[time-nuts] finding time astronomically.
jfor at quikus.com
Mon Jan 23 16:35:50 EST 2012
The atmospheric issue is more differential refraction, than refraction per
say. A zenith pointing camera is likely the best choice. The zenith is the
direction of the least atmospheric depth also.
>> I can think of two general scenarios here.
>> If you planet has air you will need to know how it refracts st
>> One is where you "lay the iphone on the table" in a fixed position. One
>> could use the internal accelerometers to determine "level", but I don't
>> think you could tell orientation, unless, perhaps, you can see
>> stars? That is, by watching the movement of the stars/planets through
>> field of view over some hours, could you figure it out? Or is there
>> fundamental ambiguity.
> No, you can point to any location and you can (in theory) figure out
> where it's pointing given that you have a large enough field of view
> to see many stars at the same time. You can make a fixture easy
> enough, just some epoxy and a large boulder. I used lag bolts
> onto my garage roof and it worked more than good enough.
> If you can choose, straight up is the best aim point. Refraction is
> not much of an issue and there is less air to look through. But
> looking at the equator means there is less field rotation and the data
> is easier to reduce. We looked at the equator because we did not want
> to deal with image rotation. Motion blur is minimize down there too.
> But if you want to know "absolute time" then you need more. Looking
> at any random but fixed location will get you the period of the
> planet's ration to about a mSec with cheap equipment but to get
> absolute time you need to measure the aim point relative to the local
> meridian. That is not as easy. Star with a protrator and a plumb
> bob. That is what I used. But to refine that you need a good
> source of time and for the purpose of this exercise we don't have
> that. Only the plumb bob which means "a few seconds of error". maybe
> an precision level can do 10X better?
>> (obviously, you can trivially see the moon/sun)
>> The other scenario is where you get an inexpensive camera (webcam, or
>> perhaps some slightly better point and shoot) and build a precision
>> (so you DO have accurate knowledge of sensor orientation and position)
>> you, perhaps over time, do an insitu calibration?
>> I suppose any of these techniques is going to have issues with the
>> uncertainty in when the image is actually captured (e.g. there's
>> 10-100 ms you're not going to get away from).
>> time-nuts mailing list -- time-nuts at febo.com
>> To unsubscribe, go to
>> and follow the instructions there.
> Chris Albertson
> Redondo Beach, California
> time-nuts mailing list -- time-nuts at febo.com
> To unsubscribe, go to
> and follow the instructions there.
More information about the time-nuts