Earlier, I had posted a blog about the thoughts I put into selecting the right phone & plan for a trip to Tokyo : ipernity.com/blog/stargazer95050/4716358
When traveling to european countries from the US, it becomes easier, as there are very low hardware obstacles. Nearly all modern, UNLOCKED US-phones have sufficient capabilities to connect to the european GSM carriers. There are few (Verizon & Sprint) phones that cannot be used at all, due to CDMA vs GSM incompatibility.
There remains a…
Many people cannot (or don't want to) imagine life without constant connectivity to the Internet -- even during their vacation. When you travel abroad, you need to make preparations for that.
The MOST IMPORTANT PRECAUTION to take is to check the terms & conditions and (expensive) charges that can arise from using your phone on a foreign carrier's voice or data-network. To prevent excessive charges, make sure you disable all kinds of roaming. Removing your SIM and solely use WIFI is a good…
"Build your own" in this case doesn't mean soldering and writing thousands of line of code. Instead I take advantage of available HW & SW and combine them and hopefully end up with a better (and lower-cost) solution than the off-the-shelf items.
This is an ongoing adventure -- come back to see the progress ...
In PART #1, ipernity.com/blog/stargazer95050/4689836 I described the reasons for choosing the Chevy Astro (cargo)-van as the basis for my modifications. And I was able to find one that already had a good amount of camping modifications -- Here I want to show the choices & modifications needed to further optimize the storage & still have convenient access.
This is a list of observations & experiences I have made while building my van. The main use will be to transport my equipment & myself and to get some rest before or after an astro-photography session. Of course, I also will use the van for extended roadtrips and sleep in there, but not all the time.
It won't be a mobile home and no #vanlife -- the ASTRO is too small for that. It is more like a sturdy tent on wheels. And my goal was to build it on a small budget (< $4,000) and not use a large RV (mobile home), big van or SUV. Feel free to add your comments & experience with other models.
My recommendation is using OPEN/FREE SOFTWARE and LOCAL STORAGE (instead of "cloud"). To further simplify usage, the USB-stick will contain separate partitions for the Boot-OS (to run the backup) and for the STORAGE (of the backup snapshots).
The power requirements will change as you progress from using a tripod + camera to a (small) tracking telescope with a SLR and up to a more complex setup using auto-guiding (with a laptop), a larger mount, CCD-imager & dew- heater(s).
In this article, I describe the more successful implementations & outline the way, technological improvements have kept up with the increasing demand for DC power for a mobile telescope setup.
I am only recommending items I think they are useful -- it doesn't mean I have purchased & tested each & every item. I will explain, why I think this is a good (or a bad/expensive) choice.
Please don't take this "shopping list" too literal -- it is a list I've compiled from my own experience with the CGEM & iEQ45 and I want to point out important accessories you may miss during your 1st or 2nd round of shopping.
Disclaimer : These are my personal opinions -- I have received no compensation for this blog entry
The biggest investment needed for astrophotography is _TIME_.
It takes time to learn how to use the tools, time to get to places, time to photograph and time to learn from the mistakes and repeat that cycle.
An astrophotography setup with lots of quality equipment isn't cheap but you may want to put it into perspective to other hobbies or to SLR camera equipment you already have bought.
Plate-solving is useful -- especially when you use it to correct a telescope's position in real-time . You also can feed the solver an existing photo and manually read the results but using the output can be cumbersome. Manual copy & paste coordinates of input fields of tools like Stellarium helps, but that approach isn't very user friendly.
Here's a different take on this -- solve the image and instantly get the sky map of that region. Again, this is using mostly freeeware tools.
NASA's images of the sun show so much more detail & texture -- and they can see those not only because they have million dollar equipment and put it into space. These details also are visible to mere mortals -- once you focus onto very narrow bands of light with appropriate filters & technique.
Of all the astronomical phenomena, a TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE surely has to be the scariest of all to ancient people. What horrible powers must be at work when they can take away our sunlight.
Of course today's explanation of standing in the moon's shadow is far less threatening (and not as imaginative as a dragon swalling the sun), solar eclipses still remain especially fascinating.
From the ground up :
Important / distinguishing features of the Atlas EQ-6 Pro Tripod 12V power Mechanics attaching & adjusting the mount during polar alignment about the mount ALT & AZ adjustments Polar Scope & alignment Balancing & Counter-weights Clutches Saddle Cables & connections Handcontroller Orion's Software & Drivers 3rd party SW -- EQMOD & EQASCOM MECHANICAL HAZARDS
IMPORTANT / DISTINGUISHING…
Congratulations and you are going to be excited unpacking and trying it out ==> my suggestion is to READ THIS BEFORE you go and pickup the mount.
And maybe also keep a few key notes on what to watch out for.
Reading this will help -- READING THE USER's MANUAL also is a good idea !!