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Sky Watch Project!

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posted on Jan, 25 2007 @ 07:03 AM
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This guy has instructions on how to this on the cheap.
Webcam Telescope

I might just build one of those.
Don’t even need a telescope, just lenses, cheap webcam and a wooden box.

and this book, gives clues of problems that might be encountered when setting-up. (Although they seem to advocate a more expensive setup, (less then $10,000))




posted on Jan, 25 2007 @ 09:33 AM
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Cool thanks for the link, i didn't think to attach the cam ccd directly, i imagine it gets much more light as well which is quite important for any night viewing, i've only got a cheap one at the moment so im gonna hook it up to one eye piece of the binoculars just for a test.



posted on Jan, 25 2007 @ 09:58 AM
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I give you guys a lot of credit for attempting to get some type of proof but remember they say pictures can be faked. Just because you say and show doesn't seem to mean anything these days.

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you and good luck.

I just want to say I like the one with the plane, it seems on that photo they are caught spraying chemtrails at night.



posted on Jan, 25 2007 @ 11:46 AM
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I'll see what I can come up with. I will have to try Saturday or Sunday as by the time I get home from work it is already dark. I am not certain how well the CCD will do in daylight. The CCD is very sensitive and any stray light might distort the image. But I'll give it a shot.

I do however like that 35mm lense mounted in a box. I have an old Minolta 35mm lens and a telephoto lens as well. I might just try and hold the CCD chip up to the lens and see if it produces anything. The good thing about the 35mm lense is the wide view one would get as opposed to the scope I just used which magnifies quite a bit, which in turn makes finding your object very difficult.

I set my miniDV up last night shooting up at 45 degrees capturing all night long. In fact it still is capturing. It seems with my setup 24 hours takes about 20 gig of space. What program has anyone used to automatically check for anything weird on the video? I certainly don't want to review the whole movie manually with my own eyes.



posted on Jan, 25 2007 @ 02:19 PM
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Hey Stock - and the rest of you:

This is a great idea - and one I've commented on before in other similar threads. I'd like to suggest that we gather up some ATS donations (count me in), and perhaps a few corporate sponsors and get us one of these: Cinetheodolite – you can get them used for about $150,000 or less.

I know that sound like a lot of money but it's a drop in the bucket for someone like Branson, Jobs, McNeely, Gates, or some other deep-pocket industrialist/enthusiast.

With this we'll catch us a UFO...

BTW - nice thread - with no theodolite I'll be rigging up the old webcam myself!

Keep posting!


[edit on 1/25/2007 by Outrageo]



posted on Jan, 25 2007 @ 05:01 PM
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Well, this afternoon, I decided I would try to rig myself up something. I have a 16" Mead telescope and I rigged one of the eyepieces to work with like a cheapy Wally World webcam. It took a while, but I finally have something situated. It's actually quite cool. I'll see if anything happens tonight, and will be focusing mainly on the moon, since It's the easiest to focus on. I also made a visible light filter so I can focus on just the IR spectrum as well.



posted on Jan, 25 2007 @ 08:22 PM
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Sweetness. I have your scopes baby brother Mead LX90 8" SCT. The great thing about our scopes is they auto track the stars and planets and moons.


I still need a way to go through 24 hours of film for anything unusual. I think its gonna be cool to see in fast forward the sunrise. YES!!!

As soon as I get of my arse, I am going to try the 35mm SLR lenses with my CCD. Hopefully I can report if it worked or not later tonight. Take care,

Edited here:

Okay finally, got to playing with the 3 lenses I have. 1 wide angle 49mm, 1 regular 55, and a telephoto 200mm. I think the trick of the wooden box camera is you absolutely have to get the focal length correct. I am having to trim down so far on the film cannister it's not even funny, just to get a clear image. Granted I am just holding the CCD to the lense. I think you were to really make the wooden box, you HAVE to have an adjustable lenth focal length. Someone on the site wrote springs with screws. This is a must have. It allows you to adjust how far your lense is from the CCD. I will see if I can get some video doing the hand held jobby. Pretty cool stuff.



[edit on 25-1-2007 by Stockburn]

[edit on 26-1-2007 by Stockburn]



posted on Jan, 26 2007 @ 12:22 AM
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I just wrote a few paragraphs on a follow up and it got wasted. Nice! ARGH! I am gonna make this one short...

Okay here is the 35mm lens test. Bear in mind these are ALL with CCD in hand, crunched on the lens. Clairity sux, but its the best quick fix I could do.

www.ifilm.com...


It is very apparent the focal length needs to be very precise. On the other postsers instructions about the adjustable screws and ccd have to be VERY close. the focus suffers badly if not.

