An all-sky camera is a camera with a fish-eye lens that stares at the sky 24 hours a day. Why? Because getting up off the couch and walking outside to see what the sky looks like is WAY too much effort!
Actually, there are several reasons many observatories have all-sky cameras. One is to be able to see what the sky looks like to determine if observing is possible - but not due to laziness. When walking outside to look at the sky, your eyes take up to 30 minutes to become fully dark-adapted, which makes it hard to see things like wispy clouds that will interfere with observing or astrophotography. An all-sky camera is very sensitive and can see those clouds at any time.
You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself.
It seems like every activity has a gaol, every journey a destination. And I will certainly admit to being very goal-oriented in most of what I do. But astronomy is a bit unique in that it has two very different faces. The goal driven, technically challenging activity of astrophotography, and the absorbing transcendency of gazing into the heavens with your own eyes and mind. The observatory plays a key role in each.
Because peering deeply into a dark night sky is awe inspiring, humbling, and moving. This site is about appreciating our place in the universe, understanding our relationship to it, and learning how to use the meager tools at our disposal to discern its secrets. It is firmly grounded in the scientific disciplines, with a sprinkling of philosophy and an occasional whimsicle nod to the metaphysical. I hope you enjoy it!