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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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Sky Alerts

Dr Ian Musgrave  - iTelescope Science Advisor

An avid amateur astronomer, Ian writes the weekly sky updates for ABC Radio Science and is science adviser to iTelescope. When not staring at the sky he is an equally enthusiastic molecular pharmacologist at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

You can follow Ian Musgrave on his Astroblog for daily posts about astronomy, biology and life, the Universe and everything.

"Over at Astroblog I largely guide people to the view of the sky as seen with the unaided eye. But I’m also an iTelescope.Net user, and I’m very honoured to have been invited to highlight some of the interesting objects that can be seen through the iTelescopes.

While many people are familiar with the larger, more glamorous objects in the night sky that make good iTelescope targets, there are a host of lesser known, interesting objects that are well worth chasing such as fast moving Near Earth Objects, Novae and Comets."  Twitter @ianmusgrave

Wednesday
Aug072013

ALERT! NEO Asteroid 2005 WK4 close approach on August 9

NEO 2005 WK4 as seen from New Mexico at 2:02 am 7-11 August (08:02 UT 7 August - 11 August) . The crosses mark the position of the asteroid every 5 hours, click to embiggen.

Near Earth Asteroid  2005 WK4 will  came close to Earth on  August 9 at 05:02 UT at distance of 0.02 AU (around 8 Earth-Moon distances). It has an estimated diameter of  420 m. The asteroid is currently magnitude 15.5, it reaches mag 14.4 at closest approach then brightens to 14.0 as it moves away. 60 second images will be reasonable when it is below mag 15, 30-10 seconds for 14.5 and brighter.

NEO 2005 WK4 is only visible from the northern iTelescopes as it passes through Perseus, Aries and Pisces. It is moving reasonably fast (33.4"/min), too fast for the tracking capability of the iTelescopes. You will need to use a topocentric ephemeris and camp out on the asteroid track.

The asteroid is high enough to image from around 2:00 am to astronomical twilight from Mayhill and Serpio. Both miss closest approach (in twilight in Spain and too close to the horizon at Mayhill).

Close up view of 2005 WK4 on the night of the 9th form 2:02 am Mayhill. Each time point is 5 minutes. The large rectangle is the field of view of iTelescope 20, small rectangle is the field of view of iTelecope 5 (chart generated with SkyMap pro and the Horizons Track 1.4 add-in (click to embiggen, but use a proper topocentric ephemeris, rather than this chart, for indicative purposes only)).

There is significant parallax effect (423.36"), so unless your planetarium program is able to cope with close parallax (most can't), you will need to work from topocentric coordinates. For topocentric ephemerides go to http://www.minorplanetcenter.net/iau/MPEph/MPEph.html

Nth America MPC Code - H06, Spain MPC Code - I89

Always use the latest possible orbital elements and ephemeris. The planning guides to viewing YU55 here and here will help organising topocentric ephemerides  for close approaching NEO's.

Basically, you will need to use unguided exposures. Choose a point where the asteroid will pass and aim at that. Remember that it takes time for the GRAS scopes to get to tracking position. GRAS-14 can take up to 5 minutes (depending on there being reliable stars in the field for tracking), so offset you initial position by around 4 minutes or so (this will be a significant distance) so the asteroid will be in field.

Saturday
Aug032013

August Highlights: C/2011 L4 PanSTARRS, C/2012 F6 Lemmon, C/2013 G5 Catalina, 2 Pallas 

The New Moon is 7 August, First Quarter is 14 August, Full Moon 21 August and Last Quarter 28 August.

Yep, you guessed it, there are several bright (ie > magnitude 12) comets in the sky at the moment, but many are in unfavourable positions.

2011 L4 PANSTARSS has faded to magnitude 12 but is still worth imaging. It can now be imaged from the Mayhill and Nerpio telescopes for about four hours after astronomical twilight.

C/2011 L4 PanSTARRS as seen at 11:45 pm on August 4-10 from Mayhill New Mexico as it passes through Bootes. The small rectangle is the field of view of T5 and the large rectangle T14. Click to embiggen.

PanSTARRS has only a couple of  nice galaxy encounters this month. On August 4 it is close to galaxy NGC 5676 (Mag 10.9), then on August 6 it is near galaxy NGC 5689 (Mag 11.9). It is pretty far from the galaxies though, and imaging with T14 may be a stretch.

 

C/2012 F6 Lemmon as seen at 00:42 in the morning of August 10  from Mayhill New Mexico. The small rectangle is the field of view of T5, the medium rectangle T20 and the large rectangle T14. Click to embiggen.

Comet C/2012 F6 Lemmon is now observable for most of the night from the  northern iTelescopes.