I tested out the 55mm and the 200m. The 200mm is pretty good, the 55mm seems way to bright. No detail. The 49mm wide field, I could not get to focus even remotely close.

I think the box scope should be pursued, but when making the tolerances need to be checked real good.

In any case, I hitting the sack, I am working on my jeep this weekend and won't get around to "trying" to take some aircraft pics until Sunday, if I can even get one. Although the lenses via 35mm look fairly easy to do.

Take care, and good hunting.

Oh yeah, I looked at my miniDV recording for the 24 hours. Nothing of interest, I had the night vision on, so when day hit, it was wasted. Although the sunet and sunrise did come in, albeit not as great as I wanted. there is something to be said about time elapsed photos.

God night



posted on Jan, 26 2007 @ 01:55 PM
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It looks like I have found the perfect software for this project. the only problem is that it's not free.
www.azcendant.com...
See what you think
John



posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 04:59 AM
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Originally posted by Stockburn
What program has anyone used to automatically check for anything weird on the video? I certainly don't want to review the whole movie manually with my own eyes.


I did a long search a few days ago and couldn't find anything that does motion detection on video files, there must be some that will do the job, the only thing I can think of for now is viewing the video in fast forward and maybe lowering the saved frame rate to 10 or less a second in future, I will continue looking though, im going to try some software called motion and/or zoneminder for ubuntu linux, I've yet to actually setup a proper full time capture pc as my old one still needs sorting and I also need an extension cable for the webcam, though I have been playing around with the ccd and those binoculars, I found I have to keep the webcams own lens but it works ok anyway.


Originally posted by jon1
It looks like I have found the perfect software for this project. the only problem is that it's not free.
www.azcendant.com...
See what you think
John


Thanks that does look pretty good but im not sure I want to purchase any software at this point with all the free and open source stuff around.



posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 08:02 AM
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I've just found this one... (open source)
dorgem.sourceforge.net...

Currently trying out the trial version of CAM Wizard 7.14.



posted on Jan, 29 2007 @ 12:32 AM
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JT,

Sorry man,

I tried to get home before sun down after working on my jeep and it was a no go.

I will try and steal some time from work and get home an hour or so before sun down to try and get a plane for ya.

I plan on trying the two pieces of software that the other 2 gents have suggested. I don't mind paying 100 or less if it works. The weird thing about this concept you would have thought that someone would have coded some good stuff for this specific application. Someone out there has to be a coder!?


BTW, did you get a chance to see the 35mm SLR lenses crunched up on the CCD camera? Not that bad for hand held. In fact now that I think about it, on the 55mm, I probably should have lessened the Fstop, i.e, the moon was really bright that night even though it was less than 50%.

So far I have recorded ~72 hours of sky time, and nada. The large problem I have is trying to "slide" through the movies. I probably missed a few planes, the planes are quite discernable however. Can't wait to try the other software to ease the pain. Take care,



posted on Jan, 30 2007 @ 07:03 AM
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Originally posted by Stockburn
JT,

Sorry man,

I tried to get home before sun down after working on my jeep and it was a no go.

I will try and steal some time from work and get home an hour or so before sun down to try and get a plane for ya.


No prob, that’s cool, don't worry if you can't do it or its too much trouble.



I plan on trying the two pieces of software that the other 2 gents have suggested. I don't mind paying 100 or less if it works. The weird thing about this concept you would have thought that someone would have coded some good stuff for this specific application. Someone out there has to be a coder!?


An open source project specially for this would be nice, probably asking too much though!



BTW, did you get a chance to see the 35mm SLR lenses crunched up on the CCD camera? Not that bad for hand held. In fact now that I think about it, on the 55mm, I probably should have lessened the Fstop, i.e, the moon was really bright that night even though it was less than 50%.

So far I have recorded ~72 hours of sky time, and nada. The large problem I have is trying to "slide" through the movies. I probably missed a few planes, the planes are quite discernable however. Can't wait to try the other software to ease the pain. Take care,


Yeah, sorry i thought i made a reply on that, looks good and it also has given me another idea, what about setting up a basic sky scanner, like using some simple motorised setup that just turns a few degrees and takes a picture each second while through one of these lenses, that way you would get a close up shot of anything that passed the field of view while also getting a large chunk of the sky watched over a short time?



posted on Jan, 30 2007 @ 08:33 AM
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I've tried the open source software I listed above (Dorgem) does everything we need and the motion sensors work fine. (although the support is very minimal.) I saves the captures to your desktop, ot you can FTP it anywhere you'd like.

I'm not sure the sensors are sensitive enough to pick up a plane moving in the sky.

