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Al.Grant

AllSkEye: Sky cam/meteor detection

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Al.Grant
11 hours ago, Graham said:

I have been playing with camera settings for the past couple of hours.

Getting there slowly 

Have you made any changes to the default values to the clip/stretch values?

That's the one area I'm struggling to find settings I'm happy with.

 

 

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Graham

No I haven't .

Cannot quite see what that does.

I have just made changes to my camera's settings.

Now running at 

Gain - 20

Offset - 40

Blue balance - 60

Red balance - 80

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Al.Grant
13 minutes ago, Graham said:

Cannot quite see what that does.

Same here ....... After trying a few things out I set the clip/stretch values back to the default. 

I was basically changing things using trial and error and just made the image worse.

 

I've also got my gain down at 20 but not looked at the offset or blue/red balance yet.

Is your ASI120 mono or colour ?

 

 

 

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Graham

It is a colour one Al.

I also knocked the green down in the bit where you select colour , mono ect.

Still playing with those settings though.

 

I have had to turn my camera housing back over as the window filled up with water last night 😌

I have however flocked the front of the housing to try and stop these bloody flood lights effecting it so much.

I will see what happens tonight.

Edited by Graham

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Sunny Phil
On 09/12/2019 at 14:24, Al.Grant said:

Here's a quick First Look at a bit of software I've been using for the last couple of days whilst setting up an all sky cam to look for meteors.

I've only been looking at it for a couple of days but already like what I've seen.

 

The software is   AllSkyEye https://www.allskeye.com/

 

AllSkEye designed for running all sky cameras so it has more 'all sky' features than software that is designed more for general cctv monitoring.
There is a feature list here https://www.allskeye.com/features/ and the ones I've tried so far all seem to work pretty well.

It has native support for ZWO , Altair and Starlight Express cameras (also ASCOM support) and it recognised my old model ZWO ASI120mm straight away.  No messing around with drivers.

 

It's primarily designed for full time 24/7 use, however, in the short time I've been looking at it I've had no problem with an ad hoc setup.
Some users of older ASI120's have reported some issues with various things, but I haven't seen any of these and I'm currently using it attached to a 12m USB2 active hub plugged into a fairly low spec laptop running Win10.

 

It doesn't record video directly.  

First it records a series of .fit 'Acquisition' files, these are converted to either .jpg or .png and then these are converted to video. This can be all automated or the video can be created manually.  
Happily the dev has included the option to automatically delete old files once they have been converted, which is good considering the first 'indoor' test run I did recorded over 29,000 .fit files!
These were then converted to .jpg ..... so quite a few files and I soon turned ON the auto delete option.   

There is a reduce image size option which keeps converted files sizes quite low, so things aren't as bad as it initially sounds.  With all this conversion going on I ran a small windows resource monitor and was pleased to see it didn't get anywhere near stressing out the laptop. 

 

One thing I have noticed (and it makes perfect sense) is that the acquisition of .fits is far faster than the conversion process. So you can see the acquisition folder fill up quickly whilst the conversion folder can be quite a way behind.  If you manually stop the system that's where it will stay.  There is a 'Processing Only' option that will run the conversion process without taking more .fits images and I've found this to be very useful.   Only needed if you manually start/stop the run, if done via timers then it sorts itself out.

 

 

The are a number of timing options for capturing images.  
It can run constantly 24/7 or fixed times set by the user or it can run from ## number of minutes after sunset until ## number of minutes before sunrise and the options I've tried seem to work well.

 

There is an option for meteor detection which looks interesting.  Instead of motion detection it adopts a 'line detection' method.  
If it sees a streak across the sky then it will mark it as a possible meteor and take a separate capture with the option to mark it with a circle.  So aircraft or trees blowing around are less likely to trigger a detection.   
I had it out for a few hours the other night (not all night as I need a better enclosure) and  when my son turned his room light on it caused a things near the window to light up and some of these  showed up as a 'line' and it marked it.  I did watch a few aircraft cross the screen and it ignored these.  So I know that feature works but I'm not interested in when his light comes on or off! 

There is an option I've not yet tried yet (one of many) that allows you to set a capture area, efffectively ignoring areas of the field of view and perhaps not capturing bedroom lights coming on!

 

It's easy to import your local weather (from openweathermap) and display this in a tab in the program, you can also overlay this on the image along with other text like lat/long or things like logo images or a compass rose.

