Boltwood Cloud Sensor II for Fixed Observatories
The Boltwood Cloud Sensor II measures the amount of cloud cover by comparing the temperature of the sky to the ambient ground level temperature. The sky temperature is determined by measuring the amount of radiation in the 8 to 14 micron infrared band. A large difference indicates clear skies, whereas a small difference indicates dense, low-level clouds. This allows the sensor to continuously monitor the clarity of the skies, and to trigger appropriate alerts on your computer.
The Boltwood Cloud Sensor II also includes a moisture sensor which detects rain and snow. To prevent false alarms due to frost or dew, a heater keeps the sensor slightly above ambient temperature. When rain or snow falls, the sensor is automatically heated to 70 degrees Celsius. This clears the sensor quickly when the precipitation ends, and ensures that the sky-measuring thermopile has a clear view.
The Boltwood Cloud Sensor II now measures wind speed, using a specially-designed anemometer with no moving parts. The sensor will now warn you when winds speeds are too high for safe operation of the observatory. Plus the sensor now detects daylight and can be set to automatically close the roof to prevent any possibility of sunlight entering the telescope. The Boltwood Cloud Sensor II now also measures humidity, and provides a continuous readout of temperature, humidity, and dew point.
The included Clarity II Windows software monitors the sensor via a USB interface. It displays and logs all sensor information. Alerts can appear visually, or with sounds from either the PC speaker or sound card. The user can choose to be alerted for clouds, wind, and/or wetness; all with adjustable thresholds. The computer display can be set for a mini status window or a full information display.
The sensor unit itself will trigger an electrical contact closure when heavy clouds, high winds, or precipitation is detected. When connected to a dome or roof controller, this contact can be used to trigger closure even if the computer is not operating. This provides a 'last line of defence' against damage to your observatory equipment. The thresholds for roof closure are set through the Clarity software.
Boltwood Cloud Sensor II for Fixed Observatories Features
- Cloud Sensor Graph II software is now included. This provides a continuous graphical plot of the sky conditions, temperature, wind, humidity, etc.
- ActiveX and file interfaces are provided for integrating the Clarity II software into your observatory control system.
- The complete package includes sensor with mounting bracket (shown attached to a pole), cable, adapter box, universal AC power supply with international plugs, USB cable, protective cover, and PC software.
Words on the Boltwood Cloud Sensor II
"I just wanted to let you guys know the Boltwood sensor is by far the coolest and most practical astronomy accessory I have purchased to date. I am very impressed with its accuracy. The down side is since I got it, I am now looking for cloudy skies and rain just so I can see it work its magic! It caught me off guard when it displayed a "Snow" message. I peeked outside and sure enough, it really was snowing! How cool is that?!!! Now I no longer have to worry about falling asleep and leaving the dome open! This device is an absolute must have for any computerized observatory!"
-- Marcus Thompson
Diffraction Limited Product Number: CLDSNSR150