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iTelescope.Net is the world’s premier network of Internet connected telescopes, allowing members to take astronomical images of the night sky for the purposes of education, scientific research and astrophotography. (more)

iTelescope.Net is a self-funding, not for profit membership organisation; we exist to benefit our members and the astronomy community. Financial proceeds fund the expansion and growth of the network. iTelescope.Net is run by astronomers for astronomers.

The network is open to the public; anyone can join and become a member including students, amateurs and even professional astronomers.

With 13 telescopes, and observatories located in New Mexico, Australia and Spain, observers are able to follow the night sky around the globe 24x7.

iTelescope.Net puts professional telescopes within the reach of all, with systems ranging from single shot colour telescopes to half metre (20”) research grade telescopes.

Astronomy Research

Having access to professional telescopes means that doing real science has never been easier – great value for schools, educators, universities, amateur and professional astronomers. (more)

Exo-planets, comets, supernova, quasars, asteroids, binary stars, minor planets, near earth objects and variable stars can all be studied. iTelescope.Net can also send your data directly to AAVSO VPhot server for real-time online photometric analysis.

iTelescope.Net allows you to respond quickly to real-time astronomical phenomena such as supernova and outbursts events, gaining a competitive edge for discoveries. With more than 240 asteroid discoveries iTelescope.Net is ranked within the top 50 observatories in the world by the Minor Planet Center.

Get involved: members have used the network to provide supportive data for go/no-go decisions on Hubble space telescope missions.

Education and Astronomy Schools

With science and numeracy at the forefront of the education revolution, iTelescope.Net provides the tools, along with research and education grants, to support the development of astronomy or science based curriculums in schools. Contact iTelescope.Net about a grant for your school or research project. (more)

Professional observatories use iTelescope.Net to supplement current research projects. The network provides alternate observatory sites in both southern and northern hemispheres and is a good way to continue research when seasonal poor weather hits your observatory.

Astrophotography

Take stunning images of the night sky, galaxies, comets and nebula. Have access to the best equipment from the comfort of your computer and without the huge financial and time commitments. (more)

The network has everything from beginner telescopes with single shot colour CCDs to large format CCDs with Ha, SII and OII and LRGB filter sets. Check out the member image gallery – the results speak for themselves.

Depending on your own image processing skills, you can even land yourself a NASA APOD.

How?

All you need is a web browser and an Internet connection; iTelescope.Net takes care of the rest. Our web-based launchpad application provides the real-time status of each telescope on the network as well as a host of other information such as a day-night map, observatory all-sky cameras and weather details. (more)

From the launchpad you can login to any available telescope, and once connected, you’re in command. Watch in real time as the telescope slews, focuses and images your target.

The image files (in FITS format) are then transmitted to a high-speed server ready for your download. All image data taken is your data – iTelescope.Net doesn’t hold any intellectual property rights.

Reserve and schedule observing plans in advance, even have them run while you are away from iTelescope.Net and have the image data waiting for you ready for download.

New and Starting Out?

A number of telescopes are fitted with colour cameras; these systems have been designed for ease of use. It’s as simple as selecting an astronomical target from the menu, watching the telescope image your target, and have the resulting image sent to your email address as a jpeg attachment. (more)

The image file is also sent to our high-speed server and can be downloaded in its raw image format, for post image processing if you want more of a challenge.

Already a Pro?

iTelescope.Net offers a large range of telescopes, fields of view and image scales, and NABG and ABG CCD camera combinations. Select from a large range of filters including narrowband, LRGB and UBVRI, as well as control pointing, filter selection, focusing, exposure times, image counts, repeat loops etc. All data is offered in its raw FITS format calibrated and non-calibrated.

Support and Service

With remote astronomy observing plans can be interrupted from time to time, by clouds, wind gusts and even a rare equipment failure.

iTelescope.Net has you fully covered with our satisfaction guarantee; we will return your points if you are unsatisfied with your results. Help is just a click away. (more)

A dedicated team of professionals are working around the clock to keep the network operating. This includes local ground crews at each observatory, sophisticated monitoring systems and remote observatory administrators monitoring the quality of data coming off the network.

Our dedicated support website allows members to seek answers to frequently asked questions. Formal support can be requested by lodging a support ticket, which can be viewed, tracked and managed through to completion. Go to http://support.itelescope.net or simply email support@itelescope.net.

Our contact details are also available. You can phone or Skype us if you want to speak to a person directly; you can also contact us via Skype instant message, email and fax.

