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Great for outreach!

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#1 kent

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 07:08 PM

Well now that we have the new forum up and running. I thought I would explain to everybody how I got my hands on Rocks wonderful Hyper Plus camera.
A friend of mine runs (owns) the largest privately owned campground on P.E.I.( major tourist destination in Eastern Canada). He came to me about two and a half years ago and asked me to set him up with a rig that could be used to show a number of the campers at the park the wonderful sites of the night sky.
So I thought big aperture to see all the DSO's hence the 14" Meade came to be in my signature.
Alright now on to the Mallincam. My friend wanted something that could be displayed on a big screen T.V. so that up 30 or more campers could view at once instead waiting in line to view at the eyepiece. So after making a few phone calls to see what would work best, we came to the conclusion that the Mallincam was just what the doctor ordered.
So now I have find out how this thing works and what would be the perfect settings to use it. But since I have received it (about one month ago) I've had it out for about half an hour due to the clouds curse. I mean look at my csc!!
So that is the story of how I got the Mallincam. So I'm trying to have as much fun with it until next summer when I can teach my friend how to use it properly. And I will lose it. :bawling:
So in concluding I think this would be the ideal camera in order to show people the true wonders of the night sky and just maybe turn a few of them on to this wonderful hobby.
Now if the weather would start to cooperate I might be able to see what this little puppy can do! :praying:

#2 b1gred

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 08:30 PM

I agree, one of my observing buddies has a video EP (I don't remember the brand right now) which does several second captures and integration and people are AMAZED by the views at open-houses, etc.

#3 cocobolo

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 09:46 PM

Yes, it will be great for outreach. Our club in Nanaimo has as one of the main goals, public outreach. Let's face it, astronomy is one terrific hobby. I know, I know, I don't have to tell you that, that would be preaching to the converted. We have been thinking that a video setup of some kind would be able to serve many people at the same time, thus reaching a potentially bigger audience. We run evenings at some of the local schools, with both students and their parents involved. Plus regular observing nights where everyone is invited to attend. Telescopes are there for anyone who does not have one, and so on. We have done a small amount of playing around with a TV screen and electronic e.p. with some success. But I can see that something like the Mallincam will be a big jump up. Definitely looking forward to my first peek at one of them. Keith

#4 Bowmoreman

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 11:51 PM

My first outreach with my son's 2nd and 3rd grade class is scheduled for 12/20, with cloud date of 12/21... they are going to come over to WSO for a complete "event"...

You can bet with a yard full of 7-8 year olds that MCHP and the monitor are going to figure prominently! :lol:

wish us - clear skies!

#5 Douglas

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 05:22 PM

It's great for birthday parties where you can recruit tomorrow's astronomers. I used the MallinCam for my son's 8th birthday party. My son's enthusiasm infected his friends and now their teachers tell me what science nuts all his friends are. They want to be astronomers, astronauts and scientists. Before that they only played Webkinz computer games!

It's great for when you have company over too, you can blow the adults away too. It is the most effective way to get new folks excited about astronomy. It also allows us to share our passion in a way you are sure to get the reaction you're hoping for.

- Doug

#6 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 10:36 PM

Kind of says it all

Posted Image

Abita Springs, Louisiana Outreach Event - Late 2004

Jack

#7 Douglas

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 11:16 PM

That is a great photo Jack!

- Doug

#8 skyguy88

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 02:03 AM

We've been doing outreach programs with video for several years with great response. Used a mintron for a couple of years and moved up to a Mallincam Hyper Color a year ago. For new visitors the reaction is astonishment. It provides a wonderful opportunity to talk about the features that we're looking at together.
I think the best way to use these tools in a group setting is to look at a large part of the sky with naked eye, laser pointers, and binoculars and then use traditional scopes to observe regional targets and finish off with video images. That presents the spectacular objects in context and sends folks home with a more complete sense of the wonders of the night sky and the ability to find some of the objects on their own. The cameras present a very small part of the sky. By incorporating the other tools the picture is much more complete.
This approach is particularly effective with the summer milky way with its brilliant em. nebulae as highlights and the Orion region in winter and spring featuring M42 and 43 and, on a good night, the flame and horsehead neb.
Then, of course, you don't want to let folks go home without showing them the ring, dumbell and a few galaxies.
It's a great recipe for stimulating interest in astronomy. We've almost tripled our membership in the last couple of years. I'm confident that a significant part of that growth
has been a result of our outreach program (Hubble has helped too, but without these tools Hubble might have led to disappointment at observing events).

