I decided to heed the "experience it with your eyes, not through a phone" advice, so the only cameras I set up were fixed on tripods and not guided. I bought a thermal camera some time back, and it dawned on me that I'd never seen civilian thermal video of a launch, so I decided to give it a try:
Apparently I wasn't the only one with that idea -- scroll down two more messages in that thread, and the OTHER civilian thermal video of that very same launch, was shot by another reader of the same forum, a few feet away at the same area!
I had another camera facing the crowd, to capture the faces and the oohs and aahs, but the footage sucked. They had speakers set up that pipe in the countdown audio, which is all well and good, but then they made the inane decision to pipe in the sound of SpaceX's own throng cheering, with way too much gain, so it just made the entire audio experience a clipped screaming mess.
I stepped away from the speakers to experience the rocket myself, and I'm glad I did.
How loud must the speakers be to drown out a rocket engine firing which, outside of nuclear blasts, meteorites and volcanoes, are among the loudest possible sounds?
That's the FLIR (which, inexplicably, lacks a tripod mount) gently wedged between the leg and the ball-head, and then USB cabled down to my laptop (not in this photo) running Cheese because, again, the camera cannot natively record video...
Anyway, the rocket was 2 miles away, and competed pretty well with a speaker 5 feet away. But getting 15 feet from the speaker really improved the experience.
I was imagining elevated speakers a few hundred feet away similar to an outdoor concert, but that's a 100+ watt PA speaker at face level almost within reach.
Thank you for sharing. What an experience you had!!
After being to several launches both watching and photographing, I'd advise first timers to watch with their eyes first too. The flame plume is a very bright, oddly "rich colored", orange fire that video just can't capture. 60 seconds later it's all over, it's hard to watch both the rocket and viewfinder.
Come to think of it, I did shoot some lazy phone video too (I'll just hold this to my chest and aim it in the general direction of the rocket, but not pay attention to the viewfinder because I'm looking with my eyes), and I haven't watched it on anything but the phone. Perhaps I should transfer that over to something with better speakers.. :)
The sonic booms on takeoff sound like a machine gun about 3-4 octaves too high, and the 6 sonic booms (each Falcon 9 makes 3 sonic booms on re-entry) on landing were really incredible. If you can watch ones of these, do it!
I bought them from their website and it was $195 / ticket? It came with a pretty respectable lunch, a shuttle tour of KSC, and a single day full pass to explore KSC. Also, the announcer there in person was Bill Nye, the Science Guy. He spent much of the time talking about the Planetary Society's Light Sail project and all about SpaceX. They had a DJ and it was a pretty well organized event. My wife and I went to the launch, explored Orlando for a day, and then went to KSC as we figured all of the Falcon Heavy people would go to KSC the day after the launch. It was perfect! My wife wasn't a huge space fan before and this turned her into one, I highly recommend it!
We ended up not seeing the launch and eating the cost because of the delay, but I knew that going in.
I second though getting there to be apart of it is incredible.
One final note: seems like SpaceX is a bit superstitious, they didn’t sell the mission badges until after launch.
If it had gone on schedule, we would either have done a “different” trip, or simply come home for a “staycation”.
In general, I would not plan for it to go when it says it will.
Also, another helpful hint: it won’t go earlier than 3-4 days after the static fire. One option would be not to book flights till the static fire actually occurs.
If work wasn't so crazy, I would have booked a few extra days to cover possible scrubs, and I would recommend anyone else flying in do the same.
That said, you're spot on! It is a huge rocket and you can see it from miles in every direction. Go see it!
Now imagine that kick-in-the-chest continuously a dozen times a second for the better part of a minute and you're not 4 feet away but more like 2 miles.
What I take from your comment is that I need to go see some top fuel dragsters! ;)
I've seen the H1 Unlimited hydroplane races, but they're turbine-driven so there's whine and a tremendous roar as the prop beats the water, but a distinct lack of thump. (It's hilarious listening to one spool up and head out of the pits, though...) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTZLiqA2qjY
The great thing about top fuel is it's the only motor sport where a pit pass is actually a pit pass. You can go into the pits and talk to the mechanics and drivers if they're not busy.
Once a crowd was hanging around a team that just finished putting their engine back together. They started it, blab-blab-blab-blab. Then they blipped the throttle. I knew it was coming and had the ear muffs on, but most didn't, and the crowd leaned back and cringed as the blast wave hit them.
3000 hp running through those little V8's is incredible.
Their souvenir stand sold blown up engine parts :-)
H1 Unlimited begs to differ. :)
The "pits" are weird; there are dockside cranes that lift the boats out of the water into the pit area, and lift them back when they're done; servicing is always done between races, not during a lap.
But with the appropriate pass, you can wander right in. Don't touch the propellers; they could be made of adamantium-duranium alloy and poking 'em would still be rude. But otherwise, yeah, welcome to wrenchville! It's a bit drippier and smells weirder than other motorsports pits..
I especially liked this picture I grabbed of someone who had his photo taken in the exact same spot for one of the earlier Apollo launches: https://imgur.com/a/xAqbTGL
From a Cessna: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuTAu5VmtFw
From a Nikon with an awesome view of the separation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLCXn445-eQ
Great Audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lMvLyMjzfM
There is a weird dichotomy at KSC: the visitor center is like DisneyLand and the launches are like a NASCAR race. Yet the work being done is dead-serious, very high-stakes, and sometimes even significant for humanity.
The idea of another 10+ hours baking in the Florida sun...
(But, seriously, no one there would have preferred an unsafe launch. For us, the booing was targeted toward high atmospheric winds!)
Deetails on the First Post page -- Hugo based, Indigo theme (modified):
It’s beyond sound, it’s wind. It’s a man-made hurricane. It’s a baseball bat in the chest. It’s so loud. It’s so loud you can’t even call it loud.
If you can go see a launch in person, do it. It's the most amazing thing I've ever witnessed in person.
Liftoff is @ 3:15
But yes...the sound. Rather, the vibrations...are amazing.
Less than 7 doesn't really show you much more than you can see with the naked eye.
50mm objective lens gives you good light-gathering power. Which you don't need for a day launch or birdwatching, but it's important for night stuff. You could get 7x20's (opera glasses) and be just fine, but the 50's aren't that much more expensive and they'll apply to a lot more situations.
If you know you are going to be viewing in bright daylight then your pupils will be smaller and you can use smaller lenses like 7x35 or so or for extra magnification you could use 10x40 but with higher magnification you get more jitter anyway.
In low light conditions, if you compare the field of view through some 7x50's vs straight gazing, you will notice that the scene seems brighter as well as closer. That is because you are receiving light from 50mm dia onto your retina vs light from 7mm diameter.
and thats enough about optics, back to the space rockets.
Although, for daytime observation, 7x35s should be just fine.