How much does this cost?

Rates vary based on your membership plan and the phase of the moon. Rates start as low as 17 to 100+ points per imaging hour, which is billed per minute of imaging time used; typically one point equals $1. Make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter for special offers. Please visit our pricing page for more information on telescope operating rates. (more)

Each telescope has its imaging hourly rate displayed in real time in the launchpad before you login. At the end of each session you are also sent a detailed usage receipt which includes the costs, weather data, preview jpeg images and your observing session log file.

Membership Plans

We have a range of plans catering for everyone from the amateur to the professional astronomer. Each plan provides unrestricted access to each telescope and includes the plan’s dollar value in points, which is credited to your account each time the membership renews. (more)

Membership plans set the usage rates for each telescope on the network, expressed in points per operating hour. The entry level plans provide maximum flexibility on our single shot colour systems, and the heavy usage plans focus more on the large research grade systems. Memberships start from $19.95 and range to $999.95 per 28 day period.

Additional points can be purchased at any time to supplement your account balance.

Hosting and Affiliates

iTelescope.Net offers a range of telescope hosting solutions to members with special projects, allowing you to host your own telescope at any one of our three observatory locations. Conditions and approvals apply. Contact us for more information.(more)

Affiliate membership allows you to connect your own telescope to iTelescope.Net with reasonable rates of return. Limited availability exists and is subject to telescope network balance.

Please contact us for more information.


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iTelescope News & Updates 


Friday
Oct312014

Back to the Beginning of Time

The four most distant galaxies ever imaged with an amateur telescope

Amateur astronomers and iTelescope members Josep Drudis and Christian Sasse have just imaged the four most distant objects ever seen with an amateur sized, off the shelf telescope. These four galaxies emitted light when the universe was only 760 million years old, or 6% of its present age - it was very very long ago, in fact they are looking back over 13 billion years!

Why did they do it? It was a cool idea - previous records were obtained on distant quasars - very bright compact galaxies. Redshift is a measure of distance since the further away an object is, the more it is redshifted.

This also means that the light emitted from a very distant galaxy is no longer visible to most cameras, its light has simply passed too far into the 'dark' red portion of the spectrum and is thus difficult to detect.

Drudis and Sasse wanted to go beyond a redshift of 7, and it was difficult to find suitable objects. They searched for and found four very distant galaxies and used T17 with its special camera and 400mm (17 inch) CDK optics located under ideal clear and cool skies at iTelescope's remote observatory at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia for this purpose. This CCD telescope combination could 'see' more into the red bandwidth of light. 

T17 is a powerful amateur science platform. It is normally used for Science Missions, Deep Photometry, Narrowband and 'Extended Red' light IR imaging missions.
Clearly it was a challenging task for all involved, including dedicated ground staff. It takes many hours of careful aligning, testing and imaging required until the objects finally appeared. This result was somewhat unexpected and a pleasant surprise for all involved.
Below are images of the four galaxies. Drudis and Sasse are keen to continue and push the envelope of amateur imaging even further.

Sunday
Oct262014

Comet Siding Spring & Mars - iTelescope at your Service

On the night of January 3rd 2013 Rob McNaught, as he had done for thousands of nights before, was methodically searching the Australian sky above the Siding Spring Observatory (SSO). Using the Uppsala Southern Schmidt Telescope's CCD camera looking for undiscovered and potentially deadly pieces of rock and ice debris remaining from the formation of our solar system eons ago.

Rob's business card could realistically have included the description 'Guardian of the Earth'. It was his job to find and predict the paths of comets and asteroids potentially hazardous to all of us here on our little world.

H.Sato - T30That night he was carefully scanning the small constellation Lepus and he found something that appeared quite 'normal' to Rob. A faint (magnitude 18.5) and very distant object (1.08x109 Km). It was only a feeble smudge a few pixels across in his images, but it was a positive identification of yet another dark body moving towards the inner solar system in an orbital swing around our Sun.

Thus did Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) first come to the world's attention. iTelescope member H.Sato was involved in collecting some very early astrometric data using the T30 iTelescope also based at Siding Spring. His own confirmation data amongst the initial observations made by others suggested that the path of this particular little comet was extraordinary indeed. As C/2103 A1 swept towards the Sun it would pass ridiculously close to the planet Mars during October of 2014. So it justifiably garnered major attention from the astronomical community.

