practicing the art of Bedouin Astronomy requires thinking outside the box (or Tent as it were). You have to pack everything you will need, leave behind things you don't and above all travel light!
I have wrestled with various lighting methods to view charts and finally came up with this solution. The investment is small and is light weight to boot.
Here we have your basic Coleman 24" X 48" folding camping table. I got mine at Sports Authority for $29.
The surprise is inside. The complete chart viewer with lighting fits inside the table for storage and protection during transport. Complete package weighs just under 11 lbs.
Here's a shot of the light bar. I have 24 3mm standard red LEDs wired in parallel, driven by a power supply with two C size NiMhd batteries. Calculated current consumption will yield about 13 hours of run time at full brightness. Knob controls lights from just detectably lit to full brightness. Light bar was made from Basswood to save weight and because that was the most easily obtainable durable construction material. Velcro spots on the table are to secure the viewer to prevent it from moving or blowing away.
The panels are made from foam cored display board. To make them dew proof you will need to paint them or use the "plastic" cardboard as used for for sale signs. The hinges on the panels are strips of naugahyde glued to the foam board.
The sides are set up and then stuck to the table with the Velcro pads.
Completely assembled viewer read to go.
© Copyright 1997-2012by Bill VanOrden