CAM Wizard works great also. (not open source, just 30 day trial) It can even email you the video when it's captured.

[edit on 30/1/07 by ConspiracyNut23]



posted on Feb, 5 2007 @ 06:04 PM
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I've been playing around with zoneminder and so far i think its pretty good, it's on linux so it might not be ideal for many people but you can get a live cd near the bottom of the downloads section as well as the normal install, which means you can try it out without having to install anything.

The thing i like is that its website based so you can view from another pc on you lan or even on the net if securely setup, i still need to get a usb extension and a decent webcam before i start sky watching properly, the cheap cam i got now is simply too lowres, the cool thing is though with zoneminder it can still come in handy as a motion trigger to other cams and a secondary angle thats also infrared.

www.zoneminder.com...

[edit on 5/2/07 by just theory]



posted on Feb, 8 2007 @ 01:59 AM
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JT,

Tried the former two products,

some of the components don't work via my cam corder. Maybe I need a true webcam for the goodies. All in all still seems quite doable. I am still doing 24 hour video via my camcorder, but having no luck. I might even be missing some goodies doing the fast scan/slide through it. Almost guranteed.

I still haven't been able to get a daytime shot of aircraft with the CCD setup. From my playing around last Sunday, I just don't have the setup for it. With my IR film removed from the CCD, it is just WAY to bright and the magnication is probably killing me. I might try to switch to my little refractor. In fact, I can't even tell if I am on the mark other than my finder scope on the 8" Schmidt Cassegain is perfect. I think by pulling off the IR film on my CCD for night time Astro Photog has hosed me for day time pics. I have tried focusing on near infinity while trying and just no luck. I might have to get a new webcam for daytime. It just is not working. If you like I can try to capture a night time aircraft. It is doable, but I doubt I can keep the craft in range for more than a few seconds. But it will still give you an idea. I'll see what I can come up with.

Take care and good night,



posted on Feb, 24 2007 @ 03:31 AM
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Hey just theory, great idea. I was just thinking about setting something up for myself the past couple of days and found your thread.

Here are some things I can contribute if anything can help:

I have tons of extra pc's lying around with linux on them with no real use at the moment. I live in an apartment with hydro built into to the monthly rent so theres no limit to the amount I use per month. With that said I can easily dedicate 3 pc's 24/7 for this purpose and make them public for our use.

I have been a network and website admin for over 10 years and have no problem helping setup and maintain a site for the project, if needed.

Only skills I don't have is the whole telescope business. Basically setting one up and hooking it up to my pc. Of course this is easily done.

Also we could even have msn chat yahoo chat whatever going to help make things even easier as forum posting is annoying for discussions.

My thinking is even if we can get 2-3 of us working on it we could get some sweet things done.

[edit on 24-2-2007 by leafer]



posted on May, 11 2007 @ 05:29 PM
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It has been over two months of recording 24 hour video on my camcorder and recording the video to my laptop. I had to review the 24 hour session every day because the size of the AVI was huge. I basically looked at every frame at 60 second intervals. Time consuming...

I am deeply saddened that I have not recorded any UFO's. All planes were easily seen as terrerstrial and a boat load of the sparrow birds and some dove. Thats it.

Sorry guys I tried.


Maybe I will keep trying.



posted on May, 15 2007 @ 10:14 AM
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That's a shame, im sorry to say that I've been a bit busy and didn't get round to doing any proper long time recording sessions as i still lack a decent webcam and pc, the webcam i was using was simply too poor quality wise and the old p3 too slow to be worthy, thought i did do quite a bit of playing around and found that zoneminder software on ubuntu covered all of my needs, it really is very good!

Maybe this project wouldn't give any decent results then, i mean unless its the more advanced setup I've thought about you probably wouldn't get any decent shots anyway?



posted on May, 15 2007 @ 11:01 AM
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I don't have a web or video cam, but I do have a Leica digital stills jobby, with a 10mp CCD. I had a thought how this, or similar, could be used to keep a watch on a large area of sky for half the time. It has a built-in mode for shooting starry skies that uses long exposures. In the longer exposures (1min) you start to see the trails left by the Earth's rotation. Aircraft show up as longer trails with the flashing visible as brighter spots on a line of light and satellites show up as longer trails at a different angle to the star trails or as star-like objects (for geo-stat sats). All I need to do is figure out how to keep the camera taking them automatically. Then a quick visual check in the morning will show any UFOs quite easily. I will post an example up tomorrow.

Great idea, JT, by the way, and I will definitely be looking at hooking up an 8" dobsonian with a webcam sometime soon. Let me know the verdict on the software.




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