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Safari Parks in South Africa have a problem and you can help

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#1 Nightfall S Africa

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 06:04 PM

I am Doug Bullis, producer of the Astro. Soc. of So. Africa's Nightfall deep-sky journal. Covid has devastated one of this country's most popular income-bringing industries: safari parks, aka game ranches. These are former cattle and sheep ranches that joined their properties and stocked them with the "Big Five" (lions, elephants, rhinos, cape buffalo, and leopards), plus giraffes, and all those beautiful leaping deer-like impala and wildebeest you see on Nat Geo shows. Safari Parks are photo-only and have a large followings in European and N. American countries. Typically, retirees or young families come, stay a week, see the animals, hike, bike, and leave. They see S. Africa's resplendent skies on their way from dinner to their cabins, but nobody tells them what is actually up there. They go home never having seen 47 Tuc, the Tarantula Neb, Carina Neb, or Gamma Velorum at 60x through an eyepiece or anything else. When Covid came along the safari park industry was devastated: they still have the costs, but no income. Park owners are hungry for new ideas. The time is right for putting something on the ground.

I have recently begun pitching astrotourism as part of the Safari Park attractions. Safari Park owners are enthusiastic--but at present there is no product to deliver to them. The most promising idea is that a given park offers a "Big 5 of the African Sky" star-show once every week or two. The knowledgeable astronomer/presenter drives up to a circle of benches or hay bales before sunset, sets up an EAA-equipped scope, and after supper the guests troop out to see the show. The show is not looking through an eyepiece, but a large-sceen LCD monitor in the back of a delivery van or pickup bed, parked to face the attendees. The screen brightness is adjusted so people can look up at the object the astronomer is pointing out with a green laser, then down at the screen to see what it looks like at the equivalent of 40x to 120x.

Given such a setting and circumstance, how would you configure a setup from scope to LCD at the back of the van? What combination of scopes, mounts, EAA cameras, wiring, and battery power would you choose? This is a brand-new concept in S Africa that needs to be thought through carefully.

Thank you for your suggestions.


Edited by Nightfall S Africa, 25 July 2021 - 03:14 PM.


#2 Alien Observatory

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 08:54 PM

I sent you a PM for a possible EAA expert in S.A.   And I will make one very simple (and maybe expensive) all in one solution.  Get a Stellina and nothing else is needed.  Pat Utah :)



#3 MunichAtNight

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 12:50 PM

Hello Dough!

 

 

... What combination of scopes, mounts, EAA cameras, wiring, and battery power would you choose? This is a brand-new concept in S Africa that needs to be thought through carefully.

Thank you for your suggestions.

I think you are going to realize a great idea. I am just planing as service to offer for any sort of happening, ( party for wedding, birthday or more professional ideas as conventions and all sorts of "business" meetings ) an EAA-Service. So your idea is somehow similar to my idea. I think the equipment should as simply as possible, because being successfully you need help from non-professional people which don't have astronomical background.

 

But you need an equipment which is able to show easily "the show" with a beamer or a wide screen monitor / TV-set.

 

I don't think it will be important for the show to have a telescope which  has by "data-sheet" great options and figures, I think the "optical result" has to speak for itself. I am doing experiments with a simple telescope a newton f/5 with 650 mm optical length. But the most important thing is that it will be easy to handle the mount. Of course it must be a goto mount and there should be an automated mode for  alignment, because you will need help of non professionals.

 

M51 CUTOUT Stack 229frames 1832s V4

 

I decided to go in detail with Celestron AZ mounts and Starsense.

 

EAA Setup Skywatcher 130PDS

 

My setup runs with powerbanks over hours. This setup which can be put anywhere, started and will be allignend automatically. And after a short period of time ( 1, 2 maximum 3 minutes) you can select within stellarium any possible DSO and let the mount sledge to it and start showing for example M51 to the audience. I use windows tools out of the box as remote desktop access, and it can be easily shown to an audience by beamer or any other "big" device. Of course the "show-master" need some guidance and help, so he know what is tonight possible or not, depending on the astronomical season.

 

If you want to go more in detail, don't hesitate to contact me, we can do an meeting with Zoom or similar as well and I can demonstrate what I talked about.

 

But I am surely not the only one, who is able to help you. I am sure here in CN are many people and ideas which can help you.

 

Very interesting stuff and idea! Kind Regards - MunichAtNight - Ewald


Edited by MunichAtNight, 26 July 2021 - 12:52 PM.

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