All Sky Meteor Camera

A recent addition to my weather station tower is an all sky meteor camera. I purchased this camera from AllSkyCams as a kit. Building the kit saves me a little money and lets me know exactly what I have and how it goes together. The camera consists of 7 camera modules that are arranged to cover the entire sky. The modules use a Sony Starvis sensor that is especially good under low light conditions. 

Above is an image of the parts in the kit for the camera except for the dome. Assembling the kit went well. After that it was necessary to program each camera module with the correct settings and IP addresses. 

Above is an image of the assembled camera without the dome. I have labeled each module with it’s IP address. In the center of the assembly are a custom made Ethernet switch and a power over Ethernet module. 

Above is an image of the completed camera mounted in it’s place on my weather station tower. The dome is painted white on the inside to help keep the camera modules cool in the summer sun. A layer of flat black paint inside the white paint helps reduce internal reflections that cause glare in the images from the camera modules.

The camera is connected to a minicomputer running Linux with a 2TB hard drive. Video from each camera module is recorded 24-7 in both HD and SD. Software running on the minicomputer examines the SD video for meteors. When a meteor is detected a clip is extracted from the video in both SD and HD and saved. Also running on the minicomputer is a web server that allows viewing the recorded video and the meteor clips. 

The image above is a typical meteor trail captured by the camera. Frames from the video clip of the meteor are stacked to make the equivalent of a long exposure image of the meteor trail.

In the image above an entire night of meteor activity has been stacked. This was taken during the recent Geminids meteor shower. The curved lines are star trails and the straight are meteors.

This camera is part of a network with two other cameras belonging to the Cedar Amateur Astronomers. With multiple cameras the trajectory of a meteor can be calculated. 

Links: A video introduction to the all sky camera network.

This entry was posted in citizen science, Electronics, environmental monotoring, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to All Sky Meteor Camera

  1. Aetupker says:

    very cool.Al

  2. Jim R says:

    Interesting technology. Thanks for sharing.

    I like your solar set up. We’ve had ours for just over a year and like how they performed.

  3. Pingback: Making Acrylic Domes | Jim Hannon's Blog

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