV situation for sure! Bob Schilling

#17 Rick

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 06:22 PM

How do you control or manipulate magnification, or can you? If not, is there a rule of thumb for computing it and from there the FOV you will get?

tia,
Rick

#18 mistyridge

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 07:35 PM

Dave. A great report. :bow: I am hooked. I have one question. How well do you have to have your scope aligned to prevent star trails/distortion on a 56 sec capture with a 100mm f/9 scope? Or do you have some sort of autoguider.

I have the same kind of suburban skies SQM 19.6 to 19.8, and cannot see lanes in M-31 even in my 18". Of course my mid 60s eyes are not so great anymore. I keep getting new glasses and larger scopes to compensate. Malincam seems to be the answer despite what the critics say. Now if were a die hard visual only guy I would probably give up the hobby or buy a Keck.
:whistle: :grin:

#19 BradH

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 08:00 PM

Great report Dave

Here is a shot of M57 one without and with a focal reducer. Captured using a video card and a laptop. Taken with a 6" scope.

Brad

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1992235-m57 5-22 FR and No FR 28sec.JPG


#20 BradH

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 08:01 PM

Here is the Eagle.

Brad

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1992241-M16.jpg


#21 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 09:24 PM

Dave,

In response to your question about being able to se IC 1296 next to M57 using a MallinCam, the answer is YES. September 5, 2004 was the first night I tried out my non-cooled B&W MallinCam limited to a 2.1 second exposure on my Celestron 6" f/8 refractor from my magnitude 4.5 skies. I was using a Celestron f/6.3 focal reducer in the scope; so it was running at f/5. I did not have a good monitor, so I was using a Funia 13" color TV/VCR for a monitor. Not only was IC 1296 visible on the monitor, but I could see all the PGC galaxies down to magnitude 16.9.

Jack Huerkamp

#22 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 09:30 PM

Keith,

I routinely use a 1.2GHz video transmitter/receiver set to send the MallinCam's output to a remote TV. At a recent stargaze, I set my 17.5" up on the hill and sent the images to a classroom at its base about 500' away. I was communicating with my wife who was in the classroom by using a set of FRS walkie-talkies. She would relay requests from the audience to me and I would let them know when the target was in view.

Jack Huerkamp

#23 Bowmoreman

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 10:34 PM

Dave. A great report. :bow: I am hooked. I have one question. How well do you have to have your scope aligned to prevent star trails/distortion on a 56 sec capture with a 100mm f/9 scope? Or do you have some sort of autoguider.

I have the same kind of suburban skies SQM 19.6 to 19.8, and cannot see lanes in M-31 even in my 18". Of course my mid 60s eyes are not so great anymore. I keep getting new glasses and larger scopes to compensate. Malincam seems to be the answer despite what the critics say. Now if were a die hard visual only guy I would probably give up the hobby or buy a Keck.
:whistle: :grin:


No autoguiding (yet)... I have a Vixen Sphinx mount, not too bad, but not (quite) up to a G-11 or better... I just did your basic drift alignment (I have a pier), and then aligned on 4-5 stars, refining as I went...

No trails on ANY of the exposures!

but, it is FUN to see the pictures whilst slewing, now THEMS trails! :roflmao:

clear skies

#24 David Pavlich

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 11:03 PM

You have to keep in mind that these cameras excel in what they are intended for; real time viewing. This isn't a substitute for long exposure imaging. However, even with that in mind, some of the images I've seen Jack make are quite stunning especially considering that some are all of 28 seconds or maybe as "long as" 56 seconds.

I'm fortunate that I'm able to do some viewing with Jack at some of our outreach events and managed to view with him at a club member's home one night under nice, dark skies. Jack would pop something up on his camera and I'd try to find it with my 12" R. Some I found, but most were just too dim without the advantage of the camera.

Anyway, it's a great way to see things that you can't normally see. And it's always a big hit at the outreach events!

David

#25 bkushner

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 11:45 PM

What scope were you using?

Brian


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