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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 20 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 700mm (27”) 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.

Sky Tours Live Streams

We offer a variety of ways to view the night sky, including our entry level Sky Tours Live Streams. These weekly streams, hosted by Dr. Christian Sasse, are a great way to get started with Remote Astronomy, allowing you to see our telescopes in action and learn about the Night Sky from a professional Astronomer.

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 three of our four 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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Astrophotography & iTelescope.net 

Let's face it, premium CCD imaging platforms are not cheap and produce the best results by far. The good news is these systems are no longer out of reach to most of us.

Save yourself tens of thousands of dollars by sharing a network of remote, internet controlled telescopes. Image on our variety of online research grade telescopes. Located under dark and clean skies, iTelescope will enable you to produce images like a professional.

You fully control the telescopes with total ownership of data and the freedom to choose your own targets at any time for your personal astronomy goals.

All of the iTelescope.net systems are highly tuned and maintained to give you a professional and painless imaging experience. Then you can work your own magic on the raw data to produce that masterpiece or confirm that discovery!

 

All it takes is a web browser to bring the observatory directly to your desktop.

After becoming a member you can choose from many different telescopes located around the world located in three different time zones, our systems are located in both northern and southern hemispheres. North America (New Mexico Skies), Spain (AstroCamp) and from our Siding Spring Observatory in Australia.

We are the first in the world to offer this 24 hour remote control telescope imaging service to the amateur and professional astronomer!

This service is simple to use and easily caters from novice to advanced users. You simply select your target. The telescopes do all the centering and focusing in real time, then take your selected series of exposures. Your FITS images are then transferred to our high speed FTP server for downloading.

You have all the tools you will need. Skycams, weather charts and advanced automated robotic software.

For the novice or serious user we provide ways for you to find help at any time. Dedicated Support tickets, Skype, Email or even just pick up a phone.  We can put you in touch with one of our helpful professional staff, who can then provide assistance and have you remote telescope driving like a professional.

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Customer Testimonials

(See our Members in Focus section for more)

 

A Long time coming

By Peter George (Australia)

 It's been a long quarter of a century, or so… In the 1960's I grew up in Australia with the gleaming white domes of Mt Stromlo Observatory within the view from my bedroom window.  I wanted to be an astronomer. When later I started pointing my first small backyard telescope at the sky it was a matter of twisting and pushing in an effort to find and follow all those amazing objects of interest to a teenager with stars in his eyes. A star atlas came in handy too.

Lots of 'averted imagination' was called in for as I battled the Canberra cold, fatigue and local light pollution in an attempt to see those gems I had read about in astronomy books from the school library. Still, it was enthralling and addictive.

As my age and competence slowly increased I found myself wondering if there was a better way. The newly released 'Personal Computer' was an expensive elitist toy that seemed to cry out for an application that melded both my passion for astronomy with the fun and potential of the computer.

Alas only the world's major telescope observatories such as Mt Stromlo to my north, seemed to have the ability to match these devices. They provided ease and functionality to the astronomy pro of the automated point, track and shoot methodology. All with the pushing of a few buttons and the display of progress on flickering banks of B&W monitor screens.

I dreamed of my own 'Telescope Control Room'. Complete with a 'Cold Camera', which would allow me to capture those faint fuzzies and dim dodgers up there in the great southern skies. Many of today's younger generation of telescope users probably would not even know what a cold camera was!

 Time passed, much film was wound on, a few telescopes came and went, life became more complex and obligations drew me away from my love of astronomy and nailed me solidly to the work a day Earth. But I still glanced upwards at night whilst driving to work or admired a bright planet as it coursed over my weary head on clear and inspiring summer's evening. It was an ongoing nagging habit.

Then a friend and member of our local astronomy club told me about 'Global Rent-a-Scope'. He saw the puzzled expression on my face and we spent the next hour discussing remotely controlled telescopes and what this meant to city bound and cloud cursed astronomers on a budget. I was impressed and we both agreed to look into it together 'one day'.

Well indeed that 'one day' arrived for me late one night, when a  phone call invited me to test drive the iTelescope-008 12.5" RCOS remote telescope before it went online to the public. The telescope was many many miles from my home but I did not need to be asked twice! It did'nt matter!

