James Figge wrote:
This is the Andromeda galaxy from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics MicroObservatory. They have 6-inch robotic telescopes in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in Arizona. You control your image settings on this web page. Then you transmit your parameters, and the instructions go out to one of the robot telescopes. Within 24 hours or so a link to your image file is sent back to your email.
You then need to save the file on your computer and upload into the image processing software. The key is learning how to use the software. I practiced on it for 10 hours before I did my first image, which is the one above. I worked on processing this for about 2 hours. This part of it is really an art and you have to practice to understand how the software works. There are tutorials online that help you get started.
Anyone can use it over the internet; it is funded by a grant from NASA, so there is no charge to the user. Access is via:
To control a telescope you go to the ‘control telescope’ tab. When you are ready to process your image you go to the ‘analyze images’ tab.
Thank you, James!
Bottom line: A photo of the Andromeda galaxy captured with the Harvard-Smithsonian 6-inch robotic telescope in Arizona.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.