An experimental "all-sky" camera

Blog the previous nights viewing. Link to images on the gallery or simply describe what you observed the night before. Leave the technical and howto in another forum.
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rwilkinson
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An experimental "all-sky" camera

Post by rwilkinson » Sun May 25, 2014 10:48 am

I've just got a little 1.8mm focal-length "fish-eye" lens to fit my webcam or 1004x camera. So with the camera mounted on the gutter outside my window I can see most of the sky - and watch the clouds roll in!
allsky1.gif
Animation of 20x 5-sec using 1004x camera with 1.8mm f/2 lens.
Look carefully and you can see Ursa Major, Polaris, Arcturus and Vega before the clouds arrive.
allsky1.gif (3.4 MiB) Viewed 4927 times

dean_kos

Re: An experimental "all-sky" camera

Post by dean_kos » Mon May 26, 2014 10:48 pm

Love it !!! Gotta have one for top of observatory ... ;)

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rwilkinson
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Re: An experimental "all-sky" camera

Post by rwilkinson » Fri Jun 06, 2014 2:20 pm

Last night I did an extended test, running the system from just before midnight for 3 hours (by which time it had got light again).
I took a 15-sec exposure every minute, making an animated GIF file of around 24MB:
Image
As well as the stars, I also captured a couple of passes of the International Space Station (plus a couple of aircraft) and what looks like a bright meteor in Hercules?

dean_kos

Re: An experimental "all-sky" camera

Post by dean_kos » Fri Jun 06, 2014 5:16 pm

This is cool, like it very much, looking forward to mine arriving soon :)

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Re: An experimental "all-sky" camera

Post by rwilkinson » Sat Dec 20, 2014 9:56 pm

Last night I did another test with my "all-sky camera" (an LX-converted miniature surveillance camera, fitted with a low-cost 1.8mm wide-angle lens) but this time from the dark site where I was staying in the Wye Valley.
I'd reduced the gain to suit 1-min exposures, and left it running for nearly three hours:
Image
There were a few cloudy intervals but it was a surprisingly mild night, and the breeze kept the dew at bay.
The residual light-pollution around the Southern horizon is from Chepstow, about five miles away (but beyond a range of hills). The bright streak of light around the edge of the last frame of the sequence is me apporaching the camera with a red torch!

I used the COAA AstroVideo software to operate the camera and save the frames as .FIT files for importing into IRIS. After dark-frame calibration I produced a set of .BMP images and then used IrfanView's batch-conversion tool to produce .GIFs for animation with unFREEz.

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