Category: Linux

Raspberry Pi 4 Based AllSky Cameras

Version 1 – PVC pipe & fittings

A couple of months back, I put together an all sky camera system for the Martz-Kohl Observatory near Jamestown, in Western New York. An all sky camera provides a (near) 180-degree fisheye view of the sky. This project was a joint effort with other members of the observatory. One member supplied parts for the system enclosure while another donated a Raspberry Pi 4B single board computer and ZWO ASI224MC astro-camera and lens. Others donated time and expertise for assembling and mounting the system on top of the observatory. There were definite lesons learned as the original assembly leaked under severe weather. The fight with dew and frost is ongoing. It will take some effort and thought to automate a method of keeping the dome clear. For now, an occasional cleaning of the dome’s’s exterior keeps everything working 🙂

Version 2 – sealed enclosure

SO, with lessons learned, I built a version 2 all sky camera system! As opposed to the PVC pipe enclosure, I went with a waterproof box, similar to what other DIY folks have used. I used parts that I had lying around: a Raspberry Pi 4B, R-Pi HQ camera, an Argon Fan HAT and a USB 3 SSD that I was no longer using. I purchased a lens, dome, USB C cable mount, and various hardware and sealants.

enlarge / full screen for best viewing

On both systems, I use Thomas Jacquin’s Allsky software which is open source and available on github.

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Timelapse video from a remote source

Infrared Sky Camera

This is yet another take on how-to create a time-lapse video.  In my case, a website updates a photo of the sky on a regular basis. I wanted to turn that into a time-lapse video and deploy to another, or possibly the same, website. I decided to use a Raspberry Pi 4 that was “sitting around.”

My project evolved as I tried different techniques and apps. I ended up creating a couple of bash scripts to do the job. I used the “ffmpeg” audio/video framework as it was bash command line friendly. I have tested my scripts on my Raspberry Pi 4 with Raspbian OS as well as on different Linux boxes running Ubuntu and Debian.

For how-to scripts with instructions, click on “more

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