more information as plans develop over the
coming two years, but the takeaway mes-
sage is that ANTARES feeds should be avail-
able to the Gemini community once LSST is
One of the benefits of observing at a tele-
scope site is that, in the case of iffy weather,
one can “pop outside the dome” and quickly
(dark adaptation allowing) see what the sky
is doing. So when Gemini relocated astrono-
mers from the summit to base facility opera-
tions (at the end of 2015 at Gemini North;
end of 2016 at Gemini South) we were keen
to ensure that our observers would be able
to gauge the sky.
For some years, the Canada-France-Hawai‘i
telescope has been operating “cloudcams”
— small and sensitive commercial cameras
capable of long exposures — to provide cur-
rent time-lapse photography of parts of the
sky over Maunakea.
The timelapse videos from these cameras
quickly became popular among staff on the
mountain and the public alike. After a com-
parative study of as many alternatives as
we could manage, we decided to adopt the
same technology for Gemini’s Base Facility
Operations project. With a view to maximize
coverage, we set up five cameras: one points
up, three face a cardinal direction (covering
north, west, and south) and one points to-
wards Hilo (rather than due east, to better
pick up approaching fog which often comes
upon us from that direction).
These cameras are in use every night when
we are open for observing, and provide ob-
servers with the information they need. In
addition, they also catch many interesting
phenomena — natural and otherwise —
and we fairly frequently receive requests for
images when there has been, for example,
extreme weather. Recently, fstoppers.com
— a news site for photographers — ran an
article with the byline “This May Be the Most
Awesome Camera on the Internet”!
You can access the most recent 30 minutes
of the cloud cams here.
And the f/stoppers article is linked here (at
the time of writing).
All-night videos from the different cloud-
cams are posted here.
Finally, for a view of the southern sky from
Gemini South, check the all-night archive