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A platform for building motion-sensitive cameras to spot shooting stars and triangulating their paths.
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Pi Gazing

Pi Gazing makes it really easy for amateur astronomers to observe the night sky.

We're installing a network of CCTV cameras that point upwards and record pictures of the sky throughout the hours of darkness. They take a series of long-exposure still photos each night, and they're also motion sensitive, taking video clips of anything that moves.

You can use Pi Gazing images to watch how the constellations circle overhead as the night progresses, or how they change with the seasons. You can see the changing phases of the Moon, or watch the planets move across the sky.

The motion sensors in our cameras capture footage of planes, satellites, and shooting stars. We also see rarer phenomena: lightning strikes, fireworks, and glints of light from solar panels on spacecraft.

The fact that we have a network of many cameras means that sometimes we see the same moving object from multiple different locations at once. That enables us to triangulate the object's exact three-dimensional position, including its altitude and speed.

To find out more about the Pi Gazing project, you should visit our project website.

There, you can find information sheets about educational activities, and you can browse our entire data archive.

These GitHub pages contain the program code and hardware designs that we use. They're all open source, and if you want to set up your own camera using our software, you should be able to find all the information you need here.


Pi Gazing is written and maintained by astronomer Dominic Ford.

It is based on code that was written for Cambridge Science Centre's MeteorPi project, which was created by Dominic Ford with generous support from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and MathWorks.


Pi Gazing is open to all!

Many of our activities have been developed with children in mind, but all our data is open for anyone to access. You can find instructions on these GitHub pages for building your own camera, and we'd be delighted to hear how you get on. We're especially keen to work with amateur astronomers who would like to use our cameras to make scientific observations of meteors, for example as part of the NEMETODE and UKMON networks.

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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