Webcam system

Webcam system – Skyview


The Polish partner (Center for Theoretical Physics; Polish Academy of Sciences) has designed a low cost Webcam system which allows classrooms to perform themselves night observations. A complete software manual is available, together with pedagogical tools for studying the Sun, the Moon, planets, Deep Sky objects and the variability of the brightest stars.

In the framework of the EU-HOU project, 20 Webcam systems will be provided to each partner country, for the pilot secondary schools.
If you have questions about the SkyView sytem, please contact us at .


The simplest setup consists of a webcam attached to a M42 lense through a special adaptive thread, which can be mounted on a standard photographic tripod with an universal head. 
  Using other thread, webcam can be attached to an amateur telescope in order to register, with help of webcam CCD sensor, astronomical observations on a computer... 
Lodz observatory - webcam 1 Lodz observatory - webcam 1 Lodz observatory - webcam 1 Lodz observatory - webcam 1

 ...providing your school with a real, digital astronomical observatory!

Lodz obervatory - full view
  (images courtesy Ary Sternfeld Planetarium, Łódź, Poland)

See also a slide show about basic applications of the Webcam System and read information below for more details!

USB-LPT converter

In order to circumvent problem that modern laptops do not have LPT ports, necessary to control long exposure webcams, we have manufactured special USB-LPT converter (standard converters don't do the job) and the new version of SalsaJ . Together, they allow to control webcam through 2 USB ports. See pdf installation instruction for more details. 

 usb-lpt converter  usb-lpt converter


 usb-lpt converter - connection schema


 Schools interested in this technology and participating in the project should contact national coordinators, others are invited to contact the Astrokrak internet store at

     For beginners...

  • Webcam, a new tool for teaching astronomy
    (Waldemar Ogloza, Pedagogical University, Cracow, Poland)

    Webcam as a new, powerful tool of teaching astronomy. Overview of many interesting celestial objects as well as simple setup with photo lenses or a small amateur telescope. Many suggestions for analysis of self-gathered images in the classroom.

    Webcam, a new tool for teaching astronomy (pdf, 2.5 MB)
    Webcam, a new tool for teaching astronomy (zipped PowerPoint presentation, 6 MB)

  • Getting started with webcam observations
    (Tomasz Skowron, High School No 13, Szczecin, Poland)

    First-hand account of teacher who has built webcam school observatory without any previous experience. You may contact TRA Tomasz Skowron in matters concerning observatory in your school.

    Getting started with webcam observations (pdf, 0.2 MB)

  • CCD observatory in school Guide for students, teachers and parents
    (A. Tretowska, L. Nowotko, T. Sowinski, W. Sliwa, G. Wrochna and P. Fita, Poland)

    Read, how to build in your school a simple astronomical CCD observatory with a webcamera! Extensive description of hardware and software needed. Easy guide how to make your first own observations!

    CCD observatory in school Guide for students, teachers and parents (pdf, 1.6 MB)

  • Operating webcam under SalsaJ software -  User Manual
    (Arek Kalicki, Warsaw Technical University, Warsaw, Poland)

    User Manual describing how to use the EU-HOU software SalsaJ to operate your webcam. Camera Settings, Advanced Settings, Normal and Long exposure modes, Movie and Single Image acquisition, Camera amplifier control, Batch mode (taking series of images in predefined intervals).

    Webcam Plugin  User Manual (pdf, 0.55 MB)

  • Amateur observations
    (Grzegorz Wrochna, Soltan Institiute for Nuclear Studies)

    Internet TV program about how to build a small astronomical observatory using webcam and an amateur telescope or a photo lense. This program was recorded more than a year ago. Now, we recommend the latest version of SalsaJ as the basic software for CCD school observatory.

    Amateur observations (ram, Real Player or similar software required)

  • Jupiter and Its Moons - primer in digital image processing
    (Witold Polesiuk, School Complex No 1, Walbrzych, Poland)

    Learn basics of image processing and discover the moons of Jupiter!
    A simple exercise how to process film taken with a webcamera and enhance image quality to see the Galilean Jupiter moons. You can download a film in the AVI format with sample observations and try image processing algorithms by yourself.

    Jupiter and Its Moons (pdf, 226.3 KB)  with the AVI file  jowisz.avi (90 MB)

     Other ideas how to use webcam...

     Advanced level...

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Last update: 2006.02.02