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.

2019-03-05 05:37 Meteor caught by my All-Sky camera (Click to view larger)

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.

Materials:

Part Description/Link Cost
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!
(Howto)
$0.00
Anti-reflection black mat EPDM Rubber Roof material
(I had some extra)
$0.00
Moisture control 3 x 30gram Silica Gel Packets $16.99

 

Software:

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.

ToDo

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.

Build Photos


Michael

Resident Tesla nut and polymath. Raised in eastern Kentucky, joined the US Navy at 19 to operate a Nuclear Reactor on a Fast-Attack submarine. After finishing his enlistment, Michael has continued to follow his passions in technology, astronomy, and of course, traveling the country.

AnthonyC · 2019-08-21 at 07:10

This is great project. I am partway something similar but had not worked out the software elements. Thanks for posting.

Leave a Reply to AnthonyC Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: