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First light with Mallincam Color Hyper Plus at WSO

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#101 Paula E

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 02:40 PM

Well I have to say that I'm really intrigued by this thread. I've had some skepticism about these devices - the argument "why don't you just surf the hubble site" is pretty obvious. (My wife mentioned it, in fact, and she has zero interest in this hobby.) But the results shown are really quite remarkable for near realtime imaging, in my opinion.

Does the experience with a Mallincam feel like visual observing? Obviously it isn't purely visual - you are imaging! But what does it feel like?

Visual observing is pretty interactive - you focus, you change eyepieces, filters, you use averted vision, etc. Imaging (I'd guess) is at least somewhat interactive - especially during setup and then processing of the images. But for long stretches it's not really interactive at all. Surfing the Hubble site is obviously a totally different experience altogether - and isn't really interactive at all. (Nor does the experience ever change unless they post new images.)

Where does the Mallincam fall into this spectrum? It seems, from this thread, that the experience is a lot closer to visual observing than pure imaging, and way more so than just surfing the internet for astropics - would most agree?

As a followup once you've used one of these, how likely are you to be happy with purely visual viewing?

I really wasn't thinking seriously about one of these devices, but I have to say - this thread is compelling.

#102 Douglas

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 03:12 PM

The common thread between viewing at the eyepiece and viewing with the MallinCam is that you are viewing in real time. You're not looking at processed images, you are looking at live targets. When you are showing folks the live images with the MallinCam, give the scope a light kick to show them it is live. That's alot of fun!

I often change focal reducers, varying magnification and fields of view, depending on different targets which is much like switching eyepieces on different targets. I find the session very interactive and not unlike visual viewing at the eyepiece.

The MallinCam allows me to view under conditions that aren't possible at the eyepiece. Poor viewing conditions, full moon, light pollution, no problem ... the camera makes viewing sessions possible when others can't do much at all.

I would describe my MallinCam sessions as viewing sessions as opposed to imaging sessions. You don't have to take dark frames, flat fields, learn image processing, etc, just enjoy the view!

The first time I saw the Dumbell (M27) in full color on my large screen TV, I sat there for a long, long time, in the dark staring at the image as it refreshed every 14 seconds. As the images refreshed I was able to capture more detail on some and less on others, much like changing seeing conditions while at the eyepiece.

I thought to myself, after seeing all this color and detail, how could I ever go back to viewing at the eyepiece but there are nights when I go out with my Dob and star charts and keep everything turned off. I enjoy quiet simple sessions just slewing the scope to targets I know in the sky, no electronics, just me and a simple scope. I guess it depends on your mood and how much energy you have. There are nights I don't want to fiddle with technical toys and there are other nights I want to see the things I only read about. I have to say, it is very exciting to pull in some of these targets which you could only dream of seeing in large scopes when the opportunities presented themselves at star parties. And even with the largest of those scopes, you could never see what we pull in through the MallinCam. It's like having your own portable Palomar scope!

- Doug

#103 Paula E

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 03:28 PM

Thanks Doug - I think I'm sold.

I've embraced technology in every other part of my life - why stop now? The idea of seeing this level of detail in objects, and sometimes in color, is very exciting.

Thanks!

#104 Bowmoreman

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 04:47 PM

Thanks - I got the "dust bunnies" diagnosis, and the remedy from Jack over on the Yahoo Mallincam forum... I may clean it up tonight (i've got the blower, brush thingies, etc...)

hope my CSC is right...

clear skies

#105 Bowmoreman

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 04:54 PM

Even with my VERY limited (times, and aperture - LOL!) exposure to my MCHP, I agree with Doug in every particular...

this IS visual feeling; my wife used to say all the time - "why don't you just look at the pictures in the books or on the internet"

When she saw this, and saw how it changed every update (7, 14, 28 or 56 seconds)... she actually finally "got it"

She then said "now this I could get into if it weren't always so cold" - that's when I told her I could make it show up on the HDTV in the Den!

SOLD!

I really don't see it replacing EITHER pure visual, or my still existent interestin , though very rudimentary skills at "classic AP"... Rather it is a third way.

