American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Fri, 08/25/2023 - 16:24

This is a project for you Astro Makers out there: Astronomers who like to make things to improve their observing experience.

The WeatherBox project is a sensor package that you can deploy near your observatory site and that can report back to you the local weather conditions. This report can be used to generate programmatically a safety signal when it is urgent that you close your observatory because of inclement weather.

This project was started because there is a need by more astronomical observers that are running their observatories in an automatic fashion. Our scopes can observe all night while we sleep. But if rain and wind come, we need to be warned and/or the observatory needs to automatically close themselves to be safe.

The rationale for this project is that it is inexpensive (less than $200) and is within the capability of amateur observers that like to make things. If you can solder and run a drill press you can do this. The circuit board is available for the asking and I will document procedures and answer questions about the build process.

What is it?
- Three sensors monitoring local conditions:
    - rain drop detector
    - temperature and humidity sensor
    - sky temperature sensor that will detect clouds rolling in
- A processor connected to your Wi-Fi that can fill in the rest of the weather information that you need from an online weather service
    - wind and wind gusts getting out-of-hand
    - air pressure
- An ASCOM compatible device using the ALPACA protocol that plays the role of an ObservingConditions device as well as SafetyMonitor device. If your software stack plays ASCOM, this device will be available.

Check out the details at



Red de Observatores de Estrellas Variables - MIRA (Spain) (ROEVM)
Thanks for this. I will be…

Thanks for this. I will be following this project from Github.