The observatory currently employs only one camera with a fish eye lens. The camera is mounted through the roof; it replaced a cap over a former aluminum chimney from a living room gas fireplace. The outside finger joints are sealed with silicon caulking preventing any water from entering the attic. In the photo below a friend, Brent, shoots in true north with compass as I rotated the camera’s base from within the attic.
The lower end of the camera housing is inside the attic. I installed an AC outlet right next to it to power the camera and anti-dew heater. The black wire is the coax that carries the 1 Vp-p raw video signal down to the amplified video distribution box.
The installment is complete and ready to observe.
The raw video signal is sent from the rooftop down a coax to an amplified video distribution box (See below).
From the video splitter the video is then piped to a computer running the Python language program that came with the Sandi National Laboratories Sentinel camera. Since the original program was written in Python it can run on any operating system. The Sentinel software has been running flawlessly for three years on a very old, very slow, and very limited memory refurbished laptop running Linux. This software uses an external frame grabber as shown below.
The video break out box also sends raw video to a second computer running the latest version of the Sentinel system. Unfortunately the next generation of the Sentinel system software is a Windows only – compiled software. It requires an internal PCI slot for an internal frame grabber. The board is a ImpactVCB model 188 board that comes with Hauppauge WinTV version 5.9G installation software.
The software is in early beta testing stage and bugs are being suppressed with each beta version. Eventually the software will automatically ftp all overnight captures to New Mexico where the files will processed and analyzed for each observer. This feature is not yet implemented.
A third output of the video break out box is sent to a external Canopus ADVC-110 video to digital converter. The digital output from the ADVC is then sent by firewire to the computer where the UFOCapture program detects the meteors. To see an informative video about the ADVC-110 go here – It will take you to the YouTube site and play the video.
More to come…