 I logged into the remote observatory computer via my Internet browser and found myself slewing to M20 within minutes! The remote telescope slewed to my target, focused, picked a guide star and then awaited my next command. I ordered a 300 second Clear exposure and nervously hit the Acquire Image button. I waited as the system status display took me back to my childhood dream of that "Telescope Control Room" of my own. I was smiling a lot.

Soon a preview image was on my screen. It simply amazed me! There it was, the glorious Trifid Nebula on my screen, and you know what? It felt great. It was my best ever image and it was still just a monochrome picture. I had the color data still to come later that night. I couldn't help looking out my window to towards the dark peak of Mt Stromlo and shook my head a little in wonder. 

 I spent 2 hours gathering light that night from the comfort of my home, keeping a close eye on the B&W previews as they flicked onto my monitor and eagerly looked forward to downloading those RGB frames that would be the real test of my skills later. It was fun. I didn't have to battle with my own modest mount, optics and heavy urban light pollution. And though I love my own telescope its nothing like the equipment that was at my command at the other end of this remote connection. I felt like a pro!

Here was the synergy I had awaited all my astronomical life! A computer, the Internet, a first class telescope a huge CCD camera, and any imaging target at a whim. It was wonderful. And the final image? It made me very happy indeed.

Using the remote telescope network provided by iTelescope.Net has allowed me to use research grade telescopes without the huge costs involved in getting my own hardware, which would most likely spend most of its time sitting under Canberra clouds anyway!

My own telescope is a Meade 8" SCT and I love it. Its just fine for the odd night out with the family and friends, but my other scope is a iTelescope.NetThanks guys, thank you very much indeed!

Peter George
Canberra, Australia


Carl Tubbs - USA

This fall brings dead leaves, raking, crisp evenings and more clear skies, and amongst the fall chores I was curious to see how my little home mount stacked up ( no pun intended) against the bigger guns at GRAS.

I therefore performed a very non-randomized high end non-funded pseudoscientific prospective trial to see how my M706 with ST-2000 and Losmandy G11 mount would compare to the iTelescope T11, a 20 inch Planewave CDK with FLI camera in New Mexico.

Obviously, I could not blind myself as to processing the images, because they were certainly very different to begin with, and wearing a blindfold while processing just did not seem to work out very well either. But in the end I was pretty curious to see just what some of the differences were in using iTelescope.Net as compared to my home system, and chose a dimmer than usual image as a stretch for the home equipment. IC 243, a spiral galaxy in Camelopardalis, seemed a reasonable target. It has a respectable size and internal detail with a surface brightness listed as 14.9 with a blue magnitude of 9.1, and is not something that one sees imaged routinely.

The home system has been tracking well after upgrading, and the Intes is a respectable flat field astrograph. With good balancing, alignment and guiding at home, I was able to collect a number of 900 and 600 second subs, and attempted to
use days when we had the best skies, (which at this time of year are "average" at best) and catch the object at a low air mass.
 
Logging in to T11 can sometime be a challenge, because it is quite a popular scope for science and photographic work. For iTelescope.Net imaging, I decided to use what I felt was best as far as binning and image time, to balance cost of equipment use with outcome. 
 
Below, you can see the two final images. They are at slightly different scales, but have been approximated as far as position, for easier comparison. Being only a moderately experienced processor, I did not bother to try to balance the color scale or brightness between the separate images, but did attempt to balance them in these sorts of ways as best I could, and used similar techniques to bring out contrast, sharpen, and to control noise.
 

Intes M706 and SBIG ST-2000 under suburban skies. 600 sec L and 900 sec RGB, Bin 2x2. LRGB 90:60:60:60 minutes. Fair central detail, good overall color, and some nice data in peripheral arms.

iTelescope T11. 600 Second subs, Bin 2x2. LRGB 140:90:90:90 minutes.

No Surprises. The initial things that struck me was the detail in the iTelescope.Net T11 image overall, with nice luminance detail in the low SN data in the periphery of the galaxy, and fairly strong color as well in those low SN areas. There even appears to be a soft arm of one spiral heading off into the lower left corner, almost touching a small galaxy at 7:00.

