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A Raspberry Pi operated Wireless Allsky Camera

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Allsky Camera Release 0.8.1 Donate

This is the source code for the Allsky Camera project described on Instructables.


In order to get the camera working properly you will need the following hardware:

  • A camera (Raspberry Pi HQ or ZWO ASI)
  • A Raspberry Pi (2, 3, 4 or Zero)

NOTE: Owners of USB2.0 cameras such as ASI120MC and ASI120MM may need to do a firmware upgrade. This changes the camera to use 512 byte packets instead of 1024 which makes it more compatible with most hardware.

NOTE: The T7 / T7C cameras, e.g., from Datyson or other sellers, are not officially supported but persistent users may get them to work by following these instructions.

Software Installation

PatriotAstro created a video describing the installation steps below. Feel free to check it out. Another video covers the installation on a Raspberry Pi zero with both ZWO and RPiHQ cameras.

You will need to install the Raspbian Operating System on your Raspberry Pi. Follow this link for information on how to do it.

Make sure you have a working internet connection by setting it through the terminal.

  1. Start by installing git if not already there. Open the terminal and type the following:

    sudo apt-get install git
  2. Now fetch the code from this GitHub page:

    git clone --recursive
  3. Then navigate to the allsky directory:

    cd allsky
  4. Now, run the install script:

    ./  # PatriotAstro's video shows using "sudo"; that is no longer needed

NOTE: Version 0.8 added many new settings and changed the name of several existing settings. For example, there are now separate brightness levels for daytime and nighttime, called "daybrightness" and "nightbrightness". Version 0.7 only had "brightness" that applied to both day and nighttime. It's very important that you save a copy of your current settings prior to upgrading to version 0.8 so you can restore them properly. The WebUI from the

package uses these new settings so it's also important to update AllSky prior to updating the WebUI.

Also note that in version 0.8, the default image file created and uploaded is called either "image.jpg" or "liveview-image.jpg", depending on how you set things up. The prior "image-resize.jpg" is no longer created. Keep that in mind if you copy the image to a remote web server - it will need to know about the new name.

Some users have reported ASIERRORTIMEOUT errors with their ZWO cameras in verion 0.8. Click here to troubleshoot.


There are many configuration variables that need to be set as well as many optional ones. Please see the allsky Settings page for a list of them.



The AllSky software should start automatically when the Raspberry Pi boots up. To enable or disable this behavior, use these commands:

sudo systemctl enable allsky.service     # starts the software when the Pi boots up
sudo systemctl disable allsky.service    # does NOT automatically start the software

When you want to start, stop, or restart the software, or obtain status, use one of the following commands:

sudo systemctl start allsky
sudo systemctl stop allsky
sudo systemctl restart allsky
sudo systemctl status allsky

Manual Start

Starting the program from the terminal can be a great way to track down issues as it provides debug information. To start the program manually, make sure the service is stopped (see above), then run:

cd allsky

If you are using a desktop environment (Pixel, Mate, LXDE, etc) or using remote desktop or VNC, you can add the

argument in order to show the images the program is currently saving.
./ preview

Updating the software

See this Wiki page for instructions on how to update the AllSky software.

Web User Interface (WebUI)

If you don't want to configure the camera using the terminal, you can install the WebUI. Please note that this will change your hostname to allsky (or whatever you called it when installing), install the lighttpd web server, and replace your

directory. It will also move
. Using the WebUI is highly recommended as it provides additional information on each setting and allows error checking behind the scenes.
sudo gui/

It will prompt you for a new name of your Pi (default is 'allsky').

After you complete the WebUI setup, you'll be able to administer the camera using the WebUI by navigating to


Note: If you changed the name of your Pi (to 'piname', for example, instead of the default 'allsky') during the WebUI install then use this:


The default username is admin and the default password is secret. If this website is publically viewable you should change those settings.

A public page is also available in order to view the current image without having to log into the portal and without being able to do any administrative tasks. This can be useful for people who don't have a personal website but still want to share a view of their sky:


Make sure this page is publically viewable. If it is behind a firewall consult the documentation for your network equipment for information on allowing inbound connections.

Note: The WebUI setup uses

for the camera settings. If, for some reason, you prefer to go back to the non-WebUI version, make sure to edit your
file to have

Dark frame subtraction

The dark frame subtraction feature removes hot pixels from night sky images. The concept is the following: Take an image with a cover on your camera lens and let the software subtract that image later from all images taken throughout the night.

