South Pole EarthDial Construction Details

The EarthDial itself is constructed out of plywood. The numbers and markings are traced over printouts from OpenOffice with a couple of grades of permanent marker. Alan Day constructed the mounting bracket out of a hunk of scrap aluminum.

The software is a combination of Free Software tools. The machine that processes the pictures from the camera is running RedHat Linux. It uses purpose-built Perl scripts that use gphoto2 to aquire the image and pull it from the camera; djpeg, pnmcut and cjpeg to crop the background from the image, stampy to add the text at the top and bottom of the image, and finally, ncftpput to move the image off-continent to the web server in the States.

The webcam itself is indoors, pointing out a window of the Martin A. Pomerantz Observatory (MAPO). MAPO is located in the "Dark Sector" at Pole, meaning that it's a region where radio use and stray lights are kept to a minimum to avoid interfering with the experiments.

The camera itself is literally taped in place to keep it from moving.

The EarthDial is located as close to the building as practical.

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Last modified: 02 March 2004
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