Bill McDonald
Prescott, AZ
5000 ft.

Celestron C8 ASGT
Mallincam HC, .5/.3 FR (Moog ?) via SAC, 12 in old TV, Laptop, Aver TV cardbus, 20 in LCD mon.
SAC mintron
Meade Starfinder 8 in Newt
DSI

#9 kent

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 04:26 AM

Welcome Bill to C-N! Wow what a recipe indeed! What a wonderful way to plan out a night with a eager crowd of first time viewers. You pretty much have all the bases covered. If you don't mind Bill I will be using your formula every chance I get! This is just the thing needed at the campground where this equipment will be set up for the masses to view needed. There's over 750 campsites there with as many as 5000 campers there on holiday weekends. Like I said this prescription is just what the doctor ordered. Thanks!!

#10 kent

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 04:32 AM

Kind of says it all


Does it ever! There's the best picture yet I've seen of one of these set ups!! Catch them when there young.

#11 rolandskythree

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 11:31 AM

Great posts and good theme. My wife and I use the video astro tools for outreach also. It is the tool that really makes it possible. Typically we daisy chain monitors (one at the scope and one 15-20 feet away or in another building) where we have a group of people. We sketch, so using this setup also permits a group of artists or sketchers to study the monitor image together. We go either wired or wireless to the second monitor or projector so we have lots of flexibility for the type/size crowd.

Example: last July 4 in Virginia the Chinese Church we work with in Charlottesville came out for a picnic. They said they wanted to see some sky objects. It was 20 minute setup time for our 12.5 Dob on an EQ platform, sky commander, layout of wires/monitors, etc. I waited 30 minutes started beaming objects to the second monitor. In one hour we covered 2 clusters, one nebula, and a couple galaxies with 25 people watching/asking questions. It worked wonderfully.

The method is so good we are constructing a 102ED refractor (fits in a carry-on piece of luggage) kit with a yet undetermined mount arrangement and a Pro Dob B&W camera with a battery operated LCD screen to take to Uganda next year. The villagers know we are coming to teach observational astronomy as part of our ministry function, but when they see monitor images I already know they will be amazed and appreciative of the complexity of the heavens. They will, of course, use small telescopes and binoculars for the instruction we will conduct, but there is nothing like seeing a good image on a screen for detail and beauty of an object.

Roland

#12 Bowmoreman

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 02:06 PM

Roland, based on my results with my Vixen 100ED, I think the 102ED will work perhaps even better! It is after f7.5 I believe, and my 100ED is f9...

I bet something like a GP or GPD2 (get one used?) might be the right size/cost/tracking quality for the 102ED...

Clear skies

#13 rolandskythree

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 05:02 PM

Yeh, Dave, we are looking forward to trying it. It is the SV102ED f/6.95. The vendor I am using will fit it with a CG5...more than ample. SV folks really like it. When it is not stand alone it will piggyback the 12.5 Dob. The combination for astro video should be very good.

Roland

#14 Bowmoreman

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 05:14 PM

sounds like a good deal/setup!

I'm getting really excited getting mentally ready for my outreach to the 2nd and 3rd graders... I'm praying for clear skies! That's all I really need!

Clear skies to all

#15 b1gred

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 12:38 AM

The "Green Laser Pointer" off topic posts from this thread have been moved to the Equipment Forum.

RandyR - Moderator.

#16 Bowmoreman

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 04:48 AM

Reposting, with edits, the "non-laser" part of my Post...

