Want to spend evenings waiting for your birth parents from outer space to take you back home (seriously, those drones downstairs can’t be your real old folks)? Better get Santa Barbara Instrument Group’s (SBIG) new horizon-to-horizon view camcorders, which are specially-designed to facilitate keeping an extended eye on the sky.
Called the AllSky-340 and the AllSky-340C, the new models are geared towards a multitude of uses, including monitoring the weather, detecting meteors, catching passing comets and recording UFO flights. If you’re lucky, you might even see a unicorn flying across the sky. Really.
The AllSky-340 is pure monochrome, while the AllSky-340C captures images in color. Differences between the two pretty much end there. Both cameras share similar specs – 5.5 x 5.5 x 11 inch dimensions, all-weather aluminum housing, Fujinon lens, a heated and replaceable acrylic dome enclosure, 12Vdc power source and built-in solar power support (you’ll need to get the optional solar cells, though). They are based on SBIG’s previous Smart Glider astrophotography camera, which uses a high-gain CCD sensor for better sensitivity. Control and downloading can be done either via RS-232 cables or wireless Bluetooth.
Laden with long-exposure capability, the cameras can handily detect bright objects in space. They can also work during daylight, regardless of weather. Both come with their own PC-based software that can download captures from the camera into an AVI file.
The monochrome SBIG AllSky-340 is currently available for $1,695, while the full-color SBIG AllSky-340C is still scheduled for the end of the year (no pricing yet). You can get the cameras with an optional fisheye lens for an extra $500.