Diffraction Limited's new Boltwood Portable Cloud Sensor ($350) enables you to sleep when conditions are astronomically poor, and then alerts you with an alarm when the skies clear. It's ideal for star parties and other dark-sky excursions. Each Cloud Sensor comes with a 5-by-1½-inch sensor head and control box, and batteries to power the unit for approximately 100 hours. The device works by comparing the temperature of the sky (based on the mid-infrared radiation it emits) and the ambient temperature at ground level — large differences indicate clear skies. The sensor will also alert you to deteriorating conditions, and a built-in daylight sensor can be set to sound off at twilight. You can also disable the alarm if you'd rather sleep in.
25 Conover St.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K2G 4C3
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