Black Rock Observatory

Building art? Planning to perform? Building a stage or performance space? Talk about it here.
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aresvalles
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Black Rock Observatory

Post by aresvalles » Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:39 am

Hello fellow citizens! Another great burn and decompression have passed and it's time to start thinking and planning for BRC 2014 and this town needs an observatory! The group that brought you the L.A. CORE in 2012, the Human Spirit to L.A. Decompression and the Mars Rover Art Car to Cargo Cult is now setting it's sights on deep playa. We plan on building an observatory complete with telescope and dome, an open air planetarium and many weather proof options like a radio telescope, a meteorite you can touch and bunch of hands-on sciencey stuff that would make Carl Sagan, MR. Wizard and your 7th grade science teacher proud. We'll be throwing a star party, so bring your scope and your (eye)balls to deep playa to see other worlds.

Here is our Facebook group, we'd love to hear your input or star gaze with you. See you on the playa in 2014.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/387168361400321/

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Lonesomebri
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by Lonesomebri » Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:11 am

This is a great project. The idea of a "lights out" period to allow everyone to observe the heavens from the playa had been floated. This would let people enjoy the stars without counting on everyone else in the city to pitch in. Can hardly wait to see it, along with everything else in 2014. One thing though, the meteorite you plan to bring and allow people to touch; I'm really gonna need to see some documentation on that.

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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by BoyScoutGirl » Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:47 am

Wow, wow, wow! I love this idea. I adored the Mars rover and everybody's orange jumpsuits, but there would be a real chance of me swooning if I stumbled across an observatory out there, or even just a guy with telescope! And the new moon will be on Monday of the event, if I'm not mistaken. Great for star-viewing! I'm going to write one more excited sentence just for the chance to throw another supportive exclamation point at this idea!

I may be a poor grad student, but I'd be happy to put my money where my mouth is in support of this when the time comes. Is there any way we can get involved without using BookFace? You mentioned L.A. decompression and CORE - if you guys are in SoCal, I may be able to help with buildparties or as volunteer labor at fundraisers. For SCIENCE!
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sppryor
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by sppryor » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:05 am

This makes me wish I lived in LA so I could help.

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some seeing eye
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by some seeing eye » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:51 pm

That sounds awesome. Here is an idea, which you can ignore as you please. Art cars are required to be brightly lit. And they seem to bring large sound systems. What about a location by the airport point, or the corresponding point continuing the say 7:15 meridian. Or by walk-in camping. I'm sure the airport-spaceport would be glad to host and keep the lights down. They have infrastructure as well.

Best with your project!
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by trilobyte » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:39 am

I'm giving this a nudge over to Art & Performance, since that's a better fit for announcing and talking about art installation plans (it will be moved again when the 2014 event boards are created). Good luck with the project.

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theCryptofishist
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by theCryptofishist » Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:28 pm

trilobyte wrote:(it will be moved again when the 2014 event boards are created).
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by Agaton » Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:32 am

I also read about the star-gasing black-out suggestion. Perhaps these two projects could be coordinated. It's not that I would want to pressure anybody to turn down there lights or anything, but I hope you will promote the idea. What better time than with th eMoon so dark this year!
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by Elderberry » Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:46 am

Gets my vote.
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by Ugly Dougly » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:57 am

Choosing a deep-playa location is better than telling everyone to turn their lights off at the same time.

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Savannah
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by Savannah » Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:41 am

Yup, I like it too.
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by FossaFerox » Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:10 pm

If you need any manual labor in LA I've got a strong back and a lot of free time. The second part will change as we get closer to the burn but I'd love to help you guys make this happen. :)
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by BeeWeeDee » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:45 am

I shudder at the thought of all the dust on the optics of a telescope - even within the protection of a dome. Walk-in camping for sure - less dust by the random art car and less light pollution, again from the random art car.
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aresvalles
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by aresvalles » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:37 am

Thanks everyone for your support! There a handful of targets well within our reach even from urban skies with a lot of light pollution, so even with art cars and laser beams and such, we should have some jaw-dropping views of Saturn, Jupiter, the Moon, and a couple of bright nebulas, glubular clusters and galaxies. Dust will most certainly be an issue, a proper cleaning will certainly be included in the budget. We've thought about positive pressure in the dome to help abate the playa from coating our mirror and we'll likely have a compressor nearby. I have an 8" and 6" scope I am willing to give to to the dust in case of dustpocalypse.

