The All Sky Camera is Alive!

If you come to this site routinely, you might have seen the new menu option at the top of the page, a link to the All Sky Camera. This past week, I have spent a number of hours out at the robotic dome working to install drivers and fix odd electrical shorts in order to bring this imager to life. Here it is! The PEA All Sky Camera is a reality and is available online now. The unit is an interesting and compact design. Inside an acrylic-domed metal housing is a video camera that is permanently mounted to a wide field lens. The lens has two controls: focus and focal length (zoom). There are three other goodies also mounted inside the dome: a small fan, a resistive heater unit, and a PC board to which those prior items are connected, presumably a thermostat controller or something similar.  Below is an image taken on March 9th. You can see Orion to the left (South). North is to the right, west to the bottom, and east is at the top of the frame).

All Sky 2012-03-09

The camera’s software also has the ability to take the snapshots and string them together to form a video, saving a new time lapse video at the end of each day (Universal Time day for this imager). Below is the first video taken while the camera was being installed, focused and mounted outside under the sky.

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