All Sky Camera

I have been trying to make a meteor camera / all sky camera for a while now. This is probably the fourth iteration. A ‘low cost’, Raspberry Pi based self-contained unit.

All Sky Camera

All Sky Camera

So there is nothing really new here - a number of people have done pretty much the same sort of thing. Though I am trying out the new Raspberry PI Hi Quality camera.

Basic shopping list:

  • Raspberry Pi Model 3B (with Wifi)
  • Raspberry PI High Quality camera
  • Micro-SD card, I had a 64GB one to hand
  • 12V to 5V ‘buck’ (these are deveices for cars to provied step down power to a USB outlet)
  • 12V power supply (had one from an old laptop)
  • DS18B20 temperature sensor (AZ Delivery, Amazon)
  • Fish eye lens - I had a 1.4mm CS lens already from a previous plan.
  • Waterproof box

Here is a shot taken out of the window.

All Sky Camera window shot

All Sky Camera window shot

Although there are a few projects available on GitHub and other sites, I have at the moment decided to program it all myself using Pyhton. First some very simple code to just take photos out of the window and display using a web front end (using Flask).

A few gotchas to document.

  • Using Flask was getting out of memory errors when trying to take images. Increasing GPU memory made no difference. This was solved by disabling the Flask debug mode.
  • Using PiCamera python module, if there is a problem midexposure, or changing camera settings most likely get kernel or other syslog errors reported and the only solution is to reboot the Pi.

To Do's

  • Test runs at night to check focusing, so can glue down the protective dome for outside deployment.
  • Implement contunual running overnight
  • Implement temperature monitoring (the temperature sensor is wired and working, I just need to be able to capture and report on the data)
  • Once some decent night time data obtained, write event detection routine.