My plan right now is to:

1) explain about Solstice, and how different stars/constellations are visible at different times of the year - establish concept of orbits, wobbling balls, etc!

2) then point out some nice constellations/asterisms; since we're starting at 6PM I should be able to cover Cygnus/Northern Cross, then over to Cassiopeia, Orion, etc...

3) then point out some naked eye sights (Pleaides, Hyades, maybe M31 if it is a good night! - though the moon will be up... the moon (duh)...

4) then we'll start using scopes, doing visual first, and then finish things with Mallincam. (though, If I can score M27 and M57 before they set, I may START with them since they are so gosh-darned colorful!

5) Then on to galaxies and Nebulas. I am hoping I can repeat my score of the Horsehead the other night - I know that would be a hit... and I know M31 and M33 will be hits as well... M81 may round out the galaxies.

There will be some challenges with Orion, though, because it may not be "up" (clear of my WSO rolloff roof) in time...

I want to do Mars with them, but so far, seeing here in New England just makes it a reddish ball with no discernable detail no matter what glass/mirrors I put against it... Plus at 6PM it'll be too low for best observation.

Again, though, I'm praying for clear skies!

clear skies to all

#17 David Pavlich

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 08:19 AM

Just about every outreach I participate in, Jack is there with "big orange" and his Mallincam. Always a big hit. And during slack times, I get him to go to some really faint stuff that I can't see through my larger scope. :confused: Good fun, indeed.

David

#18 Bowmoreman

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 04:46 AM

Well, update.

The 20/21st didn't happen - something about SNOW, ICE, etc here in Massachusetts!

Anyways, we're rescheduled for tomorrow (Saturday 1/12) evening starting at 6PM; I should have about 12-14 2nd/3rd graders and parents too!

Now I've got my RTP all setup AND the Mallincam; should be a good time!

so far, things look somewhat promising... We shall see

Praying for...

clear enough skies!

#19 kent

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 08:23 AM

Good luck Dave! Give them a great show! :waytogo:

#20 smokin oakum

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 09:09 AM

Well, update.

The 20/21st didn't happen - something about SNOW, ICE, etc here in Massachusetts!

Anyways, we're rescheduled for tomorrow (Saturday 1/12) evening starting at 6PM; I should have about 12-14 2nd/3rd graders and parents too!

Now I've got my RTP all setup AND the Mallincam; should be a good time!

so far, things look somewhat promising... We shall see

Praying for...

clear enough skies!


I'll pray too! Never can hurt, right? Show them kids what our passion is all about. One thing that I know from experience with the younger gen. is they tend to listen up when there are gadgets and do-dads showing them vivid colors, and the Mallincam certanly does that. Make sure to give us a report on how things went. You know how much we LOVE reports!!!

Clear enough skies!
Neil

#21 Bowmoreman

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 09:22 AM

Will do, Neil... right now my weather forecast for tomorrow evening looks... promising... Bolton CSC says 30-40% overcast, but other weather sources say either "mostly clear" (weather.com, noaa), or 13% overcase (weather underground)...

Whats weird is the Bolton CSC - about 2 miles from here - has data for Saturday PM... mine is BLACK (i.e. missing) for that time - but only on cloudcover!)...

Will take all the prayers for clearness that are offered!

clear enough skies!

#22 smokin oakum

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 09:40 AM

Will do, Neil... right now my weather forecast for tomorrow evening looks... promising... Bolton CSC says 30-40% overcast, but other weather sources say either "mostly clear" (weather.com, noaa), or 13% overcase (weather underground)...

Whats weird is the Bolton CSC - about 2 miles from here - has data for Saturday PM... mine is BLACK (i.e. missing) for that time - but only on cloudcover!)...

Will take all the prayers for clearness that are offered!

clear enough skies!


