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Sky Watch Project!

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posted on Jan, 20 2007 @ 09:06 AM
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I had this idea many years ago but at the time the internet and cheap tech weren't quite ready for it, there might be something like this going but i've searched and its either hard to find or not really going on to the scale that would be useful.

The idea is to setup a group who anyone can join and be given the information to setup a sky watching station at home, for the detection of unidentified flying objects and any interesting astronomical sights, anyone could setup a basic webcam sky monitoring station from their own window and using their pc or an old cheap one if needed, they can start monitoring with the various software thats now available.

I can imagine some cool configurations and projects that could be setup on a cheap budget, like webcam to telescopes, motorised webcams, motorised telescopes with additional webcams for finding and tracking etc, think of the stuff you could catch when thousands of people start monitor the skys 24/7!

We now have reasonably cheap tech and massive amounts of storage space so why not put it to good use?

Software can search and discard any worthless video and images so our job of finding stuff will be much easier, when someone does find something interesting we have various free video and image hosting sites now so thats not a problem, a main website can be setup using the wiki/digg style of user created content.

There's more ideas to this i've had but that should do for now, just one more thing, for instance i already have a webcam that easily converts to full colour plus infrared just by taking a small filter out, I've not replaced it with an infrared only filter either so it gets the full spectrum its capable of and the image is much brighter, its quite cool as some stuff is white or transparent and it picks up details it wouldn't normally, all I need to do is use a cheap old pc with linux or windows and setup a house window or back garden shed monitoring station, storage isn't a problem so full video 24/7 for weeks at a time is possible, all I need to find is some good video recording and detection software, if none is good enough or we want an all in one solution an open source project is possible!

What do you lot think, who's up for creating something like this?




posted on Jan, 20 2007 @ 04:17 PM
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Come on lets at least get a bit of discussion going, this could turn out to be quite interesting, doesn't have to start out too complex, just a bunch of people with webcams looking for anything out of the ordinary.



posted on Jan, 20 2007 @ 05:49 PM
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I think its a good idea sense you have a better chance of getting a great quality video or picture of a ufo closeup. The more people that join the better the chances!



posted on Jan, 20 2007 @ 06:10 PM
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Great idea!!! What type of software would be needed for a normal pc and webcam though? I believe if you had even 50 people doing this, you would get some amazing footage... You could have it set up while you slept and check on it in the morning. How cool would it be to wake up and see something amazing that you know you wouldnt have seen otherwise. Then like you said, you could upload it for all to see, even though you would still have people saying "oh, thats just light being refracted from venus".

Again, great idea!!! I'm all for it!!!



posted on Jan, 20 2007 @ 06:45 PM
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Yeah it would be quite fun as a hobby, even if all you get is sky most of the time, theres some really nice cloud formations and lighting that we often miss being indoors for much of the day.

Im currently looking into the best software and hardware setups to use, hopefully in the future im going to setup a motorised telescoped webcam, at first i will try to get it tracking planes as they fly over often enough to be good target practise, i just have to work out the best way to do this more advanced setup, for now ill do a basic webcam setup and might write a guide later, i hope together we get some interesting stuff.


[edit on 20/1/07 by just theory]



posted on Jan, 20 2007 @ 07:14 PM
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Originally posted by just theory
Yeah it would be quite fun as a hobby, even if all you get is sky most of the time, theres some really nice cloud formations and lighting that we often miss being indoors for much of the day.

Im currently looking into the best software and hardware setups to use, hopefully in the future im going to setup a motorised telescoped webcam, at first i will try to get it tracking planes as they fly over often enough to be good target practise, i just have to work out the best way to do this more advanced setup, for now ill do a basic webcam setup and might write a guide later, i hope together we get some interesting stuff.


[edit on 20/1/07 by just theory]


Even if it was just a hobby it would still be good!



posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 12:09 AM
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I always wanted to make something like that!

