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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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UniversalMaster
professor emeritus


Reged: 11/20/08

Source for cheap all-sky cam?
      #4851656 - 10/09/11 06:52 AM

Hi!

Are there any sources for cheap USB cams or lenses for webcams which captures (almost) the entire sky?
I need one for my new obs, since the "control room" is in my kitchen, so I am afraid that I do not notice if a quick shower shows up

Best Regards,
Søren

Edited by UniversalMaster (10/09/11 12:11 PM)


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LoveChina61
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 06/20/09

Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: UniversalMaster]
      #4852797 - 10/09/11 08:55 PM

There's a good thread for one here that uses the DSI camera. That's what I'm going to do:

Thread

There are also a few threads around elsewhere where others use a CCTV video camera to put together their All-Sky camera:
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/4382385/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/all/vc/1

(Link shortened by Moderator)

Edited by csa/montana (10/10/11 12:36 AM)


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grey bear
member


Reged: 04/16/11

Loc: Port Richey FL
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: LoveChina61]
      #4853457 - 10/10/11 08:28 AM

I built my camera mount as shown in picture using the following with a 2.1 mm wide angle lens. At home I use 12volt 500ma converter, in the field I use battery pack from camera supplier. I Also have 12 power inverter in my handicaped van to run 110 volt items for short periods as long as van is running. Laptop computer can run either on its own battery or the van.

Camera http://www.ebay.com/itm/350429564868?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

Mount was made wth 4" pvc pipe flange, plug cap for side, camera mounts to top, I used plexiglass on top to mount to 4"t. 2" hole drilled thru plexiglass to run camera wires thru bottom. Plexiglass plate cut and mounted inside with 2" hole for wires to run thru and then also used for shelf to support battery pack( get camera with battery pack for field use, and also 12 converter for home use.

Software I use both UFO capture http://sonotaco.com/e_index.html

and also ASC uploader. http://www.moonglowtech.com/products/AllSkyCam/Software.shtml

since camera doesnt connect directly to computer you need video capture device like http://www.ebay.com/itm/Easycap-USB-2-0-Video-TV-DVD-VHS-Audio-Capture-Adapter-/170435042087?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27aeb85b27

The mount is as follows, bottom is pipe flange, then t then plexiglass then camera, inside has plexiglass mounted 2 inch's from bottom. If you have any more questions please feel free to send me a message.


I am unable to get pictures to load, send me email grey_bear36@hotmail.com for copy of pictures if you want.

Grey Bear

Edited by grey bear (10/10/11 08:35 AM)


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MrKrink
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/20/09

Loc: Lawndale NC, USA
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: UniversalMaster]
      #4853515 - 10/10/11 09:12 AM

HOW'S FREE???

New Mexico State University offeres a FREE camera to join their network, All you have to have is a relatively powerful comouter to dedicate and run the capture software and upload the files to them. Preferably something with 750GB - 1TB of storage. They send it ready to mount and it includes the video capture card for your computer.

The project is funded through a grant from Sandia Nationa Laboratory and National Nuclear Security Administration. Nothing like a FREE camera from the gov't!!!

I just received mine last week and got it mounted this weekend. Got to get the softwared and adapter installed now.

Here is the link to New Mexico All Sky Network . Just contact Mr. Alvarez. Also I contacted Richard Spaulding first at Sandia NL, he got me hooked up with NMSU.

Sorry I can't post a pict from here at work.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: MrKrink]
      #4853704 - 10/10/11 11:23 AM

Stuart; that's fantastic! I wish I had a computer that was powerful enough to meet their requirements.

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Roy Salisbury
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/26/09

Loc: Las Vegas, NV
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: MrKrink]
      #4905069 - 11/08/11 06:56 PM

Wow.. thats cool. I'll have to see if its still available and get some details.

Thanks!

Roy


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Rick Woods
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: Roy Salisbury]
      #4919125 - 11/16/11 02:32 PM

I once saw one in S&T made from a highly-polished "moon" hubcap with a rod sticking up from the center; the rod was glued to a skylight filter on the other end, and the filter had a camera attached to it with (IIRC) a standard 35mm or 50mm lens on it. The image it produced was surprisingly good.

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MrKrink
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/20/09

Loc: Lawndale NC, USA
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: Roy Salisbury]
      #4968112 - 12/15/11 02:19 PM

Quote:

Wow.. thats cool. I'll have to see if its still available and get some details.

Thanks!

Roy




Here is what I got from them. I have finally got it installed and I am now trying to learn the software.

MY ALL SKY CAMERA


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mrramsey
super member


Reged: 11/19/11

Loc: Hudson, Oh
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: MrKrink]
      #4998993 - 01/03/12 10:29 AM

I definitely have the computer power to dedicate. I just sent Mr Alvarez an email and am waiting for his reply. Thanks for the info MrKink.

