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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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Nicole's Universe

Nicole Mortillaro is an experienced and valued member of the iTelescope community.

Here she writes about her experiences with iTelescope as well as general astronomy observations. Nicole lives in a not-so-dark-sky site north of Toronto, Canada. 

 

 


Thursday
Feb062014

Getting to know iTelescope: Aron Jenkins

Most of us have had some form of communication with you no doubt, but you remain a bit of a mystery to us. What is your role at iTelescope?

I am the General Manager of iTelescope. I handle the 1st level of support for iTelescope.Net, directing your support questions to the staff members that can best handle them, or answer myself if possible. I also handle marketing, hosting, the monthly newsletter and any other support I can give the group and members.

Running an international remote telescope organization must be quite a juggling act. What is a typical day for you?

My activities change quite frequently depending on the day. Most days though, begin with me catching up on support tickets from the evening before, monitoring systems in Siding Spring, and checking and opening the systems in Spain whilst watching for any support issues that may need my attention throughout the day.


What do you find most rewarding about working at iTelescope? The most challenging?

By far the most rewarding thing is when I see an APOD or a discovery made by our members on the systems. I love being a part of something that is helping shape our understanding of the universe.

The most challenging is understanding some of the things I've mentioned above. My background has always been in business management and telecommunications. I've always been interested in astronomy, but until coming to work with iTelescope, I never was deeply involved with the technical side of it.  

Obviously you must have a love of the cosmos. Do you do astrophotography?

As much as I can! I own a very small telescope that I enjoy stargazing through with my children, but I do not own an imaging system. I try to get some time on the iTelescopes whenever possible, but I also do not like to take any premium time from our members! My wife and I have plans to invest in an imaging system some time in the future.

Okay, we all have a favourite ‘scope (mine is T7…or T11). Which is your favourite telescope?

I'm a big fan (as are many of our members!) of the Wide Field presented in T14, T12 and T20, but I am looking forward to spend some time on T24 in the near future!

We all have a planet, nebula or cluster that makes us say, “Wow.” What is your “wow” object?

I would have to say the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Something about the contrasting gasses just takes my breath away.

NGC 6559

If you could put a telescope anywhere on Earth, where would it be?

I would have to say Hawaii. I keep begging Brad to open an Observatory there so I can go live on the island!

What is some advice you’d like to give iTelescope users?

The best advice I could give is use our resources. We have many fantastic Tutorials and FAQs, as well as a very helpful community on our Facebook Group page. You can save yourself a lot of time and points by planning your runs ahead of time using these tools.

 

What would you like to see more of from members?

Everything! I love the amazing thing our members do with the systems. I truly excited about the possibilities with T27's Spectroscope!

What did you want to be when you grew up?  ;-)

So many answers to this question! I was a very big sports nut growing up, but I was also a full on "geek." At most times I was split between wanting to be an NFL football player, a science fiction writer, or a video game programmer.

Tuesday
Oct222013

Getting to know iTelescope: Aussie Pete

If you’re like me, you’ve been a member for a while but still don’t know a lot about our wonderful operators. Who are they? What do they do? Let’s find out a little more about the folks that field our questions and resolve any problems we may have.

First, the All Powerful (iTelescope)  of Oz.

Q: Most of us have had some form of communication with you no doubt, but you remain a bit of a mystery to us. What is your role at iTelescope.

Well I'm an Aussie of Greek heritage. A child of the space age in the 1960s and that influenced me a lot as I grew up. It got me interested in astronomy and space/science.

I had my first small telescope when about 14 or so; loved setting it up in my backyard and exploring the skies...yadda yadda yadda.

Oddies 9" Mt Stromlo - Australia (before 2003 Fires)But I really got my teeth into astronomy when I organised for a few mates of mine from college to get regular time on the Oddie 9" telescope up at Mt. Stromlo Observatory. Sadly, that grand old telescope is now ash and molten glass after the huge fires of 2003 in Canberra. We delved into some serious experiments in astroimaging, using glass plates. We even built our own 'cold camera.' It was all film back then. Results were mixed, but it was a great few years working with a real telescope.

Then I spent 'lots' of years in the workplace: tourism/hospitality, commercial helicopter pilot, some military service (Sapper) and then got a degree in IT and multimedia around 2003. I finally bought a Meade 8" and an imaging kit, and I really caught the astronomy bug. That's when I met Brad, chatting and sharing astro stuff online with a Yahoo astronomy group based in Melbourne. He was experimenting with his own Internet telescope (now called T8) even back then, and eventually that passion developed and became iTelescope.net, of which I am the Observatory Manager. Ta-Da! 

What is an Observatory Manager? Well, for iTelescope, that involves sitting at my PC a lot! It began as a part-time job once my normal 'day job' involving security was finished. I was keeping tabs online to our first Aussie observatory based in South Australia. Things broke a lot more back then as I recall. LOL. Now, I'm full time and actually live within an amazing mountain-top observatory complex! I am so, so lucky! Mystery solved.