 

Captured for posterity as it shows 'clear sky'

1thldWU.jpg


If you have a website then it has built in ftp functionality (I've not tested) which can upload a video when completed or you can tell it how often you want the 'latest image' uploading
The AllSkEYE website has a live image here - I think it updates every 60sec:
https://www.allskeye.com/allskeye-live/

 

I've tried these and got them working, although I'm seeing an issue with the weather overlay on reduced image size files.  Speaking to the Dev it looks like a bug and he's already working on it.

 

There are options to map bad/hot/cold pixels but I've not tried that and there is even an option to overlay a star map (not plate solving) but even the dev says it takes some fiddling to get right.

Some of the other options may take a bit more digging to get it working ..... if I actually need them! 

 

Overall, for a first look I'm quite impressed and it's been easy to get up and running with just a fairly basic set up and I think I'll be sticking with AllSyEye rather than iSpy
 

I still need to get my head around the auto-exposure settings, but I've almost got it sorted.

 

This is a quick .jpg from the test I did last night.  I was mostly looking to sort out the camera focus - clouds got in the way - and check it was OK on the long USB cable.

lx3H8cy.jpg

 

Anybody already running or thinking of running an all sky camera might want to give this a look.

 

 

Al

 

 

I find looking at the live view rather interesting, especially as I have lots of cloud at the moment. I was wondering about adapting mobile 'phones to do all-sky scans. I've no plans to abandon my usual DSLR scanning. It's simply been too cloudy to use this month.

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Al.Grant

Tonight I've been playing around with the latest version of AllSkEye (0.9.15) which fixes a few things including an issue with the auto exposure settings.

 

For the first time I've got the auto-exposure working - this is probably a combintation of the fixes and me knowing more about what I'm doing -  and I've let it run from daylight, which was down at something like .007ms to it's current settings where it has decided to use 45sec exposures and I'm fairly happy with the results, although I might lower the max exposure to 30 secs.

 

I'm also giving the meteor detection settings another try.  With a 45sec exposure there  is no backlog on converson even with the meteor detection switched on.

I should point out that it's not really 'meteor' detection, it's 'line' detection with some settings to automatically reduce aircraft.

I've got a detection mask configured (the green dotted line in the image below) so it only looks within that area.  This is a nice feature as I was getting things like tree branches, window frames etc marked as possibles .

 

I get LOTS of aircraft overhead and tonight (so far) the only thing it has marked as a possible meteor is shown in the image below..... I think this is probably a satellite rather than a meteor, but I'm happy it has rejected the numerous aircraft that have gone overhead.

 

9NNqT5l.png

 

I've also looked at disc usage over the past few days and have just let the software run constantly (worth noting that it didn't fail at any point) and each night I'm currently using a little over 2gb of disc space.  This is keeping all the overnight files for an 11 hour overnight run (6pm - 5am) and includes the converted video, I'm also using .png images which are a good deal larger than .jpg.

Assuming there is nothing I want to keep the next morning I just delete these images.   If I was going away I could change a couple of settings and  easily leave this running for a week or more without having to delete any images and still have space ..... and this is on a small Stick PC with only about 45gb of free space.

 

Al

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Al.Grant

I was correct in thinking the detection was a satellite.  I ran Orbitron and checked passes for that time and it was Argentina's 'SAOCOM 1A' radar imaging satellite, launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 in 2018.   I did get a single, very small meteor later in the evening.

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Bottletopburly

Seeing as I have a qhy5l-11 that can be used to capture meteors ands a pi 4 sitting idle at moment I came across this site https://sites.google.com/site/meteotuxpi/getting-started  How hard do you think this would be able to get running not really experienced in programming raspberry pi . @Al.Grant

Edited by Bottletopburly

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Al.Grant
On 04/02/2020 at 06:57, Bottletopburly said:

Seeing as I have a qhy5l-11 that can be used to capture meteors ands a pi 4 sitting idle at moment I came across this site https://sites.google.com/site/meteotuxpi/getting-started  How hard do you think this would be able to get running not really experienced in programming raspberry pi . @Al.Grant

 

Hi,

I've not seen that one before but certainly worth a look if you have an RPi sitting idle.

First I'd check that you have the latest Raspian OS installed and from there it looks to be fairly straight forward to install and there are examples of the settings to get it running, however, I couldn't see much in the way of documentation other than the commands on the 'getting started' page.

I think getting it running using the commands given shouldn't be too much of a drama (as long as it sees the cameras) but if things don't work straight away it might be a case of trial and error!

 

I have one RPi that is in constant use for aircraft tracking and another that is set for a portable aircraft tracker for when we're away .... I've not been using the portable one much so in the future I might look at another use for it .... after all it's just a case of swapping over to a new sd card.

 

Al

 

 

 

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