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Alt-Az 1

Copyright 1999

Altitude-Azimuth Video Camcorder Mount

We are at a critical moment in history when powerful instruments are widely available that can answer some of the great questions of our time. All we have to do is do it.

One of those questions is "Are UFO's real?" If so what are they?

They are too unpredictable to for an fixed experiment to settle this issue. In contrast the face-on-Mars controversially could be settled because the target did not move. Also there have been too many hoaxes.

  1. The Time is Now

    I maintain that a lay-in-wait type experiment can now be designed and carried out by amateurs that will settle this UFO issue once and for all. All the pieces that are needed are available today, they only need to be assembled in an innovative way.

    When this many elements come together in one instant of time, something will happen.

  2. How it Would Work

    If we have a precise track of the unknown object as it travels, giving its location speed and direction at all times, then we can determine if the object is behaving in a manner consistent with know devices or optical illusions. If it is behaving in a manner outside known phenomena, then it is positively unknown.

    We can obtain this track using modest equipment at two locations separated by some distance but both in visual contact with the object.

  3. What it Would Take

    The equipment set up is quite simple:

    Two or more observation posts with this equipment are set up in areas with a history of interesting sightings (Florida, Mexico City, etc.).

    The people manning the posts then wait and watch. And wait. And watch. And they study birds. And they calibrate the instruments on known landmarks. And they wait. And they record polluters. And they wait. And they watch for drug smugglers. And they watch.

    Sooner or later a target will show up. The first post to spot it starts recording and phones the other posts. The siting may list only a minute or two.

  4. Reducing the Data

    The data from two sites is quickly reduce on a personal computer producing a three dimensional track of the target. The result is displayed graphically against the local train along with velocity, turning radius, and other precise parameters. This information will be on the Web within a few tens of minutes of the siting.

    Alt-az 6

    Various objects seen in the sky will have very distinctive tracks. Airplanes can only fly so fast and turn only so sharply. As can weather balloons. Venus seen through a tricky atmosphere will be obvious when simultaneous observations from two sites are available. Known phenomena can be eliminated with confidence. Unknown phenomena can be openly studied and the data subjected to review.

  5. The Missing Key

    The missing key is the recording Alt-Az mount. The technology is simple but requires precision construction. amateur astronomy equipment with similar technology is on the market at reasonable prices. But this exact piece of equipment is not currently available.

    There in lies an opportunity for big bucks.

    If I had a lot of capital I would detail the design for the prototype and have a pair machined using the finest aerospace technology. Perhaps $100,000 would do. Such capital is not available.

    What I can do is work in wood. Although this may not be the first choice for such a device, it will do. In fact, the device is no more complicated than many of the beautiful wooden amateur astronomy instruments currently being built and featured in magazines. It is less complicated than many of the wood bodied cameras that were the main stay of photography for 100 years.

    The first prototypes need only be good enough to prove the concept. Once we have the first results, capital will become available.

  6. The Prototype

    The wooden prototype, shown above, features simple bearings, and encoders made from Radio Shack parts with photocopied disks. It talks to the computer thought the parallel printer port and the external interface card requires only a few common chips. No hardware additions to the computer are required. You can build this thing by hand for under $100.

    Alt-az 2
    Alt-az 3

    Sketches two and three show the encoder wheel. The disk is made by photocopying the computer printout onto a view graph clear plastic sheet and cutting it out. It is read with a bank of LED/phototransistor pairs on a small circuit board. The Gray code of the wheel makes an intriguing pattern.

    Alt-az 4Alt-az 5

    Sketches four and five show the schematics for the encoder wheel reader and the small input/output circuit card that talks to the computer.

  7. The State of the Design

    The electronic design is complete. The design of the encoders is complete. The design of the camcorder mount only waits adjustment for the specific camcorder. I have proven software that can read this I/O card. Any of several of my computer desks designs can be modified to serve as the base. There are no show-stoppers. There is little left to do but to do it.

  8. The Possibilities

    This idea has enormous commercial potential. Anyone interested in developing it with me should email me immediately. It is only a mater of time before someone gets rich off this concept. It could be you and me! We might even change the world in the process.

Thanks again for visiting our Web site.

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