If you want to follow along or offer support, you can follow the project at BlackRockObservatory.com or join our FaceCrack group here https://www.facebook.com/groups/387168361400321/

Now, do you know any burners with a BIG ASS TELESCOPE?

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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by nohimn » Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:25 am

Burner here on the east coast planning to build a big ass telescope. I'm working with a few friends on design and research right now.

Our ultimate goal is a meter-class Dobsonian. However, the lead-time on creating the mirror at most shops is 1 year +, so we're looking to build a 20" Dobsonian for this year as a prototype for following years.

For those who are curious, a 20" comes out to 7-8 feet. 40" comes out to around 16 feet.

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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by kiss-o-matic » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:21 pm

Just sounding off more praise. I think this is a great idea. There's a decent amount of light pollution out there, but the playa (and definitely the road to the playa) is the only time I can ever see even a hint of the Milky Way. Don't own any star-gazing gear, so a theme-camp would be great.

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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by some seeing eye » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:15 pm

You might get in touch with the Table Mountain Star Party organizers and participants. And you might check with the Earth Guardians on the idea of an off playa site to be toured as your spot.
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by chiefdanfox » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:37 pm

I brought an 8" sct. 2008,2010. You see dust. Even if lights out, the starlight is enough to illuminate the the kicked-up interference. Seems particularly so with a dobs. My scope worked better in the day. Venus, capella. Could not see the setting 1/2 moon. Only dust. Clearly visible to naked eyes. Invisible to the scope.

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aresvalles
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by aresvalles » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:29 am

Thanks again for your support everyone! People are coming out of the wood work to offer their support, it looks like we're building some momentum. We'll likely shoot for a deep playa location, I think if we were in walk-in camping or some off-site location would reduce foot traffic. You can see Saturn's rings from downtown wherever-the-hell-you-want. Our ringed friend is the best target through a telescope anyway, so we're going to try to show it to as many burners as possible.

We meet every couple of weeks via video conference, please join our Facebook group or email/PM me for details.
nohimn wrote:Burner here on the east coast planning to build a big ass telescope. I'm working with a few friends on design and research right now.

Our ultimate goal is a meter-class Dobsonian. However, the lead-time on creating the mirror at most shops is 1 year +, so we're looking to build a 20" Dobsonian for this year as a prototype for following years.

For those who are curious, a 20" comes out to 7-8 feet. 40" comes out to around 16 feet.
Meter! Damn. There's a cat, Bob Summerifield, on the east coast who built "the Yard Scope." A meter Dobsonian thats pretty awesome, perhaps he can help. If you finish before the burn, wouldnt you like a coating of Gypsum for your optics?!

Thanks everyone again for your excitement and enthusiasm. I hope to meet you at a build or on playa, come say hello to Major Tom.

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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by nohimn » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:58 am

Hello all!

Since I've posted about my plans to build a large scope for the burn, I've been in touch with the BRO team. We're coordinating our efforts to bring this project out to playa for 2014 :)

We ordered the optics for the 20" telescope. I know dust will likely bring interference, and we've been discussing with other people who have brought telescopes to playa about the best ways to circumvent a lot of the issues. We're fortunate to have a number of talented people on board, and I'm confident that we'll come up with an agreeable solution.

The interest we're generating for this project has been very positive so far, and I'm hoping we can keep up the momentum :)

-Cris

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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by BoyScoutGirl » Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:13 pm

This may be an idea founded on ignorance or misunderstanding, but would getting the 'scopes higher off the desert floor lessen the amount of dust in the air in front of them?