-Plexi-glass cube, something like this


-Small handy cam, i would use this one
www.dicc.com.cn..." target='_blank' class='tabOff'/>

-Fix / isolate everything inside so it resist rain / snow

-Do the wirings for svideo / power

-If you can spend more money, you could install this


Bring the video signal to your comp and start monitoring the skies


[edit on 21-1-2007 by sc4venger]



posted on Jan, 22 2007 @ 08:20 AM
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Cool i like the look of that pantiltcam control, was thinking similar can be done with those telescopes these days, they can be controlled by computer.



posted on Jan, 23 2007 @ 01:51 PM
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Seems like a good idea, count me in. Is there some good software out there for things like this.
I saw an orange orbe above my house just before christmas and I'v been getting a stiff neck ever since.
Good luck with this one.
John



posted on Jan, 23 2007 @ 02:01 PM
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I don't understand why you haven't received more response to this thread.

I think this is a great idea!



posted on Jan, 23 2007 @ 02:16 PM
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Iam up for it but my webcams #e....Plus theres quite a lot of street lighs.... Whats the best (cheap) solution?

p.s Will my electricity bill sky rocket?



posted on Jan, 24 2007 @ 01:13 PM
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Originally posted by jon1
Seems like a good idea, count me in. Is there some good software out there for things like this.
I saw an orange orbe above my house just before christmas and I'v been getting a stiff neck ever since.
Good luck with this one.
John


Im looking into the software, there's actually quite a bit out there and combinations as well so it’s a bit tricky, would be nice to have some input as well, as I've never done something like this before.


Originally posted by MagicaRose
I don't understand why you haven't received more response to this thread.

I think this is a great idea!


Yeah been wondering the same, with any luck in time we should be able to get a decent group going here on ats.


Originally posted by eddiemaiden_80
Iam up for it but my webcams #e....Plus theres quite a lot of street lighs.... Whats the best (cheap) solution?

p.s Will my electricity bill sky rocket?


You could do it for however long your on pc if you wanted, don't do it any more than you feel happy with, some people seem to keep their pc's on 24/7 anyway, not sure of the costs though as it will depend on your setup plus electricity supplier rates.

PC's use as much as they need, so if your playing a game or running the cpu to 100% it will eat more power, something like this would mean your monitor should be off when not in use and a background program using probably less than 50% to 30% as it doesn't take much when capturing.



posted on Jan, 24 2007 @ 02:56 PM
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I used to do astrophotography with a Mead 8" Schmidt Cassegrain and a 60 dollar CCD Webcamera, with the focuser pulled off. It worked great on the moon and planets. I could then use a program to "stack" some of the images of planets to make a better picture. I have since had my converted Webcam break on me.

I do have a Sony MiniDV which I assume I can just plug into my laptop with firewire and use it as a webcam. One thing I noticed when doing the capture of video on the planets, the files were huge. I don't know how much a 24 hour session would take up on the hard drive. My guess would be gigs and gigs. But alas, hard drive space is a cheap fix, but the real problem is how do you go through 24 hours of video everyday? Even on fast forward with review would probably take hours.

I might give it a try and see if my MiniDV can work like a webcam.

Great idea. I like it.



posted on Jan, 24 2007 @ 04:36 PM
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Ah Stockburn i was hoping someone like you would come along, i have been considering getting a motorised telescope with computer and webcam linkup myself, have you ever tried using it in the day and seeing how close up you can view a jet?

If it works ok you have a very decent ufo viewing ability right there but you'd need some sort of extra webcam and motion tracking software to make the scope lock on while your away, im not sure what software would make that work but anything is possible and this would be very cool indeed, i've seen diy sentry guns made on this basic principle and its worked, so replace the gun with a telescope and your sorted!


If possible when you have some free time could you see what sort of images you can get from a high flying jet using your telescope please?



See im thinking if this is pointed at the sky it should in theory be easier for the motion detector to work as the sky tends to be fairly simple in terms of detail, it should see a moving jet or ufo as they stand out somewhat.



posted on Jan, 24 2007 @ 05:39 PM
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I'll see what I can come up with. The scope (LX-90) is huge and bulky. Probably weighs 40 lbs let alone the tripod is easly 25 lbs. If using on the night sky say mars, I could see the polar ice caps pretty easily. Saturn C rings, and jupiters moons and easily the shadow of Europa on jupiters surface as well as red eye (although not so red anymore), a few bands as well.

