SkyShow: an Astronomy / Constellation camp

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SkyShow: an Astronomy / Constellation camp

Postby SkyShowCamp » Tue Feb 03, 2004 3:33 am

SkyShow -- Astronomy / Constellation camp -- displays star charts with constellation names to visitors; located on outer playa with art car shuttle back and forth to camp.


The goal is have an art car/shuttle deliver people to a chill platform / area on the edge of the playa where the ambient light is at its lowest. Some sort of overlay on the actual sky would be ideal. We've considered a planetarium with projectors, fan-like rotating LED strings overhead, and a merry-go-round like device that would rotate screens to be projected on. Constellation outlines, names, and short attention span theater disguised as "bite-size factoids" will be presented to those who are hanging out in the chillspace. Music (and thus power) will need to be generated.


Thoughts? Feedback? Ramblings?


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Postby juanicoheal » Tue Feb 03, 2004 2:18 pm

Vtech electronics produces a "planetarium" projector for children.

Some friends have one, and say it works pretty well. I bet it would go great inside a dome.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Tue Feb 03, 2004 2:41 pm

Good idea. :) The art car could be a Chariot of the Gods or UFO or whatever. Somewhere on the web you can get the time and azimuth for various satellites - make an event out of a satellite sighting - maybe you could con some maroons into thinking it was a ufo...
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exploring planetarium projector ideas...

Postby SkyShowCamp » Tue Feb 03, 2004 3:10 pm


Thanks for the great ideas and feedback!

I'm curious about this Vtech electronics planetarium projector. I went searching for similar on the web, and they all seem pretty fragile -- how can they be made playa-proof?

Are you stuck with their display maps, or do you know of any where you can design your own?

Know any that are lcd based (e.g. digital and can be computer driven and thus current), or are they all lite-brite based (e.g. holes in paper offering only a static map, which is all I've found so far)?

The ones I found were limited, flimsy, and about $20. Any idea what the costs is for purchase/rental of a professional unit or similar would be? Anyone know how to build one from scratch (that will keep the sky map current).

Look Up!
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Postby juanicoheal » Mon Feb 23, 2004 2:15 am

OK, so I can't find the kiddie projector again. . .
damn must be around here somwhere....

HOWEVER - I did see a photo of a planetarium projector in the BM photo gallery...
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Astronomy Camp

Postby cptnsulu » Fri Mar 05, 2004 1:06 am

Hey there,

Are there going to be any telescopes setup at this remote location?

Although the remote location sounds great, won't it be difficult to have in essence two camps to operate?

As this will be my first burn, are the surrounding lights at camp too overwhelming to do the light show, etc?

Thanks,

Cary
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Postby Chai Guy » Fri Mar 05, 2004 12:11 pm

The ones I found were limited, flimsy, and about $20. Any idea what the costs is for purchase/rental of a professional unit or similar would be?



Here's one, pretty sure it's more than $20


http://www.zps.com.ar/english/proye.htm
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Update on ideas, Thank you! & Replies

Postby SkyShowCamp » Sat Mar 06, 2004 8:21 am

So much has happened since my original post!

For starters, we've gotten a domain, and are posting the latest description of the ideas (which now focus on more playa-friendly materials, and a MUCH more reasonable reliance on technology) here:
http://www.SkyShowCamp.org/
and here:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/skyshowcamp


Thank you for the sky map projection link!

Replies for Cary:

> Are there going to be any telescopes setup at this remote location?

At this point, I don't think so. The problems with the telescopes on the playa, as I learned last year:
* Dust storms can pick up out of nowhere, and will wreck havoc on optics. If we had scopes out at the artwork, we'd need somewhere safe to house them and someone always on guard to put them inside / outside depending on instantaneous changes in whether.
* Unless you have an art car or some custom bike-attached setup, it's really hard to get a telescope from your camp out to a place where the ambient light is lowest.
* Telescopes bring very one-on-one interactions in a place that really wants community-based ones. (Not to mention that people generally aren’t too keen on waiting in lines...)

That said, I imagine that there will be a few camp members (myself included) who will bring their scopes and have impromptu viewings.


> Although the remote location sounds great, won't it be difficult to have in essence two camps to operate?