See this Wiki page on dark frames for instructions on how to use them.


By default, a timelapse video is generated at the end of nighttime from all of the images captured in the last 24 hours.

To disable timelapse, open

and set

Example to generate a timelapse manually:

./scripts/ -t 20210710

Note: If you are unable to create a timelapse, see this Wiki page on troubshooting timelapse issues.


A Keogram is an image giving a quick view of the night activity. It was originally invented to study the aurora borealis. For each nighttime image a central vertical column 1 pixel wide is extracted. All these columns are then stitched together from left to right. This results in a timeline that reads from dusk to dawn.

See the Keogram Wiki page for more details.


Startrails are generated by stacking all the images from a night on top of each other.

To disable startrails, open

and set

See the Startrails Wiki page for more details.

Automatic deletion of old data

You can specify how many days worth of images to keep in order to keep the Raspberry Pi SD card from filling up. Automatic deletion is enabled by default and will keep 2 weeks of data on the card.

Set to "false" to keep all nights (requires manual management of SD card free space).

NOTE: "NIGHTSTOKEEP" should really be "DAYSTOKEEP" since it will keep that many 24-hour days of data, not just the nighttime data.

Logging issues

When using the allsky service, issues are written to a log file. In case the program stopped, crashed, or behaved in an abnormal way, take a look at this log file:

tail /var/log/allsky.log

Allsky Website

You can display your files on a website, either on the Pi itself or on another machine.

On the Pi

If you want to host the website on your Raspberry Pi, run the following command. Note that this requires first installing the WebUI.


And set these variabled in

On a different machine

If you want to host the website on a different machine, like in this example, download the source files from this repository:

Website settings

Once you've installed the website, either on your Pi or another machine, look at the descriptions of the settings on the allsky-website Settings page.

Information for advanced users

Optional additional processing steps

Experienced users may want to add some additional processing steps at the end of nighttime. To do so, copy

and then add your additional processing steps which will be run after the usual end-of-night processing, but before the deletion of any old image files.

Edit this file via the "Editor" link on the left side of the WebUI page.

Compile your own version

If you want to modify a compiled file, edit the corresponding

file and run the following command from the
make all
sudo make install
This will compile the new code, create a new binary, and copy it to the top level

Share your sky

If you've built an allsky camera, please send me a message and I'll add you to the map.

Release notes

  • version 0.7: Added Raspberry Pi camera HQ support (Based on Rob Musquetier's fork)
    • Support for x86 architecture (Ubuntu, etc)
    • Temperature dependant dark frame library
    • Browser based script editor
    • Configuration variables to crop black area around image
    • Timelapse frame rate setting
    • Changed font size default value
  • version 0.8: Workaround for ZWO daytime autoexposure bug.
    • Improved exposure transitions between day and night so there's not a huge change in brightness.
    • Decrease in ZWO sensor temperature.
    • Lots of new settings, including splitting some settings into day and night versions.
    • Error checking and associated log messages added in many places to aid in debugging.
    • Ability to have "notification" images displayed, such as "Allsky is starting up" and "Taking dark frames".
    • Ability to resize uploaded images to a user-specified size.
    • Ability to set thumbnail size.
    • Ability to delete bad images (corrupt and too light/dark).
    • Ability to set an image file name prefix.
    • Ability to reset USB bus if ZWO camera isn't found (requires "uhubctl" command to be installed).
    • Ability to specify format of time displayed on image and temperature displayed in Celcius, Fahrenheit, or both.
    • Ability to set bitrate on timelapse video.
  • version 0.8.1: Rearranged directory structure.
    • Created a Wiki with additional documentation and troubleshooting tips.
    • Renamed several variables in
    • CAMERA type of "auto" is no longer supported - you must specify "ZWO" or "RPiHQ".
    • Startrails and keograms are now created using all CPUs on the Pi, drastically speeding up creation time.
    • Installing the WebUI now preserves any website files (keograms, startrails, etc.) you have. This allows for non-destructive updates of the WebUI.
    • New script called
      centralizes all the upload code from other scripts, and can be used to debug uploading issues. See this Wiki page for more information.
    • The RPiHQ camera does much better auto-exposure if you set the
    • The WebUI will now show the Pi's throttle and low-voltage states, which is useful for debugging.
    • Darks work better.
    • Many bug fixes, error checks, and warnings added.


If you found this project useful, here's a link to send me a cup of coffee :)

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