World's First! Apple iPhone Acquires Deep Space Image: M42 Imaged by IIT Professor Jeff Terry Using the Global-Rent-a-scope (GRAS) Telescope Network

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Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) physics professor Jeff Terry took control of a Global-Rent-A-Scope (GRAS) telescope located near Cloudcroft, NM, from Chicago, IL, using his Apple iPhone. Using the iPhone's Safari web browser, Terry positioned the telescope to view the Orion Nebula (M42) and used the telescope's mounted camera to collect images of the popular astronomical object, marking the first time (of which we are aware) that an iPhone has been used for this purpose.

IPhone First image

a strong possibility exists processing software hosted on remote servers will be written to facilitate images processing by students through an iPhone.

On March 8 at 9:30 p.m., Professor Jeff Terry, made a historical image using Global-Rent-A-Scope (GRAS), a global network of high-performance telescopes made available to professional and amateur astronomers who control the telescopes remotely from anywhere in the world. The GRAS project supports many educational activities through their StarPals youth astronomy network. IIT students began using the GRAS telescopes for a supernovae search at the start of 2008, allowing them to search the skies from nearly any point in the world.

Professor Terry has been engaged in ways that make astronomy more interesting and accessible to students. Jeff has been instrumental in bringing active astronomy to students, through the young astronomers he works with in the IIT Society of Physics Students.

Recognizing that some universities were considering giving iPhones to incoming freshmen, professor Terry saw the possibilities. Terry further commented, "Many students may not be able to afford their own computers, and this will allow anyone with an iPhone or iPod touch to perform remote astronomical observations, affordably," Jeff continued, "a strong possibility exists processing software hosted on remote servers will be written to facilitate images processing by students through an iPhone."

Terry is developing software that facilitates remote telescope control and image gathering for the iPhone, which will support third-party applications starting in June. An image of the Orion Nebula taken using the iPhone is available here:

Professor Terry used the resources provided by the GRAS Network. Global Rent-a-scope ( provides the astronomical resource and is the exclusive service provider to the RAS Observatory.

About the RAS Observatory (
Nestled high atop the Sacramento Mountains of southern New Mexico, at 7,300 feet, rests a special astronomical research facility run by the Remote Astronomical Research Society. Dr. Ed Wiley, PhD of Kansas University, is the current director.

GRAS is the world's premier provider of remote astronomical resources. GRAS ... for drivers not passengers!

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