It is possible to participate in the CAMS project by:
Single Camera CAMS:
- Adding a camera to an existing network, if you are within about 150 km (100 miles) from existing CAMS cameras. Contact your local network coordinator.
- Starting a new network, if you have another person at 40-150 km distance to triangulate with. Contact Dr. Peter Jenniskens.
Parts needed (Vendors listed below show the materials needed. Other vendors will sell the same materials, possibly less expensive):
1. A dedicated (multicore) PC desktop or laptop running windows XP or higher.
2. EasyCAP 116 or related EasyCAP DC60. Make sure to purchase the EasyCap version compatible with your operating system (XP or Windows 7; 32-bit or 64-bit versions). The more expensive versions are best.
3. Watec WAT-902H2 Ultimate canera
4. 12-mm f1.2 Pentax lens (or 8-mm if pointing to zenith)
5. C-CS mount lens adapter
6. A 12V DC power supply for the camera
7. 25ft video cable with BNC connectors, suitable for outdoor use
8. Video security camera housing (or placement in dark room behind window)
9. CAMS Single-Camera software (contact local survey area coordinator).
Put the C-CS Mount adapter on the camera, then mount the lens. Hook up the video cable and a 12V DC power supply to camera [careful with electricity]. Install the EasyCap driver software (from disc supplied with EasyCap device). Put EasyCap in back USB port of computer. Hook up video cable to EasyCap. Install software on C-drive under new folder "CAMS" (c:CAMS). Install EasyCap driver to the same folder.
Run Camera_Liveviewer program to see video feed. Adjust camera settings: set lens wide open at f1.2 and focus at infinity so that stars are sharp. Camera set button gamma on "LO". Run Capture.exe to start capture video files in FF format. For multi-core PC's: run capture and processing at same time.
Camera calibration: Run CameraMovies to create movie of series of captured files. Select one file for starfield calibration using FTP_Meteor_Cal program. Then run FTP_Reprocess for all FF files to obtain apparent meteor trajectories (creates file: FTP_Detectinfo.txt).
It takes an evening's work by nearly anyone to set this up. Provide survey area coordinator once with gps location of your observing site by sending CameraSites.txt file.
After each night of observations, upload the following files as a zip folder in the SETI Institute ftp CAMS dropbox. Name the file "2011-12-13-yourstationnumber.zip".
Files to upload:
- FTP_Detectinfo.txt for that date
- Cal.txt for that date
1. Use your FTP Client to login as anonymous ftp
2. user = anonymous
3. password = email address
4. cd incoming/cams
5. put or push data to folder cams.
Finally, periodically write all FF files that were written to "Archived Files" on a DVD for safekeeping.
Software installation - single cams operator:
Some experience with running Windows console programs and scripts is helpful. The software can run almost fully autonomously, with scripts running the various software tools at the apppropriate times. After everything is set up and calibrated correctly, the camera will automatically begin recording at the correct time each night, depending on the sun angle below the horizon at the camera's location. Faster multi-core computers can perform simultaneous meteor detection and complete processing for the evening within a few minutes after recording stops. Slower computers will need to perform post-recording meteor detection during the daytime. This can take from 3 to 8 ours. It takes less than a half-hour per week of clear nights to process and FTP upload the data. Average upload is about 2-6 MB per night. An additional 10-30 minutes for cloudy nights. A confirmation program is included that can be used to keep track of your own meteor counts, which adds an average of 10 minutes per night of manual operation for clear nights (more for cloudy nights).
Put in the main directory "C:/CAMS/" the programs:
Create a folder "Data" (in which the results from each night are given under "2011-10-12" etc.
Create a folder "Cal" in which the following files need to be stored:
Software installation - survey network coordinator:
For the network coordinator of each network, the following files need to be stored also in the main directory:
The output files are stored in "gefdat" and consist of a coincidence log file, the summary trajectory data and the summary orbital element data. In addition, all lightcurve files and pictures are stored.
Test on proper functioning:
CameraLiveviewer: Should show the camera video feed. Make sure to have the EasyCap driver in your main directory (C:/CAMS, where CameraLiveviewer is located).
MeterCal (producing first Cal.txt file): The field of view of 640 x 480 pixel cameras is about 20 x 30 degrees for 1/2 inch camera. The star limiting magnitude in the sum images is about +8.1 magnitude. Choose first 6 stars carefully, next 40 with attention, then rest should fit ok. Type "C" when sufficient stars are included. Type "1" to remove more stars until "O-C" is (just) less than 1.0 arcminutes. Don't remove more stars than necessary to get this result. When ready, type "0", then cntrl P, to accept the result. A new Cal.txt file is generated. At least 50, but up to 200 stars are used for the camera calibration.
- Select the frame you want to calibrate (from movie file).
- Run MeterCal, select this frame.
- Select location of "Cal" folder.
- Give size of field (32 degrees), approximate RA and DEC.
- Program will plot star catalog. Identify 6 stars in both camera and catalog with cursor. For each pair, push "enter". After that, the program will make matches. Check carefully then push "enter". First 40 stars should be done with some care so as not to include hot pixels and wrong identifications of faint stars next to bright ones. Use "F" key to step one point source ahead in list, "B" to step one point source back, in case of such hot pixels or bright stars nearby.
- From stars 40 to 70, go in bunches with "enter", just check overall solution is good. From
stars 70 to 200 you can usually just press "enter".
- When you have 200 stars selected, press "C" for calibrate
- Check to see what O-C value is. Typically comes out around 1.3' if you did everything right.
If larger than 1.0, press "1" to remove more stars. If (just) below 1.0, press "0" for no more stars to be removed, then "Cntrl P" to accept the answer. Now, a new Cal file is generated.
More information: Single CAMS Manual (pdf), courtesy of Dave Samuels.