Professional astronomers have many resources available to them provided by universities and other research facilities funded in part by grants. Now amateur astronomers will also be able to participate in a similar fashion and at reasonably inexpensive rates.
Fountain Valley, Ca. (PRWEB) September 20, 2007
Dr. Ed Wiley, the director of the RAS (Remote Astronomical Society) Observatory (Remote Astronomical Society of New Mexico, announced today that a new membership program is now available to amateur astronomers, professional astronomers and the general public. This exciting program is designed to provide amateur astronomers with similar remote observing facilities currently only enjoyed by professional astronomers. An added attraction to the six sophisticated Takahashi telescope systems mounted on Paramount robotic mounts is their access to the pristine dark skies of New Mexico, USA.
Equipped with sensitive chilled detectors some of these systems have been used to discover asteroids that were fainter than 20th magnitude. Every clear night (normally about 250 nights a year) hundreds of CCD (Charged Coupled Devices) images are captured under the direction and control of both individual and groups of observers operating the RAS Observatory (RASO) telescopes from computers located all over the globe. At the end of each exposure, the images are downloaded from the cameras (also referred to as detectors), compressed and transferred to strategically located, high-speed servers. The researchers then connect to the high-speed servers via the internet and retrieve their science data.
Dr. Wiley quipped, "It is really quite amazing...in some cases the researchers will have captured and retrieved their personal data, begin analyzing, documenting and reporting their latest findings to various scientific data repositories within hours. The faint stream of photons they captured may have been traveling through space for over thousands of light years."
Wiley, went on to comment, "Professional astronomers have many resources available to them provided by universities and other research facilities funded in part by grants. Now amateur astronomers will also be able to participate in a similar fashion and at reasonably inexpensive rates."
The RAS Observatory has negotiated a special arrangement with Global-Rent-a-scope, (http://www.global-rent-a-scope.com), the premiere international service provider of internet access to the GRAS remote telescope network. The GRAS network provides observing resources to members of the RAS Observatory (http://www.ras-observatory.org) at special research rates.
Asked about future plans, Dr. Wiley responded, "We are engaged in developing individual and collaborative research efforts, in both, the northern and southern hemisphere. Many of our US and internationally based observers are pursuing asteroid research, the study of exoplanets, cataclysmic variables, and binary stars as part of the current activities."