GRAS Announces, Browser-Based, Interactive, On-the-Fly, Photometry tool, Photometrica

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Photometrica is the first Browser-based Photometry Analysis Tool that is seamlessly integrated into the GRAS global network system at New Mexico. Photometrica is a GRAS proprietary, browser-based, scientific software analysis application; a tool that provides the ability for GRAS subscribers to perform instant photometry of images taken with the remote telescopes at GRAS on the fly. Unlimited access to this service is provided as a monthly subscription at extra cost.

Geir Klingenberg in Observatory in Norway

There is a strong possibility that Photometrica will bring about a significant change in the way photometry is performed today. The technological advances achieved with this software will enable much more efficient use of telescope systems like the ones in use at GRAS

GRAS announced today the availability of Photometrica, (http://photometrica.global-rent-a-scope.com/photometrica/), a web-based photometric analysis program that works in concert with the telescopes available through subscription to the Global-Rent-A-Scope (GRAS) (http://www.global-rent-a-scope.com) observatories. An informative tutorial that takes the investigator through the various steps of analysis and options is available.

On a typical run, the observer selects the option to save images for analysis by Photometrica before taking a series of images. Photometrica then harvests each image to a server where it is calibrated and made available for analysis. The investigator then opens Photometrica (password protected) and selects the image sequences to be analyzed by date of observation. The status of each image is displayed, including the position and time of observation as well as the calibration status (for example, BDF means the image is fully calibrated by applying bias, dark and flat frames).

The images are then analyzed, real-time, through a highly interactive user interface to extract the pertinent information. Once satisfied with the results, the investigator can automatically generate an AAVSO report as a text file. In addition, the investigator can save the comparison star results as either a text file or an excel file for future reference.

More extensive details on the use of Photometrica can be found here:
(http://photometrica.global-rent-a-scope.com/photometrica/Default.aspx)

Photometrica is an extremely feature rich application. Learn more here:
(http://photometrica.global-rent-a-scope.com/photometrica/Features.htm|)

The many benefits of using Photometrica can be found here:
(http://photometrica.global-rent-a-scope.com/photometrica/benefits.htm)

Some suggestions on appropriate projects can be found here:
(http://photometrica.global-rent-a-scope.com/photometrica/Projects.htm)

Geir Klingenberg, the author of Photometrica, who resides in Rana, Norway with his wife and two daughters, commented, "There is a strong possibility that Photometrica will bring about a significant change in the way photometry is performed today. The technological advances achieved with this software will enable much more efficient use of telescope systems like the ones in use at GRAS,"

Geir added, "As with many others, I have always been fascinated by astronomy. Once I bought my first scope I was hooked, and not long after that I had built my own backyard observatory. I soon developed an interested in photometry, the art of measuring the brightness of astronomical objects. My observatory has mostly been used to do photometric time series of short period variable stars for my own projects, as well as in collaboration with AAVSO, CBA (Center for Backyard Astrophysics) and others. Although I managed to do some interesting work and got a few publications, the bad weather in this part of Norway has always been a source of frustration. Not to mention the summer nights, which are too bright to do any observing. The summer period lasts from May till September, so combined with the poor weather conditions the number of useful night per year is pretty low."

Geir continued, "A couple of good things have come out of that. For one, it has given me time to deepen myself in astronomical photometry theory, and to write custom software to ease the photometric analysis process. Secondly, it brought me to GRAS."

With a big smile Klingenberg added, "Of course, once I had tried the Global-Rent-a-Scope.com (GRAS) scopes there was no turning back. The quality of the equipment, sky conditions, availability of the scopes ... and the comfort was too much to resist. Given the choice, I would think that everyone would also agree. The comfort of observing in the daytime from my computer compared to staying up all night fumbling with wires in -20 degrees is immense. My private observatory is now once again used to admire the universe visually. My CCD observing is done remotely."

GRAS subscribers are part of one of the largest independent scientific research communities that routinely engage in remote astronomical research. Their independent research activities involve the following areas of research and exploration: Identifying astronomical objects, making measurements of brightness, intensity and direction, astrometry, robotic operations, education, optics, astrophotography, galaxies, nebula, planet, space, camera, minor, planets, deep, astroimaging, photography, cameras, filters, supernova, and stars.

GRAS provides access to the following resources; paramount mounts, Takahashi Telescopes, SBIG CCD Cameras, FLI Cameras, The RAS Observatory, technical support, experience, optical, systems, Instructional Tutorials presented on You Tube.

See the first image of M42 taken with an iPhone from the GRAS remote telescope network (please see image on the right) (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2008/03/prweb792444.htm)

GRAS, Along with Slooh, is one of the more advanced astronomical services with lots of public appeal. GRAS…for drivers, not passengers.

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