The word of the day is chaos. I’ve been getting ready for OSP (the Oregon Star Party), which starts next week. To give you an idea of just how busy it has been here at Wa-chur-ed Observatory, we’ve had multiple nights of beautiful, clear skies lately, but I have not been out to the observatory at all – too many other things need to get done. Very few things have higher priority for me than collecting a few photons from a dark sky.
But I do have some progress to report as a result of my “indoor work”: First, I’ve had to do some re-design on the 8 x 10 inch backlit film prints. Until recently, I have always used a wooden frame for this size, while the larger sizes have been aluminum. This was driven primarily by cost, since the 8 x 10 size was designed to be as inexpensive as possible to provide an attractive entry-level product. Unfortunately, my supplier for the wood frames has discontinued it. I was not able to find a suitable replacement in wood, but eventually discovered a supplier of aluminum frames with significantly lower prices than I had been paying, so I decided to switch. The cost is still a bit higher than the old wood frames, and since there was no room in the pricing, I’ve had to increase the price for the 8 x 10 size from $74 to $82 (list price). Note that I still have quite a few of the wood frames in stock, and will be offering them at the old price until they are gone.
There is a bright side to this change, however: There has always been a gap in the backlilt film prints between the 8 x 10 and 16 x 20 inch sizes because I couldn’t find a suitable frame in that range. The new supplier for aluminum frames now makes it possible to introduce an 11 x 14 inch size, and I will be showing a few of these at OSP, based on my latest images from Australia:
The actual image area is 7.5 x 9.5 inches, slightly more than double the image area of the 8 x 10 frame (5 x 7 image area), and the list price is $129. The 11 x 14 size will not have a “kick-stand” for desktop use (as the 8 x 10 size does), but will have a standard wire for wall hanging.
Another new product I have been developing is not quite ready for sale, but I will be showing a prototype at OSP. It’s an illuminator for my Space Windows:
Space Windows come with a hardware to hang them in a window, as a “sun catcher”, which is very attractive, but limits them to daytime use. The illuminator uses the same technology as my backlit film prints, but allows you to switch from one Space Window disk to another. At 4 x 6 inches, it can be hand held, or placed on a desk top. The list price is just $29, including the AC adapter. I will be offering a bundle of the illuminator with a set of Space Window disks, but haven’t worked out the pricing on that yet.
Astro-Flash has always been a very popular product also, and I have constantly updated it, adding more and more images. I’ve finally reached the point where it is no longer practical to include all of the images on a “basic” Astro-Flash. There are now 63 images in the full collection, so I have split it up into 3 sets of 21. The price will be significantly reduced for the smaller collections, but I haven’t worked out the pricing yet. The full collection does not fit on the small flash drives of the “basic” Astro-Flash, but I will have the full collection on large flash drives (which you can then use as an ordinary USB flash drive for your own data), and still have a lower price than buying the 3 sets separately.
I’ll be leaving for OSP early next week and will be there until it closes the following Sunday. I hope you can come out also, and invite you to stop by my mobile gallery if you do. I’ll be parked along the main road, along with the other vendors. The weather forecast is looking very good, especially if you like warm nights. And if it gets too hot during the day, I’ll turn on the air conditioning in the gallery. That should bring people in!