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2015 June 11 — Cameras arrived and tested

Our cameras arrived this week and preliminary testing was performed by viewing the live video feed on a CRT monitor. Though the cameras were ordered with the IR cut filters removed, we wanted to confirm this. Thanks to Lowell astronomer Ted Dunham for the suggestion of using a TV remote control to test the IR throughput of our cameras. This worked perfectly with the video feed showing a bright source on the front of the remote control. We also wanted to test the limiting magnitude of these cameras. Nighttime on-sky tests with the CRT monitor showed that we could readily resolve 6th magnitude stars, suggesting that we should be able to image meteors down to at least 4th magnitude.

 

2015 May 26 — Cameras ordered

We hFree-shipping-1-3-SONY-960H-EXview-HAD-CCD-II-700TVL-0-0003Lux-Mini-D-WDRave ordered 1/3″ Sony 900H EXview HAD II CCD box cameras with the IR filter removed. These are the same cameras as those tested and deployed in the Forresthill CAMS station in northern California. Our cameras will be fitted with f1.2 fixed-iris 8m and 12mm lenses. These cameras and lenses were ordered directly from a manufacturer in Guangdong, China called the Macro-Snowball International Trade Company. This order and transaction was remarkably easy to complete, and the cameras are expected to arrive with a few weeks.

2015 April + May — Design phase

Over the past two months we have finaSlide1lly settled on a schematic design and parts list for our stations. Based on existing CAMS stations in New Zealand we will be using 16 cameras per station configured in two concentric rings. A power supply, temperature switch and reptile heater (to prevent condensation), and light sensitive switch will be installed in a box with the cameras. The video will be passed to control computers using multi-channel video baluns and ethernet cable. The mounts for the cameras will be a simple combination of two L-brackets with a fixed elevation angle and adjustable azimuth. Everything will be mounted to a metal peg board.

2015 March 27 — CAMS visit

This week I visited the California Bay Area toDSCN9987 meet with Peter Jenniskens and Jim Albers to learn more about CAMS. This image is a top view of the Mountain View station on the roof of Jim Albers’ house. The Lowell CAMS stations will be based on these northern CA counterparts. Our focus will be on making the stations at Lowell with inexpensive, off the shelf parts that can still perform at a high level.

Lowell Observatory
Cameras for All-Sky Meteor Surveillance
(LO-CAMS)

Fireball cameras image meteoroids as they burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. Multiple camera stations can triangulate meteor trails to provide pre-impact orbits and, for big enough events, predictions for the location of meteorite falls. CAMS (Cameras for All-Sky Meteor Surveillance) is a network of fireball camera stations initiated by Peter Jenniskens from the SETI Institute. CAMS is a highly successful system with more than 200,000 meteor orbits measured over its first 4 years of operation. We are contributing to the CAMS network with fireball stations located at Lowell Observatory.
Details of design, our project team, and camera locations are at the links below.
On this page we will post updates on the Lowell Observatory CAMS system.
STUDENT OPPORTUNITY: We are looking for a talented undergraduate student with a relevant background in astronomy, computer science, or engineering to get involved with LOCAMS. Experience in computer programming is desired. Contact me at the email below if you are interested.