At the invitation of the European Southern Observatory, I have completed a document on the "Scientific Requirements to a VLT Observing Conditions Monitor". The main purpose of the text is to promote the construction of an all-sky CCD camera, which will be able to measure cloudiness and sky-background in a quantitative fashion. Traditionally observers detect clouds by naked-eye observations, and they use quite some time, getting dark-adapted. We should now move towards instrumental detection of cloud cover. As more and more astronomy is conducted by 'remote control', such measurements are certain to become indispensable. With the large-scale CCDs now available, this would not represent any big undertaking.
The full text can be retrieved from this page on ESO SKY QUALITY .
1998 October 21
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