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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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Thursday
Oct182012

Nicole Mortillaro - Mission Accomplished

Our Focus this month is on Nicole Mortillaro.  She is a children's book editor and author, and self proclaimed "nerd"!  Her book, Saturn:  Exploring the Mystery of the Ringed Planet, focuses on the impact of Cassini-Huygens probe on our understanding of Saturn and her moons.

Her talks at places like the Ontario Science Centre and the David Dunlap Observatory have helped bring remote imaging into spotlight. 

Like all of us here, I love the night sky. I love our universe. And I yearn to see more. Not only see it, but capture it. One of the benefits of being able to do that is to share it with others. Today, most of humanity lives in dense areas rife with light pollution. They can’t see the thick bulge of the Milky Way or the Orion nebula or the Andromeda Galaxy; what they get is a smattering of stars that they can probably count. So the night sky is mostly ignored, and people are ignorant about the beauty of the universe and what exists beyond the few stars they see. How sad is that? So why not show them what’s out there?

It was last winter when my friend, a professional astronomer, suggested that I try remote astrophotography after I was lamenting about the highly cloudy winter we were experiencing in Toronto, Canada. It was one of the best suggestions I have ever received. 

 So it was New Year’s Eve, 2011, when I first logged on to what was then called Global-Rent-a-Scope. Yep. That’s how I rang in my new year. And it was great.

Now, aside from a couple of what I shall call “learning experiences” with my own telescope and a DSLR, I had no idea what I should or could do with a CCD camera (what the heck was NABG and ABG??). So my first time out I used the “one-click image” option on what is my favourite nebula, M42, and was giddy when I saw the result.

But wait . . . I knew I could do more. I didn’t know a lot about CCD imaging, but I did know about stacking. So I started slowly: first the Pleiades, then M81, then bigger, to the Horsehead Nebula, taking multiple images of each target. And I was learning! Pretty fast, I thought. Don’t get me wrong: I experienced the same frustration any new astrophotographer does.

I swear, processing the Horsehead moved me to tears. But I didn’t give up. In fact, it made me more determined than ever to get better results. And over the past 10 months I think I’ve made incredible strides. The people at iTelescope have been generous and kind and so helpful (and I also have to thank my friend, Paul Mortfield for all his help, too): it’s made a big difference.

Now, I know some amateur astronomers who think remote astrophotography is somehow “cheating.” They can think that all they want. Remote astrophotography allows you to utilize the best equipment in the best conditions. How can that be cheating? It’s called making the most of what is available to you. iTelescope has telescopes and CCD cameras I can only ever dream of owning. This allows me to work with the best. And that’s not to say I am not going out and trying my hand at my own astrophotography with my 8”. But this way I am not driving hours out of town to get a glimpse of what are only less light-polluted skies. I don’t have to freeze my behind off to get great seeing (because, really, in Canada, we have to wait for winter and, well, it gets pretty bloody cold). And what I am really excited about is the opening of the southern telescopes. How incredible will it be that I’ll be able to image things I can’t even see in my part of the world?

As a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Toronto Centre (RASC), I was approached to give a presentation to members about remote astrophotography. Not a lot of people were aware that that option was available to them. So now my mission was two-fold: appeal to the general public and also educate fellow amateur astronomers about the benefits of remote astrophotography.

I feel that it’s important that people realize that astrophotography is not just for the rich. And this is the beauty of remote astrophotography: it allows you to work with the best without bankrupting you. And I’ve had a wonderful time utilizing iTelescope’s resources. I figure if I can do it, with very little experience, anyone can.

I have shared my images with friends and family who are always in awe. They are amazed at what is out there. And I’m happy to show them. I also know that some members of RASC have joined iTelescope and now know what is available to them. I’m happy that I’ve been able to educate both groups.

Mission accomplished!

Friday
Sep142012

Dr Ian Musgrave - Renaissance Man

Dr Ian Musgrave of South Australia, is well known within the iTelescope & amateur astronomy community for both his Astroblog and his Sky Alerts. He is also one of iTelescope's top Science Advisors and a member of the STEREOHUNTER Group.

Ian is a fantastic individual who goes out of his way to help bring information and understanding to the Astronomy Community and a great asset to iTelescope! We are happy to highlight this Member in Focus today:

"Asimov, I think, once said that most scientific discoveries don't begin with a cry of "Eureka", but of "Hmmm, that's funny".

My "hmmm that's funny" moment came when my mate Comet Al asked me to check a potential comet he found in the STEREO spacecraft images. "Found it" said I, sending back what I thought was my confirmation image. "That's Mercury" replies Comet Al. "But it has a tail" I wailed. This serendipitous observation eventually resulted in my name being on a paper presented to the International Planetary Society Meeting. 

I've always been interested in astronomy. Some of my earliest memories are lying out in the backyard with dad's old binoculars scanning the sky. Now I am the proud possessor of four telescopes (one my dad and I built together) and two pairs of binoculars (I still have dad's binoculars). While I'm primarily interested in planetary astronomy, I'm just as happy sitting under a clear sky watching satellites go by.

With so many telescopes at my disposal, why iTelescope? One word, comets.  I'm a bit of a comet tragic; decades ago I took my then girlfriend camping to show her Halley's comet. "It's a fuzzy dot" she said, "you got me up at 4 am to see a fuzzy dot?". I was unable to comprehend how she could not be amazed by this historic visitor to our skies. 

While I'm fascinated by comets my current kit can't do astrophotography of comets (did I mention I made my current CCD cam from a web cam), and I came to iTelescope (then Global-Rent-a-Scope) for comets. My first serious use of the scopes was trying to follow up an apparent comet spotted by Comet Al. 

And I've never looked back. I've imaged so many fantastic comets that I never would have had a chance to see with my gear, firmly rooted in Australia. My favorite iTelescope comet to date has to be comet C/2009 G1 Garradd, a little beauty that kept us all enthralled for months with its amazing double tail.

My iTelescope images haven't had as much scientific impact as my sighting of Mercury's ion tail in the STEREO images, but I did help confirm that comet C/2010 X1 Elenin had disintegrated. 

Probably my highest impact iTelescope image was one of 103P Hartley 2, unfortunately however that was because someone had taken it , added a picture of the crescent Moon and then claimed it was an image of an unknown planet X.

But that turned into an opportunity to help communicate astronomy to a wider audience, and to explain to people a range of issues around the alleged planet. What could have been a major annoyance helped me do something I'm passionate about, helping people see the night skyand its wonders. Which is where iTelescope comes in again.

iTelescope has given me a unique chance to help people see the sky. I've been given the opportunity to be a science advisor to iTelescope and help people out with issues of target selection and other science related queries. As well, through my SkyAlerts and my (sort of) monthly Sky Updates I can help people see some fantastic things they might have missed otherwise. In this way I can contribute to the community that has given so much to me."

Ian Musgrave