Hatfield student sets up sky camera

THE death throes of a mighty star could soon be captured on film, thanks to the efforts of one graduate from the University of Hertfordshire.

Astrophysicist David Campbell hopes the sky camera he set up at the university’s Bayfordbury Observatory will ultimately be able to photograph a supernova.

The camera, which was installed in October 2009, was the first in the UK capable of continuously monitoring the night sky.

One of its main aims is to detect clouds above the observatory so that researchers can gauge the best time to scan the sky.

Further cameras have been set up in Hemel Hempstead and on the Isle of Wight and another is currently being set up in Norfolk.

This will mean that, very soon, astronomers will be able to track incoming meteors, making it easier to recover meteorites.

David said: “The cameras give us a complete record of the sky, not just a compressed picture.

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“We could be filming a supernova before we know it.”

He added: “No one has surveyed the night sky over the UK like this before.”