Yeah I looked at your CSC, and the black is a bit weird. Does that black mean BETTER than dark blue? :jump: I doubt it, but possitive thinking right? My CSC shows that tomorow night might be my first real first light with the Mallincam. I took it for a spin last night, but only looked at mars through one of them sucker holes. Orion never showed it's face and I DO see what you mean by tracking. Brian at Round Table said that mine is shipping out next week! That will give me a couple of weeks to play before my first outreach with about 30 kids at a place here in Wilmington called Dreams. It's for kids from broken homes, to have an outlet and stay out of trouble.

Giving back is such a selfish thing sometimes, isn't it? It makes me feel great, and I know that is selfish, but God understands.

Good luck
Neil

#23 Bowmoreman

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 11:15 AM

That's great, Neil! I feel the same way! :jump:

Well, whatever was going on w/ my CSC is now fixed; though I'm NOT liking particularly what it is now showing - 40-50% cloud cover at 6PM tomorrow...

But, weather underground is showing MUCH better only 16% clouds - so I'll go with their forecast :roflmao:

clear enough skies (and fast receipt of your RTP!)

#24 smokin oakum

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 11:33 AM

That's great, Neil! I feel the same way! :jump:

Well, whatever was going on w/ my CSC is now fixed; though I'm NOT liking particularly what it is now showing - 40-50% cloud cover at 6PM tomorrow...

But, weather underground is showing MUCH better only 16% clouds - so I'll go with their forecast :roflmao:

clear enough skies (and fast receipt of your RTP!)


Now my CSC is broken! The part that is showing looks good. I've checked my weather forcast, and it says that Sat. looks like !@#$% so I'm going to go with my CSC! :lol:

Later brother.
Neil

#25 Bowmoreman

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 11:54 PM

Success!!!

Sweet Success!

I had 13 2nd and 3rd graders + their parents over tonight... from 6PM til about 7:45 (after all everyone had to leave to get home in time to watch the Patriots game!)...

Anyways.. in spite of a bit of hazy clouds...

We had a wonderful 1st outreach event here at WSO:

Before they all arrived (i.e. between 5:20PM and 6PM) I setup the Vixen to be fully aligned and pointed at M31; with MCHP setup and the 19" Proton - I had something that was a sure - fallback - best bet!

Then, I setup the RTP with the 10" XTi and had that all aligned in advance... so that as they arrived, I would be able to show things...

1) first I pointed out things like Polaris - linking that to their learnings in school about the earths axis, tilting, seasons, etc...

2) then showed a few consteallations (again, using GLP) - specifically, Cassiopeia, Orion, Taurus, and Orion - with the hazy clouds that was about all there was...

3) then , after all had arrived (it takes a few minutes for that many separate parents and kiddo's to arrive!), we started in with the crescent moon - using my old 15mm Meade EP) - given its crescent nature, they ALL thought this was VERY cool - took about 20 minutes to get through everyone!

Every single person thought the moon was WAY cool - some called the craters "holes" (which I thought was cute) but all thought it was "cool", "wow", "oh my goodness", etc...

4) then on to Mars!!! put in my 6mm Radian... there were moments of "wow, I see some brown bands", or "is that white" (poles?), etc... but they were less impressed - I had notified all that it was smaller and farther away, etc...

5) then I moved on to M31 - via MCHP in the WSO... I used the old trick of having them all count down to the updates on the integrations - in this case I was using 28 seconds... while explaining about galaxies, how far away, etc... then BAAM - there it was in all its glory! Praise God! Amazing to all viewing!

6) We closed up with Orion Nebula in the XT10i back on the RTP - nice and greenish nebula with the trapezium nicely illuminated for all to see - all via the an old 15mm Plossl...

90 minutes of great time with a dozen 8-9 year olds and their parents!

Thanks to my wife - for the pitchers of hot chocolate and fresh backed cookies - and our school (Imago School) for the support!!!

I will be doing this again! It was SO rewarding...

and thanks to God for the clear skies - which lasted JUST long enough - by 8:00 pm (game time coincidentally?) the high clouds were a-thickening!)...

Outreach with (or without) MCHP is cool!

clear enough skies to all!


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