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MrKrink
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/20/09

Loc: Lawndale NC, USA
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: mrramsey]
      #4999042 - 01/03/12 10:56 AM


I have already caught a couple big ones and since 12/19/11 when I went live I have recorded 22! It is pretty cool.

Big fireball.


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mrramsey
super member


Reged: 11/19/11

Loc: Hudson, Oh
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: MrKrink]
      #5001812 - 01/04/12 11:22 PM

Quote:


I have already caught a couple big ones and since 12/19/11 when I went live I have recorded 22! It is pretty cool.

Big fireball.




Wow! That is wild. I have not heard anything back yet but some schools are not back in session yet. I have the perfect mounting location for one. I am optimistic about getting one since yours is the only one on the east side so far.


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wolfman_4_ever
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/11

Loc: El Segundo, Ca, So. Cal
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: mrramsey]
      #5006652 - 01/08/12 02:30 AM

I emailed mr alvarez back in October and never received a response.

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johne
sage
*****

Reged: 11/10/06

Loc: Prescott, AZ.
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: wolfman_4_ever]
      #5006744 - 01/08/12 06:55 AM

Quote:

I emailed mr alvarez back in October and never received a response.




Same here. No response.


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MrKrink
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/20/09

Loc: Lawndale NC, USA
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: johne]
      #5007085 - 01/08/12 11:10 AM

Actually Richard Spalding as I said may need to be your first contact. He is pretty good at getting back with you. Mr. Alvarez is kinda slow sometimes. reach him at.......... respald at sandia. gov

Edited by MrKrink (01/08/12 11:12 AM)


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mrramsey
super member


Reged: 11/19/11

Loc: Hudson, Oh
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: MrKrink]
      #5010882 - 01/10/12 03:19 PM

I was contacted back from Richard Spaulding and have been accepted to participate.

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skinnyonce
super member
*****

Reged: 03/23/11

Loc: ohio
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: mrramsey]
      #5011052 - 01/10/12 05:40 PM

Good mike let us know when you are up and running I will tune in for sure

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MrKrink
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/20/09

Loc: Lawndale NC, USA
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: mrramsey]
      #5011210 - 01/10/12 07:47 PM

Quote:

I was contacted back from Richard Spaulding and have been accepted to participate.





Your in a good place. The next closest one in in Indiana and then mine but there are no more Sandia's east of the Mississippi. NASA has 3 or 4 around Huntsville AL.


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mrramsey
super member


Reged: 11/19/11

Loc: Hudson, Oh
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: MrKrink]
      #5015847 - 01/13/12 05:19 PM

Just received an email from Richard that my camera has shipped and should arrive on 1/18. I have the perfect location picked out but now need to wait for the snow to stop

MrKrink - what platform are you running the Sentinel program on? XP, Vista, or 7?


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germana1
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 05/14/09

Loc: New Jersey
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? new [Re: mrramsey]
      #5015929 - 01/13/12 06:07 PM

I also received an email from Richard but need to make some upgrades to the pc more ram bigger Hd told Him once its done
will get back to Him. Looking good so far.
Pete


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MrKrink
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/20/09

Loc: Lawndale NC, USA
Re: Source for cheap all-sky cam? [Re: mrramsey]
      #5016082 - 01/13/12 07:41 PM

Quote:

Just received an email from Richard that my camera has shipped and should arrive on 1/18. I have the perfect location picked out but now need to wait for the snow to stop

MrKrink - what platform are you running the Sentinel program on? XP, Vista, or 7?




They recommend it run on XP.

I have it running on a Quad-Core with 4GB ram and it is capturing to a 2TB clean external HD. It takes a tremendous amount of HD space so I bought a Seagate XHD solely for Sentinel storage. I figured 2TB would hold me for a while!!

You can delete the captures that are junk but everything is still archived to another file. The software, when it captures something, makes a composite JPG of several frames,.........................like this..........


..........an MP4 3 second movie.....................



..........it also makes an Excel spread sheet with all the time and pixel info along with a notepad file of the start and stop time of the event. I also periodically records a PNG file for future star position and location. So see it records a lot of info. All times are recorded in UTC, so brush up.

If you have a real dark site as I do, getting the threshold for event triggering can be tricky. They recommended a 50 but I had to crank it up to 70 to not record every time a plane blinked!! The first time I got it going I think it recorded over 2000 files that first night. I let it run for a week or so and ended up spending about 5 hours deleting junk!!

I finally have it set so I am just waiting on that super bolide!!! It is like Christmas everyday opening the files to see what you got.....


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