R.Ligustri - T32 SSOThe iTelescopes based at Siding Spring were in an ideal position to play a major role in the study and measurement of the comet over the next year and a half. Our members watched it closely with hundreds of images taken during its long million year journey towards Mars. It was dim and hardly spectacular to begin with, but this little comet was unique and important to planetary scientists the world over. It was from the the distant Oort Cloud and this was its first visit to the Sun. A pristine piece of the stuff from which our Solar system including Earth was formed.

So as October 2014 finally arrived many observers from around the world logged into the iTelescope SSO observatory via the internet and began their imaging missions. Some were experienced and others new to the art of astrophotography. The target was low to the west and only a narrow window of opportunity was open to gather as much quality data as possible. The images on this page are only a small sample of the images taken by our membership. Some took hundreds of images over many months as the comet approached.

Here we feature some of the finest images of the Comet's encounter with Mars. It should be pointed out that the huge contrast in brightness between the comet and the planet Mars made this target especially difficult to capture as most certainly the planet would be overexposed during the session. Many of these images were also picked up and distributed by several major TV networks and newspapers, NASA, ESA, National Geographic and Nature magazines. Two of our master imagers had their works selected by the NASA-APOD website. We thank those that contributed their work for this showcase...and thanks for the hard work Rob.

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Thursday
Oct232014

Ribbons, Dedications and Celebrations at iTelescope Siding Spring

During this year's amazing SSO 2014 Starfest & Open Day beginning 3rd of October, iTelescope.Net took the opportunity to invite its friends, contributors and many members to the mountain for two important ceremonies within our flagship observatory.

It was a glorious and sunny Australian weekend that included other important birthdays too. The Siding Spring Observatory complex itself had its 50th anniversary, the 4m AAT telescope celebrated the 40 years since its first light and the ANU 2.3m telescope has now been operating for 30 productive years as well.

We at iTelescope also had plenty to celebrate and dedicate on the weekend. A wonderful turnout of guests gathered within the largest roll off roof observatory in the world for two important events. Fine champagne and food was enjoyed as we took the opportunity to officially open the iTelescope SSO facility and also dedicate the largest iTelescope system to three important female astronomers.  Dame Jocelyn Bell BurnellAnnie Jump Cannon and Henrietta Swan Leavitt. Hence, this new instrument has been named 'The BCL T27 Telescope'.

iTelescope kicked the weekend off with a great LIVE webcast featuring iTelescope's own Peter Lake with special guests Dr Pamela Gay, Dr Amanda Bauer and affiliate Neil Shaw. Its well worth watching as our guests discuss the BCL telescope and the role SSO plays in astronomy today.

Friday also saw the iTelescope Observatory quickly fill with guests from far and wide for its two dedications. The SSO iTelescope facility, as mentioned by Managing Director Brad Moore in his welcome address, was due to be officially opened in January 2013, but the tragic and horrible fire storm that swept through the surrounding national park and threatened the observatory itself put those plans on hold. It was thought best to postpone the opening until the whole SSO site was celebrating its 50th anniversary open day. Mr Moore thanked all those involved with the financing, construction and operation of the facility as well as our many friends on the mountain from the Australian National University's Facilities & Services division, its world renown Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics and also the incredible Australian Astronomical Observatory all of which have been so generous in their support. Brad also thanked our iTelescope membership, that the observatory was built for them and indeed would not exist without them.

Neil Shaw, iTelescope affiliate and donor of the Planewave CDK700 27" telescope then invited our guests to speak to an excited gathering regarding their thoughts and feelings before the cutting of ribbons began. 

Dr Pamela Gay (SIUE), our very special guest from across the pond then gave a wonderful talk on the role of the three female astronomers the telescope was dedicated to before she skillfully cut the large red ribbon that officially declared the BCL T27 iTelescope ready to give our thousands of members access to the largest publicly available online telescope in the world.

Dr Amanda Bauer (AAO) an Australian Super Science Fellow was also a delight as she gleefully cut yet another red ribbon draped across the observatory entrance and declared the iTelescope SSO Observatory open for Remote Astronomy! Amanda is a driving force in Australian and international astronomy and is the outreach officer for the Australian Astronomical Observatory  See Video Here

We once again wish to sincerely thank Pamela, Amanda and Neil for giving us their time and being so generous in their words on the day when iTelescope officially presented its SSO observatory and this fabulous telescope to all those that have a hunger to image and investigate the skies of the southern hemisphere above Siding Spring.