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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. 

 

 


Monday
Mar042013

All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned from the Tutorials

Want to get the most “Big Bang” out of your buck? (I know, I know . . . groan.) My biggest piece of advice is: Watch the tutorials.

I’m the type of person who never reads instructions. I’m also the type of person who can be somewhat impatient. These two traits tend to be at odds with each other and do not bode well for me. However, when I first joined iTelescope I was careful to read about the basics and watch all the suggested instructions and video tutorials. Am I ever glad I did. It’s saved me quite a bit of money and allowed me to use some of the best deep field ’scopes available.

Using the tutorials, I first learned how to utilize Stellarium — a free astronomy program — to plan my imaging runs. Stellarium allows you to input specific locations, such as the three locations served by iTelescope, giving you the objects that are visible at that time as well as their altitude. That was a big help.

However, what really made a difference was learning how to image with the moon up.

Let’s face it: some of the telescopes have very high point rates per hour. And rightfully so: the equipment is top of the line and produces jaw-dropping quality images. So how can you — on a budget — afford to get on those telescopes? The answer? The moon.  This is one time that the moon is an astrophotographer’s friend.

You’re probably already aware that the points on a telescope vary depending on the moon’s illumination. For example, if 75% of the moon is illuminated, you get a 50% discount on the rates. So, for example, take T11 (one of my favourite telescopes): with no moon in the sky, the rates are 199 points per hour. However, if 75% or more of the moon is illuminated, the rate drops down to 99 points per hour. That gives you far more time to image.

But, you may ask, how can you image with the moon in the sky? I mean, we’ve all seen the sky cam with that bright light taking up half the camera. It seems hard to believe that you can obtain any quality images with that thing hogging up the sky. Well, I am here to tell you that it is possible. The key is to make sure that the moon is far enough away from the target: at least 60 degrees. Of course, it’s also best to do narrowband imaging using the Ha, OIII and SII filters, but you can do some LRGB, if you’re careful; even if you’re an “amateur” amateur astrophotographer, such as I.

Take, this image, for example. The Pinwheel Galaxy (M101 / NGC 5457) I took this on March 1st. The moon was almost fully illuminated (I think it was about 83%). In fact, the moon was 90% illuminated for the 600s luminance I took the night before. I have to admit: I was skeptical. Even the preview image had me worried. But when I went to process . . . wow. It actually turned out. And the thing is, I’m a nebula person: I don’t have much luck with galaxies. But this is, by far, the best image I’ve done in a while. I’m extremely proud of this.

So take my advice: watch the tutorials. They’ll help you save some cash and allow you to use some of the most incredible telescopes available.

The tutorial for imaging with the moon can be found here.

Thursday
Feb212013

Welcome to My Universe

I've often been told I live in my own world, so why not call this my universe? Aim higher, I say.

If you’ve been a member of iTelescope for a while, I’m sure that you’ve seen my name creep up from time to time. I’m a relative “newbie” when it comes to astrophotography — I’ve only been doing this for a year. But I’ve been going at it strong and have learned a tonne. If you’re new to iTelescope, welcome to your new addiction. No. Really.

We’re all here for the same reason: we love astronomy . . . the stars, planets (especially dwarf planets . . . Pluto, I’m looking at you), comets, asteroids and the sundry bits and pieces that make up our stunning universe. And iTelescope gives us the tools to explore these parts. If you’ve never used the service, you will be stunned when you take your first image. I know I was. Of course I’d gazed through many an eyepiece. I’d seen the Lagoon Nebula, the Orion Nebula, globular clusters, Andromeda and much more. But not like this. Not with dust lanes and so many stars.

The equipment is top of the line and so are the people here. If you’ve been at this for a while, if you’re like me, you’re excited when your run starts. The best part is, you can be at home, at work, at a party — heck, you can be scuba diving — and you know that “your” telescope is aimed at the target you’ve chosen and working away. No cold nights. No driving out of your way to a dark site only to be clouded out. No hauling 300 lbs of telescope gear out. You work to plan your run and sit back.

The other thing I love about this service is that so many of us live in the northern hemisphere. Because of that, we are robbed of seeing the southern jewels like the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, the Carina Nebula and Centaurus A, just to name a few. But not now. Now we’re able to capture these beauties and examine their intricacies for ourselves. This is why you’ll be addicted.

Now, excuse me, I have to run . . . I think T9 is free. Or maybe I’ll use T7. Or both. I’ve gotta get my fix.

 nm

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