The AllSkEye application has many features, for full details please see the documentation. To explore the main features please expand the sections below:
The AllSkEye application has been designed to run completely autonomously without the need for any user interaction. Images are acquired, processed and saved and/or transferred according to the user settings. File growth can be controlled by use of the ‘Folder Size Management’ function and Email alerts can be used to receive notifications in case the system encounters any problems
The application can be set to acquire images continuously or start/stop the acquisitions at fixed times of the day (e.g. start at 22:00 and finish at 06:00). Additionally the application can also start and stop acquisitions based on local sunset and sunrise times which is most useful to restrict image acquisitions to hours of darkness only.
The auto exposure time function can automatically set an appropriate exposure time to achieve a preset brightness value of the image. Specifically the image ‘Median Value’ is used for this purpose. The user can set an appropriate image median value target and the application will try to achieve this setting within the given parameters. It is also possible to set a fixed exposure time if required.
The image acquisition function can be set to output a jpg image of the most recent image data to a folder and/or ftp location. This allows easy setup of a webcam style website to remotely look at the latest image taken by the camera. The ‘latest image’ is created at scheduled interval (as per settings) and will process the most recent image available at the time of update.
The image preview tab allows the user to display the latest acquired image and view images statistics. Additional controls also allow the user to control the ‘clipping’ and ‘stretching’ of the image as well as pan and zoom.
Acquired FITS format images are processed to create human ‘viewable’ image files (.jpg or .png). This is achieved by ‘clipping’ and ‘stretching the linear image data to produce a good representation of the overhead sky. Colour images are created by use of a ‘de-bayering’ mechanism in line with the cameras Bauer matrix. If required the images can also be mirrored.
The application can overlay an existing static image which allows ‘unchanging content’ to be overlain in top of the image (such as compass rose, logos, etc.). The app also allows the overlay of dynamic text which can include system parameters such as date, time, expose time, lat and long, etc.
Additionally the app also provides a mechanism to overlay star and solar system object names on to of the captured image.
The application provides a mechanism to retain the original FITS format files within an archive folder. This can be useful if original image data need to be available for further inspection of recorded events.
The video creation function allows the creation of a video file of a series of converted images. Videos can be created in two ways:
- Automatically at the end of a night once all images from that night have been processed
- Manually by using the controls on the ‘Utilities’ tab. See here for details.
The application contains a basic line detection algorithm which can be customised to find transient line shaped features. Possible meteor images are archived in a separate folder and possible meteors highlighted on the image.
Since the application is designed to run 24/7, it provides a mechanism to prevent unrestricted file growth on the computer. The folder size management feature checks selected image folders associated with the app and controls the overall size by deleting the oldest image files according to the user settings.
The application can be configured to notify the user via email if the application encounters any errors which cause it to stop.