Re: (meteorobs) Re: 2002 Leonids

on 7/4/02 10:38 AM, Ed Majden at epmajden@shawdot ca wrote:

> It's too bad that an auto
> recording all-sky camera that can reach faint magnitudes has not been
> developed.  On the other hand, this would eliminate the need for visual
> observers!  Relax folks, such an all-sky camera is probably still a long way
> off so keep observing. ;-)

I'm not so pessimistic, Ed. The Sony ExView HAD sensor is sensitive enough
that we can dispense with image intensifiers. My own work with a camera
based on this CCD shows that I can get down to magnitude 5.0 with a 9mm
f/1.4 lens covering 32 by 24 degrees -- 768 square degrees. I believe that
if I use a 4mm f/1.4 lens, I can get down to magnitude 4.0 while covering 72
by 54 degrees -- nearly 4,000 square degrees. Five of these cameras could
cover the sky. The camera, power supply, and lens can be had for $220, so
the entire sky could be covered for $1100.

The real problem is reducing the raw video. What we want is real-time meteor
capture. The best we have right now is MetRec, which uses the expensive
Matrox card and throws away 3/4 of the data to run in real time. With faster
processing, however, it should soon be possible to get full 640x480 data
reduction. Another possibility is to use some of the chips that convert NTSC
directly to a digital stream, then put some simple hardware on their output.
The hardware pre-processes the data stream and sends its results via USB to
a computer for reduction and storage. I spent some time last spring
exploring this possibility, and concluded that it should be workable.
Unfortunately, I don't have the EE experience to handle this kind of signal

It's just a matter of time before somebody puts such a system together.


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