I know the playa dust is particularly fine, but surely during calm air there's not as much floating three or four storeys high as there is at ground level?
When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.

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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by Ratty » Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:23 pm

Thanks for asking BSG. I was thinking the same thing but since my extent of telescope experience is a trip or 20 to Griffith Park, I didn't want to jump in. There are plenty of structures 2 or 3 stories tall. If you can build a telescope I'm sure you can build a platform with stairs. (Surrounded by a protective wall of magic?) Hmmm. Gotta go sketch this out.
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by FossaFerox » Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:44 pm

Ratty wrote:Thanks for asking BSG. I was thinking the same thing but since my extent of telescope experience is a trip or 20 to Griffith Park, I didn't want to jump in. There are plenty of structures 2 or 3 stories tall. If you can build a telescope I'm sure you can build a platform with stairs. (Surrounded by a protective wall of magic?) Hmmm. Gotta go sketch this out.
Just remember that the harder it is for dust to reach the lens the harder it will likely be to clean the lens. Also, the bad dust storms are several hundred feet tall. Watch this from where I linked to about 1:40.

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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by trilobyte » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:52 pm

I think that no matter what you do, the telescope would need to be staffed during all 'open' hours, and a responsible person would need to put the covers on if things got dicey (as well as be able to care for the lens without scratching, etc). It might be wise to plan ahead for shifts and leads, and have some kind of lockdown contingency plan in the event that the scope needs to be covered and left unattended.

Perhaps the observation platform can be designed as a "BYO telescope" space, and invite other burners to bring their scopes and enjoy the sky from the unique and awesome vantage point. That's a cool way to encourage participation, and it would be fascinating to see what comes out there, and if others who bring their hardware share in the magical experiences with others. In other words, will the dude who brings his/her own scope take a look and then continue on his way, or will he/she spend more time there, interacting with others and letting strangers look through their lens? I think there'd be more of the latter, which could make the demand on the organizers' gear a little less.

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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by BoyScoutGirl » Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:26 pm

FossaFerox wrote:...Just remember that the harder it is for dust to reach the lens the harder it will likely be to clean the lens. Also, the bad dust storms are several hundred feet tall...
I don't think that's necessarily the case. The platform would just need to be wide enough to move around to the front of the 'scope. Of course, building a high platform is another feat of engineering on top of everything esle, and its utility is based on the reasoning that higher areas are less dusty when it's calm. Which is why I said "during calm air" - I totally agree that there's no way of avoiding the dust when it's really blowing. You just hunker down and wait it out.

But dust blows wouldn't be the times you'd attempt to look through the 'scope anyway. It's the times like Chief Dan Fox pointed out that I'd want to avoid: there's so little dust in the air you can see something with the naked eye but, for the dust, the telescope can't see it. Would this be remedied by elevation? I don't know.
When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.

- Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by Thecatman » Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:01 pm

Hopefully I can make it in 2014. I will be sure to seek out the Black Rock Observatory. I have a pair of Parks 11x80 binocualrs (edit spelling :roll: ) that I'd love to bring but am concerned about dust....and sticky fingers.
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by chiefdanfox » Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:25 am

I want to clarify my sentiment a little. Things at a high angle are seen in calm skies. Anything lower than about 40¤ (like the moon in 2010 in above example) was invisible because of the enormous amount of dust, under still air. Keep in mind that the dust may be getting kicked up then held aloft by ionization. The "moon day" was still at attempted observation time.
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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by chiefdanfox » Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:59 am

Light reading aside, I would recommend a place with foot traffic. I had some decent lines form. Saturn by day looks more like the pictures in books. I'd bring my scope.

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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by chiefdanfox » Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:07 am

Elevation will definitely help on the lower angle targets. Even a modest platform changes the angle enough to make big difference. We just need to find someone who knows how to build a modest platform.

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Re: Black Rock Observatory

Post by Elliot » Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:32 am

.
Construction scaffolding? Can be rented, and with stairs as in the Mant Farm a couple years ago.

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