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All sky imager

United States Patent Application

View the Complete Application at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Commercialization Program Website
Disclosed is an All Sky Imager which uses a camera capable of capturing color images of cloud cover that is housed in an environmentally protected enclosure to protect it from weather elements. To obtain a good hemispherical view of the sky, the fish-eye lens is attached to the camera to provide a 360-degree, horizon-to-horizon view. The All Sky Imager is mounted on a solar tracker so that the image of the sun is blocked by one of the solar tracker's obscuration balls. This in effect places a shadow over the lens of the camera allowing the color capture of sky images, particularly cloud cover, without the danger of damaging the camera. As the earth rotates, the obscuration ball of the solar tracker keeps the camera obscured from the sun. This provides continuous images of sky cloud cover from sunrise to sunset. The invention also includes an embodiment using an infrared camera that allows for nighttime cloud imaging.
Widener, Kevin B. (West Richland, WA), Long, Charles N. (Kennewick, WA)
10/ 377,042
February 28, 2003
[0001] The invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC0676RLO 1830, awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.