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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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Friday
Oct152010

Norman Falla - Asteroid Hunter

Norman's Story of Discovery

I live in the outer suburbs of London, England and I recently retired from the PRA Coatings Technology Centre where I had spent nearly 40 years on work involving research, analysis and testing of paint and other surface coatings. My specialist field was analytical spectroscopy.


I have my own telescope (an Orion Optics 300 mm Newtonian) which I have used mainly for lunar and planetary imaging and in recent years my interest has broadened to include asteroid discovery. My problem was that the light pollution levels of suburban London made it difficult for me to reach the magnitude 19 levels at which most new discoveries are made.  

A breakthrough came when an internet search took me to this page on Andrew Lowe’s website in which he describes how he had overcome the problems of imaging from a large cold Canadian city by using the iTelescope.Net resource.

I emailed Andrew for further information and received what was to be the first of many helpful and informative responses to my queries. As a result of this I contacted its staff, and very shortly afterward found myself at the controls of an iTelescope.Net Takahashi Epsilon 250 mm hyperbolic flat field astrograph fitted with a SBIG ST8XE camera.

Even on my first day I began to appreciate the advantages of using professional grade equipment at a truly dark site. My home is about 120 feet above sea level and the Milky Way is rarely visible. The iTelescope I use is 7,300 feet up in the mountains of New Mexico at a site dark enough for the Milky Way to cast a shadow.


Left - Norman sharing intricate telescope mechanism with his grandson Alex

I found the telescope operation to be amazingly simple. All I had to log in and enter the RA and Dec coordinates and the required exposure time and then click on the “Acquire Image” button. Rock-steady tracking and crisp focussing all happened automatically and at the end of each exposure I could view the image obtained.

At the end of my observing session my images were sent to my personal file on the iTelescope server from where I could download them to my own computer. 

As I became more experienced in using the remote control  telescope, I realised the one great feature of the iTelescope facility is the real-time support that iTelescope can give you via Email or Skype. On the rare occasions when I had a problem the team would always be there to make the necessary adjustments to the system and get me back on track.

I began my search for new asteroids by first checking that I could detect and measure the positions of known ones. I used the Astrometrica software package to process my images and report the asteroid positions to the Minor Planet Center (MPC).  I am especially grateful to Gareth Williams, Associate Director of MPC, for his help and advice at this time.

During December 2008, while working to improve my measurement techniques, I noticed that my images included a moving object which did not appear to correspond with any known asteroid. Not daring to believe my luck, I reported the positions to MPC and received confirmation that it was new asteroid (designated 2008 YF31) and that I was the discoverer. 

I continued searching through January and February of 2009 without success but, just as I had begun to believe that my earlier discovery had been a fluke, I was rewarded by a second discovery in March and, unbelievably, three new ones in April all in the same field of view of the iTelescope remote telescope.

If you are interested in discovering asteroids then iTelescope is definitely the place to be but it is important to realise that this is not the only type of work carried out there. Some users specialise in discovering supernovae, while others produce stunning images of deep sky objects.

Finally if the object you want to observe lies below the New Mexico or European horizon this is not a problem, you just log on to the iTelescope site in Australia and you will find your object high in the sky. Too Easy!

Norman Falla