An All-Sky camera is a nifty little device. It gives a view of the complete (or mostly complete) sky from horizon to horizon, in all directions, in one photo. Why would someone want such a camera? I’m glad you (presumably) asked!
For those with a desire to run a remote observatory, it’s often difficult to quickly assess the skies above. Even cloud sensors only go so far due to their limited field of view of the sky, since commonly, these use narrow field IR temperature sensors, so if a cloud is within its field of view, you’ll know, but if a cloud is anywhere else in the sky… not so much.
An All-Sky camera is also great to catch other events, like meteor showers, lightning strikes, plane traversals, clouds, etc. And, animated time-lapse from an All-Sky camera are often mesmerizing to watch.
|Enclosure||Carlon E989N ( 8″ x 8″ x 4″ Sealed Enclosure )||$24.25|
|Dome||5″ Acrylic Dome||$15.99|
|Camera||ZWO ASI 178MC Color CMOS 6.4megapixel||$349.00|
|Lens||StarDot LEN-2M1.55MMCS 1.55mm C-Mount||$62.52|
|Computer||Raspberry Pi 3B+||$36.99|
|Power||Raspberry Pi 3B+ POE Hat||$34.99|
|Storage||PXE Boot / NFS — No microSD card fatigue / failure!
|Anti-reflection black mat||EPDM Rubber Roof material
(I had some extra)
|Moisture control||3 x 30gram Silica Gel Packets||$16.99|
When doing my research on available all-sky cameras and software, I came across AllSky by Thomas Jacquin and was instantly smitten. I then found the Instructables page for the project with details on several builds by other! Being a linux / open source nut and having experience with C++, I opted to give it a whirl. The software performs great and has a convenient web interface for managing the settings.
Looking at other builds on the Instructables page, I see many people are adding dome heaters. Seeing frost and rain on my dome, I’ll likely try to work in a dome heater for my install as well. I also will be adding a hydrophobic coating on the dome to help with keeping the rain run-off.