Tektite Skies : Portable Clear Sky Detection System

Blogged by Aurélie Le Fort-Beunink on October 23, 2011 and tagged with Sample Application, Software.

Tektite Skies was borne from attending failed star parties, having retreated to bed due to cloudy conditions, only to find out that the sky had cleared a mere hour later, this lead to a waste in time and money that was invested in attending these parties.

My only option to combat a cloudy sky at that time was to set my alarm clock at various times in the morning hoping to catch some clear sky, I grew frustrated and sought out a solution to this problem, I came across many potential solutions but none that suited all my needs, so I set out to design a solution. After a year of development I am happy to offer my solution to cloudy star parties, Tektite Skies.

Tektite Skies is my offering to the detection of clear skies, it is able to analyze any BMP or JPEG image that is fed into it or even an internet address, with a small amount of tweaking it can be tuned to the supply image and provide a sky assessment.

So with this software I then went onto design a portable version, the portable clear sky detection unit uses the Tektite Skies Software that will issue a computerized voice report once clear skies have been detected. This report can be sent over a Citizen Band radio channel to any user which is tuned into the CB radio channel. This broadcast method will allow any star party to access the clear sky detection system with nothing more than a relatively inexpensive CB radio.

  • Utilizes the world renowned The Imaging Source Astronomy Cameras DBK 31AU03.AS and DMK 41AU02.AS
  • Fish-eye lens for edge to edge clear sky detection
  • Weather Proof case
  • Inbuilt Battery with an external power option
  • Assesses Sky once a minute
  • Inbuilt Alga-rhythm to avoid "sucker holes"
  • Transportable by courier
  • Ability to save the unique settings for your star party
  • Programmable start and stop times
  • Easy to operate user interface
  • Can save the analyzed images and generate a log file to convert to a chart for post analysis

YouTube Link: http://youtu.be/iz2oQgnBLJY

Expressions of interest for the software and the portable version of Tektite Skies can be made at http://www.mcdougalltech.com. The website will be live from November onwards, with the portable version of Tektite Skies will be available for hire from mid 2012 onwards.

Trent Mc Dougall, McDougall Technologies