I had an under-utilized Stellacam II low-light video
camera that I wanted to put to use as a simple and
low cost allsky camera. Although I use a Boltwood
Cloud Sensor to monitor cloud cover while imaging,
it is nice to be able to see clouds moving in, and
visually evaluate sky conditions.
I initially purchased only a fisheye lens and used the
basic Stellacam hard-wired hand controller, but
after some usage, decided to acquire a StellaCam
wireless control. The wireless control unit allows
adjustment of the gain and exposure from my desk,
and automation if desired through its RS232
computer interface. Since I initially utilized the
hard-wired controller with its short cable, I located
the camera on the lower of two roof peaks, resulting
in some vignetting of the approximately 180 degree
field of view of the fisheye lens. Although the upper
roof is visible in the NE quadrant, most of the sky is
still visible, in particular to the West, where most of
the weather systems originate. With the wireless
controller, the camera could be moved, but the field
of view is adequate and having the camera easily
accessible is nice.
Thanks to Rocky Alvey of Vanderbilt's Dyer
Observatory for his assistance with the project.
Allsky camera installed January 27, 2010.