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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 19 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.

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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 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
  • Efficiency…efficiency…efficiency
  • 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

How many times will the purchaser of all this expensive equipment get to use it? It depends on how committed the astronomer is to astrophotography and where the astronomer lives. In most cases they will have to drive 2 to 3 hours to reach a site dark enough to practice their skills. Also there is the time invested to perform all these feats of astronomical magic. Since many of the devotees work during the week most of the time they get to explore their avocation is during weekends.
Between the possibility of the appearance of the Moon and inclement or cloudy weather this knocks down the chances of a successful mission to a fairly few occasions per year. Of course then too is the trip back. Another 2 to 3 hours invested in nonproductive time. All of this does not allow for other issues like the cost of fuel, cold weather, clouds rolling in and spoiling the trip, persistent biting insects and a myriad of other incidentals.

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): 
  1. Telescope: $3,000 to $50,000
  2. Mount: $5,000 to $20,000
  3. CCD Camera: $2,500 to $10,000
  4. Other needed accessories: $500 to 5,000
  5. 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.