I’ve been doing a lot a calculus, astronomy, and C++ in my college courses and I want to apply what I’ve learned. My idea is to put a laser on an arm controlled by stepper motors to point out and track things in the sky.
I plan to have 2 stepper motors. One controls the vertical angle of the laser, while the other would horizontally rotate a platform with the other stepper and the laser. This way two motors should be able to point in every direction.
To get it to point at and track celestial bodies I would need to preprogram their orbital parameters as well as Earth’s and the time/location of the laser on Earth.
To track something like the ISS I would need to update the orbital parameters every other day since it moves around so much (orbit decay, maneuvers and the like). I think stars should be the easiest thing to start with.
Parts I think I’ll need to prototype it:
2 steppers, any cheap stepper should do
A laser pointer
A clamp to hold the laser, platform. I can print these at the local makerspace.
And finally, lots of good math and code
For the final version:
Digital compass, so it knows what way it’s pointed.
A display to say what’s being pointed at and some fun facts about that thing
Buttons to enter my location and select an object to point at
A mosfet to switch the laser on/off
Is this feasible? If so, any advice for accomplishing this? Have you seen any projects like this? It’d be nice to have something to go off.