|Camera is in the lower left corner|
Constructing the enclosure was pretty straightforward- mostly because I didn't do it myself. Fortunately, one of other students was taking woodshop as an option course and he offered to build it. Construction was very simple. Its just a wooden base with a hole for the cables and another hole for the screw that holds the camera in place. The base sits on two wooden legs that allows the cable to pass underneath. Since the camera will be outside, all the wood has been weather proofed. The camera sits inside an acrylic dome I purchased from amazon for $15.99. The dome came with a plastic ring that provides an airtight seal once the dome is screwed on.
The camera is a ZWO 120MC colour camera. Its screwed onto the base plate with a 3" M10 screw. The USB cable passes through a small hole on the bottom of the base plate. The whole was sealed with a combination of steel wool and silicone. To combat dew forming on the inside of the dome we did some I considered pretty ingenious. The week that the camera was completed the temperature plunged to near -40 oC. Air that cold hardly holds an moisture so we took the camera outside and removed the dome. After a couple minutes we resealed everything with the -40 oC inside. So, with a little luck, there will be little to no dew on the inside of the dome at night.
With the camera complete, it was placed on the roof of Jasper Place. A 20" active repeater cable was used to connect the camera to a laptop computer that runs SharpCap and has Teamviewer installed. Using this software combination, anyone with the right password (which will really only be me!) could control the camera.
So far its been pretty cloudy here in Edmonton so we haven't really had any opportunities to take pictures of anything Astronomical in Nature. Once the clouds clear we'll hopefully be able to image meteor showers and Aurora (and maybe even a UFO!).
Since placing it on the roof I have noticed one problem that will need to be addressed. In the winter in Edmonton it gets pretty chilly and frost is a big problem. I though that the waste heat from the camera would be enough to keep the dome from frosting over but I was wrong. So I'm in the process of designing a rudimentary USB powered heater that will try and fight off the frost. And then its just a matter of waiting for some clear skies!