That multiplies your aperture
That laughs at light pollution
That drills through crowds
That allows multiple viewers at the same time - PERFECT for outreach, especially kiddos who get quite bored waiting their turns in line (trust me on THIS one!)

I feel like a kid in a candy shop with this thing. It shouldn't be so easy, or amazing... but it is.

Clear skies

#106 Paula E

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 05:34 PM

Thanks Dave - I feel like I've seen the future, thanks to this thread.

Have you had a chance to try it on really extended areas of nebulosity, like the veil?

edit: Oh - one other question. How do you deal with the light from the monitor if you are at a public observing site? This isn't a big deal for me - I'm building an observatory, but maybe sometimes I want to go to a star party and bring this with me. But if the monitor gives off lots of light, I bet others might not think it was such a cool thing...

Surprisingly enough, one of my neighbors asked about this type of device.

#107 Bowmoreman

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 05:43 PM

Not yet... by the time I'm getting out the Veil is just starting to get near some nasty west side trees... (mostly cause I usually start with M27 and M57 first! LOL and by time I remember the Veil is in that neck of the woods its too late!!

Maybe I can try tonight?? it looks possible... tomorrow looks more likely though from my current CSC

stay tuned fans!

#108 Paula E

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 05:46 PM

Thanks Dave, looking forward to your report!

This thing pretty easy to setup if you transport your scope, or switch back and forth between visual and cam?

#109 Bowmoreman

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 05:47 PM

Well, I haven't dealt with light yet - Its MY observatory after all :lol:

But, I plan to use my smaller 9" DVD LCD display, and others have been creative by putting them inside rubbermaid containers with a porthole cut into it to prevent light from going anywhere you don't want it to

I'll probably also plump for one of thos cool mini LCD displays that have brightness and contrast adjust at some point as well...

I'm only using the 19"er because I had it in the attic gathering dust; it can gather dust in the observatory just as easily! (and maybe do double duty as a real TV when I get things setup that way!)...

clear skies

#110 Bowmoreman

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 05:49 PM

Thanks Dave, looking forward to your report!

This thing pretty easy to setup if you transport your scope, or switch back and forth between visual and cam?


Think of it as another eyepiece. 1.25", swap in swap out... then just connect the cables (which are bundled together) for power and video... and you are done... It is DEAD easy.

Ever after a few fingers of nice bourbon late at night ;)

clear skies

#111 kent

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 07:49 PM

Jack had put a hand written stickie with recommended color balance settings he apparently hand-calibrated prior to shipping it to me - I'm using Factory + those.



Dave you wouldn't let a fellow in on your custom settings from Jack would ya? :question:

#112 Bowmoreman

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 08:03 PM

sure, I'll check tomorrow - despite my CSC the weather is NOT good right now, so hafta put boyz 2 bed and crash (have a cold)... I'll check the stickie tomorrow and post

It was something like: red + (or -?) 1 and blue - (or +?) 1 on the color balance sub-menu (can you tell am going from memory here)... I gotta believe that it wasn't particularly aggressive in any event! (certainly mistakenly hitting the tint or hue wheel on the color monitor would MORE than obliterate it IMO...

bumming that my sky does NOT match my CSC right now (but I should get some rest and recover!)...

clear skies

#113 kent

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 08:16 PM

No that would be just fine David, as you can tell by my csc I've been out of commission for quite a while. Took out the Mallin last night for the great amount of about 10 minutes. So I didn't get much of a chance to really try it out. So yes post it at your own leisure no rush. If I can get it to work half as good as you do I'll be very happy indeed! :thanx: :bow:

P.S. Hope your feeling better in the morning.

#114 Mike Harvey

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 02:27 AM

Have you had a chance to try it on really extended areas of nebulosity, like the veil?
edit: Oh - one other question. How do you deal with the light from the monitor if you are at a public observing site? if the monitor gives off lots of light



I was very pleased (OK - THRILLED!) with the Veil in my 28"
(haven't tried the 14.5" yet). The nebulosity is SO great and SO detailed that I had trouble identifying which sections I was seeing...it's just so much more than is seen at the eyepiece!
The area around 52 Cygni, though, is a bit drowned in the glare of the star. I've got to work on masking that spot.