When I was doing the astrophotgraphy it required the eye piece out of the telescope (with or without Barlows) and the CCD (webcam) stuck right in the focuser (or barlow) with a 35mm film canister as the eyepiece column. With that I could use a program called registax, which takes a frames out (best ones you choose) of the avi and makes bmp's. The program then stacks them automatically making a MUCH more detailed image. I had a few successful shots of saturn and jupiter with this. Some guys are real good with the webcams. The moon was easy pickin.

In fact check this site out of what the webcam is capable of with a larger say 8"+ telescope. www.webcam-astrophotography.com... Bear in mind, I don't have color filters so the image I take will seriously be lacking in color but detail I think should come in OK. If my skies are clear tonight I will try and get some video and/or pictures but it sure is gonna be hard to track the planes I think. Maybe I can concentrate on moon, but my CCD Webcam is seriously hosed up because of all the times left out overnight in the dew. Last time I tried it was hating it.

That sentry gun is sweet!



posted on Jan, 24 2007 @ 05:54 PM
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Originally posted by just theory
You could do it for however long your on pc if you wanted, don't do it any more than you feel happy with, some people seem to keep their pc's on 24/7 anyway, not sure of the costs though as it will depend on your setup plus electricity supplier rates.

.


Thanks!

I am thinking of building a new pc, sooner or later, just for this 24/7! How powerful does it have to be ? I will make sure to get a good amount of hard drive space because video can take up a lot really quick depending on the quality!

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trimmed quote



[edit on 24/1/07 by masqua]



posted on Jan, 24 2007 @ 07:54 PM
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This is a swell idea, JT - (*swell* - does anybody say that anymore?).

Anyway - once you compile a set of instructions (remember the KISS method) for all who want to participate, run a few tests, and post back here to get the ball rolling, I'm sure you'll have a bunch of us hop on board to join the fun and maybe, just maybe, snag some video of something ultra-interesting!

Good luck - and keep up the good work!



posted on Jan, 24 2007 @ 11:08 PM
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Okay gents. Here ya go.

Freezing my arse off. I broke out a small refractor not even close to me LX90 which figured was too much of a pain to pull out. But it will give you an idea of what can be seen with a modified CCD Webcam when used in prime Focus on a small telescope. The telescope was an Short tube Orion 80mm on a POS tripod, cheap as they come, manually operated. The Webcam FYI, is an old logitech, with IR film pulled from the CCD and the focuser unscrewed and discarded. I thought it was a goner last I used it but it still seems to work.

It was taken sometime between 8PM PST and 8:20PM PST. Had one heck of a time getting the mount to work and I had never used this scope for the CCD Webcam. Let me just say it was a nightmare to produce. I had many more minutes before this was taken, but too many curse words exited my mouth trying to get it in focus and centered. If you want the full version just ask.


Anyway here is the 1st rendition of trying Skywatch.


I will follow up with my MiniDV which does work with webcam style just minus the scope. It appears even with night vision it is NOT very clear. I can see how this would be OK for wide sweeps in daylight, but night time it leaves something to be desired. Anyway, Take care, I'm going to bed.

www.ifilm.com...

If the link doesn't work, lemme know. I have never used youtube etc, so I just put it where I know works.



Edited for proper link. Sorry about that,

[edit on 24-1-2007 by Stockburn]



posted on Jan, 25 2007 @ 03:19 AM
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Nice one Stockburn thanks for the info and video, i hope you didn't mind my little request, its much appreciated, i would love to see a high flying plane in the day time when you get the chance, im trying to get an idea of what the magnification is like as i plan to do a lot of day watching because the best ufo pictures can be taken then.

Nice shot of the moon you got there, it reminds me theres been objects visible passing the moon called fastwalkers apparently, so it should be a good place to keep watch at night, here's a few videos showing stuff passing the moon you might find interesting.

www.youtube.com...
www.youtube.com...
www.youtube.com...



posted on Jan, 25 2007 @ 03:39 AM
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This is a great idea, but unfortunatly, i bet most people live in the ctiy, and cant do this, but it is a great idea, and can probaly be used in some form.



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