All Sky Camera Project
Page Created: 2003 August 27
Page Last Updated: 2005 December 11
The camera system should be mounted high off the ground to clear local ground clutter and yet be accessible for maintenance.
We will want to be archiving 4 images per day, probably at 00:00, 06:00, 12:00 and 18:00. This will build up a long term image database for weather information and could potentially be used for cloud cover analysis.
We want to automatically archive motion detected captures and have them
The camera needs to be close enough to a structure with power to run the camera
the mirror heating system. In addition the cable run from the camera
to the video recording source should be relatively short. We will attempt to
run it into the observatory computer.
We need a hemispherical mirror (Mark I design) as the camera we have combined with the
only C-mount lens we could find has only a 50 degree or so view of the sky.
An All Sky Camera is basically a low light sensitive video camera mounted above
a hemispherical mirror, looking down into the mirror, so that the camera
images most of the Sky. We use an all sky camera to detect and record bright
meteorites, typically called bolides or fireballs, in the hope of analyzing
their trajectories and perhaps targeting any possible landing area, as
large bright meteors tend to survive reentry and hit the ground.
The concept is to build at least three of these units to allow for triangulation
and possible trajectory determination in the Kingston Ontario region. Preliminary
offers of interest include a Camera near Yarker, Inverary and Queen's University
Estimated costs are: approx $200 for a 12-20" hemispherical mirror, approx $100-300 for
a low light, slim profile CCD video camera, a dedicated computer workstation
with a video capture card (alternatively a USB webcam video camera and capture software,
no other capture hardware required), motion detection software (so it only stores data
that indicates motion, saving lots of drive space). approx $50 for a platform
to mount the mirror on with 5 watts of heating capacity to keep dew off the mirror
surface and approx $50 to build a tripod to mount the camera in, for
an estimated total project cost on the order of $500 Can.
Three systems should be considered a minimum and more should be considered for
redundancy and downtime issues.
For question or comments about this page /allskycamera/design.htm
contact us at kim or kevin (at) starlightcascade (dot) ca