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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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Members in Focus

Astronomy by iTelescope.Net Members

As part of an iTelescope initiative we want to help put YOU our members in the spotlight!

If you really want the world to see and read about your own astronomical story and achievements, then lets us know! We will publish a short article about you and your adventures in astronomy! Write as much as you feel like, but we will also need a few images. Pictures of yourself doing astronomy and some of your favourite astroshots!

Send your story to Pete today!

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Saturday
Aug102013

A Scientist at Heart - John Strong

Who Am I?
I am a scientist at heart, with an undergraduate and graduate education in Chemical Engineering.  Coming out of university, I spent almost 20 years as an Engineering Manager at The Procter & Gamble Co. Yes, I made soap! While located near Cincinnati, Ohio, my job took me all over the world, including a two year stint in Brussels, Belgium.  When offered the opportunity for (very) early retirement a few years ago, I took the offer in order to focus more time on my family and my other interests.  As for family, I am married to my college sweetheart of 30+ years ago, and we have two children; a daughter studying MicroBiology in college at Denison University and a son finishing his last year in high school. As for interests, I enjoy reading, computer programming (Python), golf, and…of course…astronomy.

Why Astronomy?
As a child of the 1960’s and 70’s, I was of course caught up in the grand excitement of the Apollo, Skylab, and eventually Shuttle eras. One of my earliest memories was watching live as Neil Armstrong took that famous first step on the moon. Like many kids, I dreamed of being an astronaut, but – also like many kids – that dream morphed over time as life’s realities set in. Rather than going to space, I settled for looking at space through my early telescopes. My very first was a small Edmund Scientific refractor, painted bright red…what could be cooler! I enjoyed the views of the planets, the moon, and (after buying the proper filter) the sun. I graduated to a Meade ETX-90 and enjoyed the same views…only a little bigger and crisper thanks to the improved optics.  Then life again got in the way…job…travel…other priorities…and my telescope gathered dust in the basement.


When I left P&G, one of the first interests to be rekindled was astronomy. Thanks to a (very) generous birthday gift on one of those landmark years (I won’t say exactly which, but it rhymes with “nifty”), I received an Orion Mak-Cass 7” reflector…and more importantly…I finally got a decent GEM mount! Wow…talk about a leap into the space age! Even as a relative novice to the hobby, I was soon grabbing shots of Saturn showing ring detail, and banding on Jupiter, and crater details on the moon. Then I turned my attention further out and snagged the Orion Nebula, and the Pleiades. Looking further out, I captured my first deep space object: Andromeda.  At that point, I was hooked!


Why iTelescope?
By desire and current work necessity, I am a very early riser…which makes it quite the challenge staying up until wee hours of the night with my telescope. Given building and physical restrictions here at home, I have no option to install a fixed home observatory, so I found myself night after night spending as much time setting up and aligning as was available for observing and imaging…before tearing it all down to go to bed. And on those good nights when I did manage some images, I was unfortunately rewarded with heavily light polluted results. I searched for a better solution…and stumbled into iTelescope. Like many, I started with T3 and the free trial…and was instantly rewarded with results vastly better than my home rig had produced! I immediately joined iTelescope and began to explore all that the telescopes in NMS could offer. Again…I was hooked!
   
Why an Affiliate via T-24?
Faced with my challenges at night here at home, I had already been considering the possibility of remote telescope hosting. I enjoyed my sessions with iTelescope so much that I quickly responded to a notice I saw in one of the newsletters about the possibility of getting more involved with them through an affiliate relationship. After some discussions, we developed a win-win-win proposal: installation of a telescope on the iTelescope network, giving me access via a true expert provider of remote technology;  by going with a 24” Planewave, providing the iTelescope community with access to what will become the largest OTA in the NA network; and by locating it in California, providing the entire community with more than one option in NA for those troublesome weather nights.  The plan for T-24 was born!

The Sun
While it does not directly relate to my efforts at iTelescope, my astro-bio would not be complete if I failed to mention my other big passion: the Sun. I find our nearest star both fascinating…and convenient for someone who likes to sleep at night! Soon after getting my 7” Mak-Cass, I bought a solar filter for it and was captivated by the amazing views of the sun spots. Not long after, I made a significant investment in a Coronado SolarMax II 60mm hydrogen-alpha telescope…and was stunned by the level of detail I could pick up on the surface and prominences. I retrofit the Coronado with a better focuser (to allow remote focus and imaging from inside…and out of the blistering summer heat) and have spent the last couple of years experimenting with different techniques to tease out interesting views of our Sun.

To see more of my work and join me on my journey, please feel free to visit my website at:www.stronglycelestial.net

Clear skies!
John Strong

Thursday
Jun132013

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.