All Sky Cam with Solar Charging

March 27, 2022

The evening weather hasn't been super clear lately, but it has given me a chance to test out the all-sky camera. This takes a pic every 20 seconds through the night and creates a time lapse video, a stacked star-trails image, and a keogram (a keogram is single image visualization that represents an entire night's atmospheric activity). And of course, there's a "Live View" so I can always check on the sky's current conditions.

I'm running Thomas Jacquin's awesome open-source AllSky software for Raspberry Pi:

Today starts my first full test of the setup, with daylight solar charging and continuous operation. Here's the current system, with the dome taped down for now, ZWO ASI120MC color astro camera, 6mm super wide-angle lens, Raspberry Pi 3b, lithium battery, and 10 amp PWM solar controller. I drilled two holes for ventilation, mainly to test the need for separate dew control. My hope is that there's enough heat rising from the Raspberry Pi CPU fans to get warm air circulating under the dome--with enough of a temp boost to prevent condensation from forming.

Examples of the camera's field of view from the back deck, close to the house. I have it in the middle of the backyard now, with a full view of the sky.

A snapshot from the April 3rd night sky: