NCR Observatory

A custom Raspberry Pi mini observatory I made for a family member to easily observe the night sky.

The stars are highly visible at one of my family member's houses so I made a mini observatory using a Raspberry Pi and a camera module.

Design Overview

Physical Assembly

The Raspberry Pi and camera are enclosed in a weatherproof box, with a dome protecting the camera module.

Cron jobs

A cron job that runs every minute captures an image of the sky and removes any images or videos deemed too old.

The shutter opening duration is calculated using an equation derived from a quadratic regression analysis, based on historical sunrise and sunset times.

Another cron job runs once per hour and creates a video at 60fps from the last 24 hours of accumulated images.


Images are retained for 24 hours. Videos from the past 24 hours are kept, and beyond that, one video per day is saved. Videos older than a year are deleted.


A resilient Python web server, functioning as a Linux service, hosts the main webpage. This simple page provides links to the available videos that haven't been removed by the garbage collection process described above.