Processing the detail and sharpening in the higher SN ranges becomes much easier, and in this image, these could actually be toned down somewhat in order to better balance out the overall brightness- the core area is wonderfully bright.

It is interesting how well the human brain adapts to image quality and to colors- every time I look at the lower end resolution image, I am taken by how much I like the detail- unless I again look at the T11 image in comparison. The star colors in the T11 image are also brighter and crisper, despite enhancing this in the Intes image. Obviously, the Intes should have collected more photos to make a more exact comparison as far as image timing, but the overall decrease in noise in further doubling the Intes exposure times would not amount to all that much help. 

Well, iTelescope.Net is better, in this case, of course. If you can keep a secret, I was sort of expecting that to begin with. So why bother doing a comparison?

For me, such an exercise is motivational in attempting to tweak the home system to see if I can get a better image out of it next time.

I see things on my iTelescope.Net images that I want to go back and try to study in more detail with the smaller home system, and also use my home system to help select objects for high end quality images using iTelescope.Net.

It seems to be a nice marriage. And when I am too annoyed with the local weather or too tired to set up a home run, there's usually iTelescope.Net sky that’s clear and ready to use.

Of course, if you don't have a home telescope, you can remove yourself from those related uncertainties in data collection and get right to high end imaging!

Carl Tubbs - USA

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iTelescope:  The Answer to the "Imperfect" Storm

By Gordon Mandell. USA

 

I had been imaging the night sky with my own equipment in a home observatory located north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA for about 7 years prior to trying Global-Rent-A-Scope (GRAS, the predecessor of iTelescope).  I had the usual problems, limited clear nights, equipment issues, increasing light pollution in my suburban neighborhood and encroaching treetops obscuring my visible horizon.  The observatory was built on an extension of my backyard deck over the objections of a very understanding spouse and the acceptance of tolerant neighbors. 

 

It had reached the point where it was difficult to image anything but narrowband targets.  Then I tried iTelescope (then GRAS).  Using the iTelescope systems, I had the potential to image on most nights using equipment superior to my own, under ideal sky conditions, and with the ability to access targets in another hemisphere or those too close to my home horizon .  I have been a member of iTelescope for almost 3 years and have been very happy using the service to supplement my local, home imaging. I guess the reasons I like iTelescope are the same as those of most members; that was until the Fall of 2012.  That was when iTelescope became the answer to the "imperfect" storm.   It all started with a flash of lightning and a crack of thunder.  On that night my home observatory suffered a significant electrical strike.  Although it was probably not a direct hit, it was close enough to damage my Takahashi NJP mount circuit board, declination  encoder and right ascension motor.  And because the mount had recently been discontinued by Takahashi, the parts could not be replaced but had to be shipped to Japan for repairs.

 

   
In addition to the damage to the mount, my Starlight Xpress Lodestar guide camera was inoperative and had to go back to Great Britain for repair.  Because of the long estimated repair time required for the mount, I purchased an identical, used NJP mount on Astromart and used my Starlight Xpress SXVF-H9 ccd camera as a guide camera.  If you are ever told that lighting doesn't strike the same place twice; don't you believe it!  Six weeks after the first lightning strike, the observatory was hit again.  The second NJP mount was damaged just as before, as was the SXVF-H9 ccd camera.  This time the observatory computer and a heavy duty surge protector (added after the first lightning strike ) were also ruined.  I had no mount and no idea how long it would be for the repairs to be made.  Then another problem arose.  I was stricken by a cervical disk herniation that left me with intractable pain and arm weakness.  While recuperating I suddenly had an epiphany.  Why deal with all these problems when there is iTelescope?  Over the following months I slowly sold off most of my astronomical equipment including the observatory itself.  Happily, the sales generated enough cash to pay for a badly needed new deck (minus the observatory).  This brought harmony back to my marriage.  
Now I can sit on my new deck, enjoy the view of the trees that used to be a source of frustration, and image using my iPad.
My neck also appreciates not having to move all that heavy equipment around.  Thanks iTelescope, the answer to the "imperfect" storm.

 

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