As we blogged about back in March last year, AuroraWatch UK received funding to build an all-sky camera. Today, we have some news to share with you about it!
For the past couple of weeks, we have been running a dedicated AuroraWatch UK camera from the roof of our home: the Department of Physics at Lancaster University.
Although this isn’t the best place to have the camera (we suffer from restricted views to the south and light pollution from the University) it has allowed easy access for testing. While the photos aren’t as good as those we expect to get when we move to a field site away from the University (and hopefully a little further north), we have still been able to capture some lovely images. Take a look at a few below.
To help orientate you, these images are called “all-sky”. They capture an almost complete 360 view of the night sky. To the left of the image is north; to the right is south. To the top is west; to the bottom is east.
That moving white streak to the right-hand side of the picture is the Internation Space Station flying by. We captured this on the 1st April 2017. The big bright light near the top is the Moon.
Click on the images to enlarge.
On a clear starry night, the Plough (or Big Dipper) is clearly visible (see blue outline in second photo if you’re a bit lost!).
A sunny day in Lancaster
A rare sunny day in Lancaster. This sunny day highlighted a small issue where some text on the camera lens can be seen in a reflection on the dome. As a result, we’re going to paint over the text with black paint. Simple but (hopefully) effective!
We’re planning on moving the camera to another spot in the University with a less restricted view and, hopefully, a little less light pollution. We will also probably add a small heater to try and keep condensation of the dome.
We will also soon be adding a real-time view from the camera on our aurora map.