CATE’s Camera


A fundamental goal of our experiment is to capture a dust cloud’s reaction to an object passing through it. Micro-gravity interactions like this are vital to how physicists model the births of planets, the physics of ring systems, and much more.  A simple way to get this data from CATE is to catch all runs of the experiment on film. So the search for the perfect camera is underway, and everything is being taken into consideration.

camera graph

The deciding factors:

A multiple-camera comparison of qualities like field of view, HD shooting mode quality, high-speed shooting mode quality, lens distortion, price, and especially ease of use in microgravity, has narrowed the choice down from six action cameras to two: GoPro 3 Silver vs. Garmin VIRB. These competitors in the action camera market both seem to have what it takes to get the job done, but the GoPro 3 has the lead in the ease-of-use category thanks to its external USB card slot. Its high HD frame rate is a winner for data quality, but the Garmin VIRB is still in the running; it comes with free software for removing the signature “fish eye” effect that is found on most action cameras. The fish eye effect messes with video analysis, so being able to fix this without buying expensive software would be a big plus.*


*Decision coming soon.

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