Latest version of the idea has minimized the amount of effort at the art installation and has turned it more into a show, and less into an active area. This way we can add elements (like couches, music, etc...) as the participation / membership grows, but those elements are no longer required for the idea to be a success.

> As this will be my first burn, are the surrounding lights at camp too overwhelming to do the light show, etc?

The ambient light around the camps is significant, and definitely too much to be able to see the sky well -- the difference out at the playa outskirts is significant. Also, there is too much ground-focused distraction (noise, light shows, etc...), IMHO, to succeed in presenting an efficient SkyShow.


Look Up!

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Re: Update on ideas, Thank you! & Replies

Postby diane o'thirst » Fri Apr 02, 2004 12:39 am

SkyShowCamp wrote:* Telescopes bring very one-on-one interactions in a place that really wants community-based ones. (Not to mention that people generally aren’t too keen on waiting in lines...)


How about tethered binoculars? You can have a great stargazing experience with even the cheapest ones (hit garage sales, thrift stores, Freecycle). Several people can hang around one set of binocs and pass them between each other. Plus you don't throw out your back bending over to look into them.

If you build a table to tether them to, you can design the table in such a way that all that needs to be done in a sandstorm is put them down and close a lid over them.
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large viewing angles; forced perspectives; whole constellati

Postby SkyShowCamp » Wed Apr 07, 2004 2:56 pm

The goal is to force perspective to show the exact part of the sky, and to show whole constellations. Although I like the idea of tethered binoculars, it'd be really hard (even with having someone there at all times) to force the perspective.

Also, binoculars would make it very hard to see the constellation as a whole.

The overarching goal of SkyShow is to give people the mental tools to be able to understand the sky both on and off the playa.

Thanks for the suggestion!

LOOK UP!

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Re: Update on ideas, Thank you! & Replies

Postby spectabillis » Wed Apr 07, 2004 4:22 pm

SkyShowCamp wrote:So much has happened since my original post!

* Dust storms can pick up out of nowhere, and will wreck havoc on optics. If we had scopes out at the artwork, we'd need somewhere safe to house them and someone always on guard to put them inside / outside depending on instantaneous changes in whether.
* Unless you have an art car or some custom bike-attached setup, it's really hard to get a telescope from your camp out to a place where the ambient light is lowest.
* Telescopes bring very one-on-one interactions in a place that really wants community-based ones. (Not to mention that people generally aren’t too keen on waiting in lines...)

The ambient light around the camps is significant, and definitely too much to be able to see the sky well -- the difference out at the playa outskirts is significant. Also, there is too much ground-focused distraction (noise, light shows, etc...), IMHO, to succeed in presenting an efficient SkyShow.


Great idea for a camp!

Dust is a major problem for optics, it has a very fine grit and gets into everything inside the scopes, can scratch the hell out of your mirrors if you dont constantly clean them out.

Light pollution is around the camp, if you go out on the playa a little ways it can greatly drop off. But unless you have a constant breeze the smoke from various fires gets in the way of clear observations.

A projection inside a dome is a good idea, but I would think your choice of covering/canvas would be important. Semi-transparent? Fully blocking of outside light? Dark but reflective of light inside?

It sounds like a meditative, quiet environment would be nice but maybe some sort of ambient music to help drown out the beats from the camp?

Just some random thoughts...not real important.
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Constellation answer, You Are Here

Postby harnettr » Mon Sep 20, 2004 5:14 pm

An answer to showing the constellations was done this year. It was called You Are Here, I happened upon it near the Temple on Friday night. It was brilliant and complicated but let me try to explain.
A 10 foot high single arch has tethered to it a tablet LCD computer screen. The tether is flexible so the Burner holds the screen and can move it in any direction, on any axis. Inside the screen are motion detection devices to sense precisely any movement the Burner makes to the screen. The screen displays the exact constellations that appear directly behind it. So I hold the screen above me and it displays the big dipper, I then move the screen to the side to reveal the real big dipper directly behind where the screen was. As you move the screen up and down, the constellations move across the screen depicting exactly the correct location of the stars. It blew me away. It was so good that you could point the screen at the ground and it would show the constellations on the other side of the Earth with the continents superimposed overtop. The artist was there to describe it all and said it came about from spending lots of time navigating in deserts at night by the stars. Ridiculously clever.
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