For the 3.5" Watec monitor, I just put it inside a little cardboard box. We'd just pass the box around to take looks.
Worked beautifully but, just to add a little more class,
I've gotten a small plastic cooler...painted the inside flat black...and drilled holes in the back for the monitor wires. It's about 8" deep and keeps stray light to near-zero. A larger version is 'under construction' for the new 7" monitor.

Mike Harvey

#115 Bowmoreman

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 05:08 AM

:funny:

"... pass the box..."

:roflmao:

I love the picture THAT invokes...

"Hey, man, wanna take a look at my DSO?"

:roflmao:

clear skies

#116 Bowmoreman

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 06:20 AM

OK, so if my CSC is to be believed, I am going to HAVE to get out there tonight; whether or not my cold is any better LOL. (which is why I was up at 4am today, didn't want to wake anyone upstairs!)...

Wifey will likely think I'm nuts (especially with a business trip to San Diego coming up on Sunday!), but I mean, c'mon... November 30th and "all dark blue squares" - it's like an omen or something...

So, I may be "Putting out the invite/call" later today, depending on how I'm feeling!

clear skies!

#117 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 07:34 AM

Mike,

I like the cooler idea for the pass around monitor-in-a-box. I can't wait for the report on the 7" Marshall. And I thought the Watec-35 was expensive! But, if the 7" is at least as good, you will probably end up costing me mo' money.

Jack

#118 BradH

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 11:11 AM

Here are a few shot I captured last night. First is M1. 28sec single frame no processing. Second M42 Iam pretty sure this is a 14sec capture, single frame no processing. I was tring different setting on Orion and I dont remember which one I used for this one.

Brad

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2018925-29220749.JPG


#119 BradH

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 11:12 AM

M42

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2018927-29221508raw.JPG


#120 semiosteve

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 11:18 AM

OK, here's a weird thought. When is someone going to figure out how to share their mallincam observing sessions real time on the web?

Picture being stuck at home with clouds and going over to some "observing channel" in CN and seeing what others are looking at in mallincam real time.

Would that be cool or what?

#121 BradH

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 11:26 AM

OK, here's a weird thought. When is someone going to figure out how to share their mallincam observing sessions real time on the web?

Picture being stuck at home with clouds and going over to some "observing channel" in CN and seeing what others are looking at in mallincam real time.

Would that be cool or what?


Steve

Here is a site that does or did do just that astrochannels

Brad

#122 Bowmoreman

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 11:50 AM

OK, so now this, to me mind you... is now no longer visual/viewing in feel... feels to mechanical and removed - again TO ME. YMMV.

How do you get/where is any sense of accomplishment, challenge?... more like renting time on a scope remotely or something like that....

Just my $.02

There may be a constituency out there to support this as a business model, and may not. It definitely is technically cool...

Whatever, all that said, they are using Mallincam Color Hyper camera! and some of their images are very, very nice...

clear skies

#123 semiosteve

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 11:57 AM

Thanks Brad, I am checking it out. Seems very nice. Interesting site. Looks like they are not scheduling broadcasts lately.

What I had in mind was more 'ad hoc' where each of us with a Mallincam may chose to 'simulcast' and share as we are observing. Of course, no music or scripts or sexy graphics and no explanation as one shifts from object to object - more like security cam feeds.

I'd rather have 5 choices of active feeds every night than 1 pre-scheduled, formal, glitzy feed per month.

My guess is that if Mallincan type technology catches on, we are going to see something informal emerge soon thereafter.

CN is the natural host (any CN VIP's listening?)...

#124 rshassell

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 12:07 PM

I've had my MallinCam for a couple of months, and I'm really impressed with what it can do. I've uploaded a few pics to my gallery, of M27, the Blue Snowball and the ISS. These are all pretty much just frame grabs from the recorded video from the MallinCam, with minimal processing.

rshassell Gallery

#125 Bowmoreman

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 12:17 PM

That ISS grab is WAY cool!!!!!


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