Saturday, August 11, 2007

One night in about a minute

I've been thinking about building an all-sky camera for a while now. It's not something I really need but it seems like a fun project. I recently received a small optical dome from Surplus Shed. I don't know what camera I will end up using for the final version. Last night I set my DMK21AF04.AS camera up on a tripod with a Fujinon 2.8mm lens attached. I taped a Baader UV/IR filter on front of the lens and pointed the camera straight up. The exposures were set to about 20 seconds each with the gain set fairly low to reduce noise. I let it run from 10PM to 6AM and used the Y800 mode for recording the video in IC Capture. The video starts with Vega shining brightly just above left of center, and ends with the Pegasus moving off to the right as the Pleiades and Mars approach on the left before dawn. I was hoping to catch a few Perseids but I think I only caught air traffic going by. Here's the result, converted to 15 frames per second:

I will eventually get a wider angle lens since the 2.8mm Fujinon only has about a 90-degree field of view. There's a more expensive varifocal lens that covers nearly 180 degrees. A little more saving will be required before I get that lens. But then my birthday is coming soon!

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