Why Remote Astronomy?
The case for internet remote astronomy imaging with iTelescope.net
A Galaxy of Reasons!
- The choice of 15 research grade telescopes and CCD's at your disposal
- Only Pay for that Dream Telescope when you USE it!
- Professional Astronomers have been doing it for years!
- Remote Access to both northern and southern hemispheres
- Science and astronomy research with consistency and reliability
- Additional data for your own telescope imaging. Specialist filters and great resolution!
- 24 hour darkness as our systems are located in 3 different time zones
- Your Poor local weather solved with 3 different observatories located around the world
- We offer you some of the darkest skies
- A Great gift idea for the budding scientist in your life
- Premium 24/7 personal customer service and support
- Many different FOV's
- A variety of professional grade equipment
- Access via the Internet just using your internet browser
- High-speed FTP download service included
- LRGB and UBVRI and Ha,SII,OIII and NIR filters
- Low, affordable rates and membership packages
- No setup or tear-down time
- Strategic global locations assures Imaging 24 hours a day (weather permitting)
- No Capital Investment
- No long-term obligations
- Satisfaction guaranteed - We refund any lost time credits
- Basic image processing support included
- Leading Brand names, Takahashi, RCOS, Planewave, Paramount, SBIG and FLI
- Low Monthly Discount Membership available
- Special research activities
- Retain all intellectual property rights over your data
- Opportunity to collaborate within our international community
- User friendly systems for the novice to the professional astronomer
Why Remote Imaging Makes Sense
When most people get interested in astronomy they initially purchase some type of entry level telescope. The price tag generally varies from $500 to $3,000 depending on the type of system they purchase. This decision to initially purchase less expensive equipment may have significant dire consequences and compromise their entire lifelong astronomical and astrophotographic experience.
Very quickly some realize they need more accessories and equipment to enhance their observing experience. If their interests advance to astrophotography then the need for more sophisticated equipment becomes even more apparent. Of course the cost invested also increases incrementally.
Over a reasonable period of time (say 5 years) the initial investment of $3,000 soon grows to $15,000 or $20,000 depending on how ambitious the target activity and the available funds. The $20,000 expenditure does not occur overnight. The driving force behind all of this investing in new equipment is the pursuit of perfection in producing professional grade images.
It is more likely that the purchase of better quality equipment occurs over a period of several years. This is the time it takes for the user to become aware of all the pitfalls of entry level equipment. This is also the time it takes to experience the fairly steep learning curve and develop a new level of sophistication. Coincidentally this is also the time it takes for the level of frustration to develop over the lack of performance of the less expensive equipment.
Productivity now becomes an important issue
To summarize, an individual that is very serious about pursuing an interest in astronomy and astrophotography generally spends around $20,000 for a reasonably good performing system (the range may be between $12,000 and $75,000):
- Telescope: $3,000 to $50,000
- Mount: $5,000 to $20,000
- CCD Camera: $2,500 to $10,000
- Other needed accessories: $500 to 5,000
- Total Cost: $11,000 to $85,000
It takes around 3 to 5 years accomplish this objective. After all of this has come to fruition, the persistent user may only get to use it 15 to 20 nights a year. Over the 5 year period this amounts to a total of 120 nights of usage at an approximate average cost of $166 per night (based on an average cost of $19,950). Then there is the cost of the following to consider. Each person must place their own value on their time:
Load-up time, Drive-time, Time to set up, Alignment, time to photograph (maybe an average of 6 hours per night), Tear-down, reload, drive back time and finally unload time.
So here is the bottom line:
Let us assume an average shooting time of 6 hours per night. That amounts to 600 hours of shooting for a 5 year period or 120 hours a year. The cost of using iTelescope for 120 hours per year can be around $2500. Extend this cost for the 5 year period and the total cost for a 5 year period is $12,500. The overall difference right up front is $8,000 less for iTelescope.Net. Now consider this, the user gets to use world-class observatory equipment that is the best money can buy.
This is equipment few astrophotographers could or would even contemplate purchasing for themselves. The equipment setups at iTelescope.net are some of the best equipment ever assembled. These systems generally cost over $50,000 each.
The comparison continues...
Other costs vary depending on the user’s individual circumstance but you can bet that the costs will really mount up over a five year period. Gasoline alone accounts for most of the difference (60 trips X 200 miles = 12000 miles / 20 mpg = 600 Gals X $3.00 per gal = $1,800). Keep in mind the user also gets to save the travel time in both directions too. Based on 60 sessions (120 nights /2 to account for weekends) times 5 hours (2.5 hours each direction) or an average total of 300 hours (over the 5 year period). How much is that worth? That amounts to almost 38 man days (8 hours per man day). If you figure the value of your time is greater than $3.00 per hour then you have saved an estimated whopping $11,000. Of course your particular circumstances may vary but even with extremely conservative estimates it would appear the savings using Global Rent-a-scope are significant.
Some may contend that after the 5 year period has passed they will still have their equipment that they could sell to recover their costs. While this is true to an extent with some exceptions, most equipment looses 50% of the value as soon as it is purchased.
So what is the value of pursuing your favorite past-time and still being present to share time with your family? Using iTelescope.net allows you the freedom to pursue your astroimaging and still be close by. I’m sure your spouse and children would also appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Overall, the calculations clearly point to the incredible convenience and value of iTelescope. This is a very cost efficient and extremely convenient way to perform CCD astronomy. This is the way the professional astronomer’s gather their data.
The iTelescope.net system allows for a significant increase in image production over the direct methods currently employed by most CCD astronomers today. The system is ready to go with just a few mouse clicks. Should the weather turn unfavorable the user can simply log out and continue on as normal; no significant time is lost.
Since long trips are no longer required or even any advanced planning, for that matter, the user can even do imaging even on a work night. With iTelescope's ability to provide you with imaging capabilities 24/7 you are certainly provided with a lot more opportunities to pursue this activity in a more convenient way at a more convenient time.
Look, let’s cut to the chase
If your objective is to drive around for hours looking for a dark site; spend a great amount of time suffering from bone-chilling freezing temperatures; exposing yourself to possible injury by lugging around heavy and awkward equipment; risk the loss of your equipment to thieves, while you might be napping or worse yet, suffer personal harm from unknown assailants that may pray on unsuspecting lone astronomers. If this is your preference iTelescope.net will not make a lot of sense to you.
On the off chance you would really prefer to just create a lot of incredibly beautiful CCD images in the most time and cost efficient manner, then iTelescope.net is your answer. We guarantee you will gather more data to produce 10 times more images in half the time than the typical method described above.
Keep in mind some of our users are even benefiting from operating several systems simultaneously. Talk about efficient use of time and resources! They can produce the luminance frames on one system and capture the RGB data on another; all at the same time! I am telling you it just doesn't get any better than this.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.