Q: Running an international remote telescope organization must be quite a juggling act. What are some of the challenges you face? 

I am responsible for the operation/maintenance of all the networked telescopes at a high level. I don't get paid a lot for my job (deliberately as I don't need the money, anyway), and I do it for the love of it. I am just one member of a small team that makes sure we see iTelescope.net grow! I really work for all the members that have made iTelescope what it has become!

My day starts early at around 0530-0600. 

Pete doing his thing.

First thing I do is check on Spain, as it would have just opened. As with all the telescopes, I log into them directly and make sure they are operating normally; if not, I need to find a fix. On average, this means a PC, network or mount reboot, or if more serious, I quickly need to fire off a few urgent emails to the ground crews and try to remain calm and polite. :) The most common issues involve stuck mounts or hung software. These are very complex systems, and things do go wrong, but mostly they hum along pretty well.

The iTelescope office at Siding Spring

Once I have Spain settled, I check New Mexico well before dusk there, and also check to be sure that my local SSO observatory has shut down properly after a long night. Then I feed 'Io', my cat and the iTelescope mascot. You may have spotted her prowling around on the SSO webcam from time to time as I work in the observatory during the day.

Then I check my email Inbox. Oh god, so many emails! Status reports, member/client support issues and updates or requests, local committee meetings here at SSO, telescope usage reports, chasing down needed telescope parts around the world from our suppliers, answering or asking questions with Aron Jenkins our GM in Florida (he should be fast asleep), bringing Brad up-to-date on the latest bugs and/or any issues we have with the telescopes, ordering parts etc. It goes on and on…but I really enjoy looking at the latest stuff from members on our Facebook sites (which I also run). That gives me a lot of joy, and makes all the work well worthwhile. I also install telescopes into the observatory.

I'm also the webmaster for both our iTelescope.net website and the hosting website. I often check on its activity and create new content when needed. That's fun, too.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about working at iTelescope?

Well, what the entire team strives towards at iTelescope is a real challenge, all the time. What we need to do every single day and night, all year round, to provide a functional remote telescope service to our members is HARD. Otherwise everybody would be doing it. And they are not. So I get a real kick just watching the members log into the systems and getting really good data. I love it when all the systems are busy and I start thinking we need to get more telescopes! Which we do! And we are doing! I love seeing amazing images or APODs taken using our telescopes and gasp when they are used for great science by members. That's really gratifying.

Q: Obviously you must have a love of the cosmos. Do you do astrophotography?

My imaging skills are crap (technical term). I used to do planetary webcam stuff, but nothing like what’s really possible by some of our skilled members. I just don't have the time anymore. It takes so much time to post-process and perfect the raw data into something worthy of display. I’m in awe of what I have seen on our Facebook page...Geez i feel really lazy now.

Siding Spring Observatory 4m AAT Telescope

 Q: Okay, we all have a favourite ‘scope (mine is T7…or T11).

Well, T14 is amazing. It’s been chugging along on every clear night without drama for nearly 10 years now. That's reliability! LOL.

Actually, every iTelescope is a baby of mine, and I care for them all. When one is offline for any reason I fret, worry, and nag until it’s back online. Ask Brad!

Q: We all have a planet, nebula, or cluster that makes us say, “Wow.” What is your “wow” object?

Well... the planetary nebula NGC3242 most frequently called the Ghost of Jupiter is my favorite DSO. But I've never seen it imaged with iTelescope yet. It would be pretty hard, I imagine. It’s not that large. But I also enjoy seeing the efforts of those from the Northern Hemisphere imaging our southern gems like the Tarantula Nebula or Omega Centauri.

Danny LaCrue & the ESA/ESO/NASA Photoshop FITS Liberator

Saturn is of course my favorite planet. I spend hours just gazing at it through my little 8" telescope or showing others when it’s high on a clear night.

Q: If you could put a telescope anywhere on Earth, where would it be? 

In orbit. Or how about iTelescope Mauna Kea Hawaii??

What members need to understand is just how hard it is to setup a truly remote observatory. You need a really dark location and stable skies, high-speed comms, local services, and support nearby. But it’s not always easy to get all these things at one site. That is why we now use SSO. It’s got it all!

iTelescope Sidng Spring - Australia

Q: What is some advice you’d like to give iTelescope users?

If you’re new, watch the video tutorials, please.

Be mindful that you are part of a community. You’re sharing a scarce resource, and we hope you can all get the most from it by being thoughtful and courteous.

Is that a but too soppy?

Q: What would you like to see more of from members?

I think it’s great when our experts are seen helping those with less experience in the iTelescope community which helps them get the most from the telescopes, for example, on our Facebook site. I'm always happy to post any articles sent to me regarding using your remote telescopes in special ways on our website, too.

Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Exactly what I'm doing today :)