DO YOU KNOW how hard it is to live in a house?
Difficult, very difficult. If you want to see the stars, your problem is the roof. The roof will cover just about any star in the night sky. A roof is very nice if its raining, or snowing, but when you want to see the stars, a roof is a considerable bother.
I went onto the Internet, of course, and began planning. If I’m in my bed at night (and there’s Lockie, too (though he doesn’t spend much time looking at stars when there are pillows to be shredded), what are my options?
(My ceiling, pre-screen)
Have the roof move, is one choice. The roof of the observatory on Mount Palomar moves for just that reason. Yet, in the house I live in, not only the roof but most of the walls would have to roll away to get, say, 160 degrees of stars over my bed.
I thought about it for half an hour or so, and then decided that retracting the roof would be just too expensive.
My Plan B is a camera on top of the house. It would need to be in a clear glass dome, and the camera would be an all-sky unit. That could be way easier than retracting things. The few cables from the camera would come to a video screen on the ceiling of my bedroom. A problem began there. What size of the screen would I need?
(Potential screen for the ceiling.)
It would have to be the whole ceiling, I thought, or at least, say 12 feet by 12 feet over the bed. That would take, say 16 three-foot screens bolted into to the drywall.
There is a scene in Heaven can Wait, that shows what happens when a huge mirror falls from the ceiling to the bed. Fortunately, Warren Beatty had just tossed a briefcase on the bed when the mirror crashed, so he wasn’t killed. Then.
The Planar PS5560 Ultra Slim LCD Display video screen is 55 inches by 30 inches wide, a little bigger than the units I had considered. It costs $4,152.99 for each one, $66,447.84 for all screens, then the camera, wiring and the securing, about $89,000 for the entire system.
I hoped it would show stars down to the sixth magnitude, like an human eye, but third magnitude was about the best the camera could send in a dark night. There was nothing, at any price that could put the sky I wanted to see on my ceiling.
Then Sabryna came to lunch one day, and I told her about my plan. Did she think that two cameras, linked together somehow, could they bring it up to sixth magnitude stars? Or would a light intensifier tube be fitted to the wiring after the camera and before the video screens, would that work? Would they be fast enough to show a UFO moving through or would UFOs be just a dim blur on my screen?
She thought about my plan, and then said, “Couldn’t you just take a blanket and sleep on the deck?”
I thought about that:
I’d have 170 degrees sky coverage north-south and 160 degrees east-west.
I’d have sixth magnitude stars.
I’d have full-vision display of all UFOs, anywhere in the sky.
There would be no possibility of video screens crashing on me.
There were no cameras in her plan, no video at all, no wiring.
It would save $89,000.
Lockie could sleep there, too, plus he could bark at the UFOs, an Extra-Terrestrial Warning Unit that my plan had never considered.
(The ETWU, in daylight.)
“If it rains, though,” I said.
“Would the cameras work,” she said, “if it were raining?”
No, I thought, they wouldn’t work.
A blanket. Sometimes two minds can figure things out better than just one.