I have a hobby of heliographing (sending messages using reflected sunlight), and have a working setup that requires a human to adjust a mirror to follow the sun, interrupt the beam of reflected sunlight to send, and most critically to detect flashes on the horizon to receive.
I am planning to automate the process. Tracking the sun, and interrupting the reflection are pretty straight forward and shouldn't require a processor, but I'm at a loss about detecting a reflection on the horizon.
My best guess so far is using a digital image and looking for bright spots, but that gets me into the realm of image processing and that sounds like a very big time sink.
Problem: I need to detect a bright reflection far away. The input is a bright point source in a smallish visual area. The output can be any other signal the correlates to the input on tens of millisecond scales.
Does there exist a device or technique to get this done?