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Observing the night sky

RogerJP

New Member
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18
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1
I am after a set-up looking to the zenith, either on a pole or roof apex, that will allow me to do one or more of several things - and this may well mean a plurality of cameras co-located and also possibly a sun shield:

  1. First and foremost, meteor detections at night. Ideally this will have fish-eye or almost so capture. Colour is optional (would add to prettiness of pictures, but likely lose darker ones in the noise). It certainly doesn't need IR lights (so if they exist they must be turn-offable). Ideally the "shutter" speed(and hence frame rate) would be selectable (manually or automatically) to several seconds. Sensors these days - without cooling - are capable. Are any cameras of IP-connect ilk available to achieve e this? And if not, what about any camera that can be (wired or wirelessly) remote controlled, that I could connect to my network via an adapter? With luck this could be set-up to stream to an SD card at X seconds per frame into an MP4 or similar, that could be played back at X frames per second - see the whole of last night in 10 minutes etc. Also if possible, alarm full res jpgs could also be stored - triggered by a meteor (provided that is pre-trigger works with such long exposures)
  2. A bonus would be faster exposure for visual observation real time - to see more regular but fast moving objects such as the ISS at night or, at dawn and dusk, cloud formations. This could be the same camera if resolution is good enough - or an upward-facing PTZ with perhaps a 60° or 90° viewing angle that can be tracked. I anticipate this may well be a different camera, probably an indoor one under the same dome.
  3. If colour is available, on the few nights per decade that the conditions come right - Northern Light aurorae would be caught. This would be a compromise between sensitivity and dynamics for shutter speed. Likely manually selected - and played with interactively.

I have seen from years ago set-ups for meteors people have used with analogue cameras and with recent additions of Raspberry Pis for dedicated meteor work. I may "crib" this - but I feel IP should offer it without the need for these local (to the camera) computers these days.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated on camera selection, housing thoughts (happy to construct but if proprietory is already there...), whether a sun shield would be needed (an alternative I am thinking of would be a 180° turntable arrangement that can turn the whole she-bang upside down if anything gets too bright or too hot (or could even be daylight or time driven)


MY BACKGROUND

It may help others to know my current set-ups and capabilities.

From an IP-Camera perspective, I was an early adopter. I have various marques including Foscam Wansview, Realtek, and more recently Hikvision and a few unbranded. I have roughly 18 now scattered around my property and the stables on two separate subnodes, Some are wired, some wireless, some PoE - and some on the stable subnode are wired to a trusty WR843ND with a dedicated wireless point-to-point link some 200 yards away. The one common factor with all of these is that they are configurable in a browser By appropriate configuration, these each have unique IP/Port combinations that are viewable either using the manufacturers' RTSP protocols or ONVIF. In turn these now can be displayed on my Smart TV using the App TinyCam (a thoroughly recommended app by the way, pity it's not available on Apple), and all can FTP alarm stills and streams to my local NAS (internet bandwidth here would not support cloud).

From a night sky perspective, we have a selection of telescopes available with true long exposure astro cams. However, whilst these are brilliant for picking out small - or vary small - sections of the sky for specific objects (planets, nebulae, galaxies and comets). They are of no use whatsoever for any wide angled observation - to see cloud formations, meteors, comparatively fast moving satellites such as the ISS... I want an IP arrangement so I can see it from the armchair. My bones are not as good as they were for all-night deckchair sessions!

I also of course have a half decent full frame DSLR - got a few half decent shots of the comet with that at the end of last month.
 

Phil

Administrator
Staff member
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3,729
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83
Hi, I know that we had at least one very experienced user in this field, who got some great results with IP cameras monitoring the night skies above Finland:
Tulipallo yöllä, täysikuuta kirkkaampi, Tampere

Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to visit this forum any more :( - perhaps you can reach him via that linked site.
I know that he was testing Hikvision and Milesight cameras.
 

RogerJP

New Member
Messages
18
Points
1
Thanks Phil

I have perused his site. However, nothing particularly obvious there. I did note that the chap who is "head honcho" of that lot is Markku Sarimaa and I may seek him out if my other avenues close off.

It is looking increasingly likely that I will end up with an astro camera linked to a spare PC via USB3 taking time stamped images that can be added frame-by-frame to an AVI, which I will then access on my main PC. However, what I may also do - under the same weatherproof housing - is continually stream on an IP cam which can then be looked at for dynamic effects for a few seconds either side of sany events recorded on the astrocam system. If and when I come to that, I'll be back for the appropriate IP cam - which may involve a transfer lens to get the angle wide enough.
 

RogerJP

New Member
Messages
18
Points
1
Just to add a bit more flesh to this for any interested party, the Watec 933IP seems to tick most of the boxes I'm after, with my hoped-for long exposure satisfied by a combination of much faster sensor and where appropriate stacking frames together in software after capture - something that would not have been possible a few years ago due to signal being below the noise floor.
 
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