After the installation of a new light shield

The Allsky1 camera system at the StarlightCascade Gardens and Observatory, outside Yarker Ontario Canada, was fired up for the first time in December of 2006. It was not actually the first operational system at SCGO but it did replace the first system (which ran from 2003-2006). The SBIG ST237A camera and wide angle lens system was donated by Dr. Robert Nemiroff at Michigan Tech. It has been operational at a very high level of uptime, with only computer system failures.

The camera comes with a large camera control module which connects to the computer via a parallel port LPT connection. Needless to say those are quite rare these days and experiments with USB-LPT adapters have not gone well.

The Allsky camera system was originally designed to work as a CONCAM (CONtinuous CAMera) for observatories (see a nice article at

We use it as a fireball monitor and by cranking up the exposures to about 80-90 seconds, pick up a lot of regular meteors, as well as a lot of background stars, constellations, milky way and even aurora from time to time! It is a cooled camera but is also at least 15 years old now.
Prior to a new light screen installation

In its ten years and counting operation, it has generated a lot of data. The original images are .FITS, which are archived away and then copies processed into .png (for local use), .jpg (for website) and animated .gif and .mpg as well.

The jpg’s tend to be about 25MB/day*365 days * 10 years = 92GB.

FITS images tend to be about x20 bigger, which comes out to about 2TB.

The animated .AVI file tends to come out at about 5MB (or about 20GB over 10 years) and the daily .GIFs around 40MB (and another 146GB).

In its ten years, it has captured Iridium flares, the ISS and shuttle, countless ISS passes, a total Lunar Eclipse and some really nice aurora… oh yes, and even some fireballs! All in all, it has worked out beyond our wildest dreams and we hope for a few more good years before a modern replacement comes along (hopefully in colour and more low light sensitive!).

You can see more at
Online image archives go back only to 2015 January 07 with the remainder offline.
Two images are attached: one being the current camera configuration (without domes or fans or heaters) and the other the most recent captured event, a 12+ second event on the morning of 2017 January 31st, at 11:31:07 UT.