The comet is reasonably bright (still around magnitude 10), it is only near one interesting object this month. 

Lemmon is close to NGC 7023 (Mag 7.0 bright nebula) and the open cluster Cr427 on August 10.

C/2012 L2 is too close to the Sun to be visible in the iTelescopes.

C/2006 S3 LONEOS is not far from the bright star Spica.  The comet is around magnitude 13, and in a good position for imaging in the early evening, but has no interesting encounters.

29P Schwassmann-Wachmann is well placed for observation in both northern and southern scopes, although the SSO has the best view. A recent outburst has seen the comet brighten to Mag 12, and it has a very interesting coma structure.

26P Grigg-Skjellerup as seen from the Mayhill scopes at evening astronomical twilight on August 15. The large rectangle is the field of view of T14,  and the small rectangle T5. Click to embiggen.

26P Grigg-Skjellerup is rapidly fading from magnitude 12, and is visible from both the SSO and Northern scopes around astronomical twilight in Virgo..

The comet has numerous encounters with galaxies towards the end of the month, but the comet has significantly faded by then, and it is only briefly visible before twilight overcomes it.

On August 15 the comet is near the galaxy NGC 5300 (Mag 12).

Comet C/2013 G5 Catalina is a new addition to the bright comets. It is expected to brighten to between magnitude 11-12. However, it is reported as being diffuse and may not perform to predictions. It is in Bootes, and best seen by the northern scopes in th evening, with it barely coming into range of the SSO scopes.

Comet 154P Brewington is theoretically brightening and should reach magnitude 10. While it should be magnitude 12.5 now, it has not yet been observed. It is just over a degree from Delta Aquarii at the beginning of the month, and is best seen in the late evening-early morning.

236P NEAT is currently around magnitude 13, much brighter than predicted, an is well placed fro observation in Sagittarius for most of the evening from the SSO scopes, and reasonably well placed for the northern scopes.

A bright supernova 2013ej R.A. = 20h57m53s.90, Decl. = -51°52'24".5 has been confirmed in the galaxy M74. Interestingly, it is not far (less than one arc second) from the position of a supernova in M74 found in M74 by iTelescope member Stan Hunt (SNHunt142).

Asteroid 2 Pallas is 0.7 degrees from open cluster NGC 2286 in Monoceros on the 14, 0.2 degrees from open cluster NCG 2311 in Monoceros on the 19th. Best in the early morning.

Wednesday
Jul312013

ALERT! Bright Supernova in M74

A bright supernova 2013ej, has been confirmed in the galaxy M74. Interestingly, it is not far (less than one arc second) from the position of a supernova in M74 found in M74 by iTelescope member Stan Hunt (SNHunt142).

A confirmation image using one of the SSO iTelescopes is here.

The waning Moon has now moved away from M74, making it an excellent target.

Wednesday
Jul242013

ALERT! NEO Asteroid 2003 DZ15 close approach on July 30

NEO 2003 DZ15 as seen from New Mexico at 10:00 pm 28-31 July (04:00 UT 29 July- 1 August) . The crosses mark the position of the asteroid every 5 hours.

Near Earth Asteroid  2003 DZ15 will  came close to Earth on  July 30 at 00:47 UT at distance of 0.02 AU (around 9 Earth-Moon distances). It has an estimated diameter of  152 m. The asteroid is actually getting dimmer, currently magnitude 16.7 it reaches mag 18 at closest approach. The dimness will make this a bit of a challenge.

NEO 2003 DZ15 is only visible from the northern iTelescopes as it passes through Lyra, Draco and Ursa Major. It is moving moderately, so the tracking capability of the iTelescopes may be okay, but topocentric epheri would be best to make sure.

The asteroid is high enough to image from astronomical twilight to around midnight from Mayhill.

Close up view of 2003 DZ15 on the night of the 29th (30th UT). Each time point is 15 minutes. The Large rectangle is the field of view of iTelescope 14, small rectangle is the field of view of iTelecope 5.

While standard planetarium plotting may be sufficent, you may still like to work from topocentric coordinates. For topocentric ephemerides go to http://www.minorplanetcenter.net/iau/MPEph/MPEph.html

Nth America MPC Code - H06, Spain MPC Code - I89

The MPC one line elements are:

K03D15Z 22.3   0.15 K134I 241.21278  263.60648  141.99712    3.65212  0.4869160  0.73088738   1.2205879  4 E2013-O37   127   2 2003-2013 0.50 M-v 3Eh MPC        0000         2003 DZ15           20130720

Always use the latest possible orbital elements and ephemeris. The planning guides to viewing YU55 here and here will help organising topocentric ephemerides  for these events.