Wednesday, November 15, 2017

5th Grade Class Images Galaxies and Nebulae

Students in Mrs. DeSantis' fifth grade class at the Plymouth South Elementary School located in Plymouth, MA, used Insight Observatory's 16" Astronomical Telescope for Educational Outreach (ATEO) located at an elevation of 7,778 ft in the dark skies of New Mexico. This telescope is accessed remotely via the internet as a rental and used from classrooms for students as well as the general public to conduct astronomical research projects for science education or deep-sky imaging. 

Students in Mrs. DeSantis' fifth grade class queuing up their image requests for the ATEO.
Students in Mrs. DeSantis' fifth grade class queuing up their image requests for the ATEO.

Mrs. DeSantis stated; "As part of our solar system unit, our fifth grade class was offered the opportunity to receive some images via a remote telescope in New Mexico. The students were paired up and allowed to choose from a list of deep sky objects including nebulae, galaxies, and supernova remnants. They also had to choose whether to receive a color or a black and white photo as well as choosing the exposure time. Once they had chosen, we submitted the image requests under their names. They then created a Google Doc for their object and did some research on it. For example, if they chose a nebula, they had to explain what kind it was (planetary, emission, or diffused) and then elaborate. Students also visited the Insight Observatory website to learn more about the remote telescope. The kids were thrilled when the images arrived. They compared the nebulae and discussed whether the type of nebula correlated to its appearance. This was a motivating and exciting project!"

Insight Observatory had previously collaborated with the Plymouth Community Intermediate School also in Plymouth, MA, using remote robotic telescopes on a third party telescope network. This is the first venture with the Plymouth school district utilizing their own instrument since the installation of the the 16" Astrograph imaging telescope this past summer.

From Left to Right: NGC 7293 - The Helix Nebula Imaged by Nolan and Ella,  IC 5070 - The Pelican Nebula Imaged by Haley and Ava,  M33 - The Triangulum Galaxy Imaged by Kassidy and Liam
From Left to Right: NGC 7293 - The Helix Nebula Imaged by Nolan and Ella,  IC 5070 - The Pelican Nebula Imaged by Haley and Ava,  M33 - The Triangulum Galaxy Imaged by Kassidy and Liam

The images above are just a few of those taken by the students. All of the images acquired by the class can be seen on their online gallery.
Read More

Monday, November 13, 2017

ATEO Public Image Request Form Released

Insight Observatory is pleased to announce the release of its Public Image Request (PIR) form for use with their Astronomical Telescope for Educational Outreach (ATEO). The purpose of the form is to allow the general public to request (in a few easy steps) an image to be taken of a deep-sky object such as galaxy, nebula and star cluster of their choice with the organization's remote robotic telescope located in New Mexico. The service is free, however, donations can be made via PayPal in any amount to support the maintenance and hosting of the telescope.

The Public Image Request (PIR) form is the "lite" version of the telescope's portal that is nearly completed and scheduled to be released for beta testing at the end of this year. The ATEO Portal will allow users to reserve telescope time and have full control of the telescope and all of its imaging equipment.

Screenshot of the Public Image Request Form for Use with Insight Observatory's
Astronomical Telescope for Educational Outreach.

What can be imaged with the PIR form?

Currently only deep sky objects can be imaged using the Public Image Request form. This means no planets, asteroids, comets, or other objects that cannot be found in the SIMBAD object database. Why is this? This is because the wide field of view that the ATEO captures means that in most cases targets like planets would simply appear too small in our images to be satisfactory. Also please be aware that due to the wide field, small objects (like the Ring Nebula) will appear smaller than a larger object (like the Orion Nebula) - this may seem obvious, however, when you are used to seeing certain objects (like the Ring Nebula) close up it can be disorienting to view them on a wider scale.

How long will it take to capture and receive an image?

The total turnaround time can range from a week up to a month. A lot can depend on the weather - an unusually cloudy month can slow down the capture of images.

The Rosette Nebula (also known as Caldwell 49) - 300 Second Color
Image by Colin Stephens via the ATEO Public Image Request form.

What is the final product that will be received after the image request?

When your image is ready to download it will be in the form of a JPEG (JPG) file that can be retrieved from Dropbox (no account is required to download your image). You will receive an email notification with a link to the Dropbox folder with your file when it is ready. Your image files will remain on Dropbox for 30 days after you are notified and then removed.

Is there a restriction on the number of images that can be requested?

Yes... Simply because we want to give everyone a reasonable chance of requesting an image. Current restrictions limit the number of open (waiting to be imaged) requests to 2 per month per person, and there is a cap limit of 50 total open requests in our queue. This cap is put in place because we don't want to be in a position where our backlog of images grows beyond what we are able to capture within a reasonable timeframe.

Access the Telescope Here!
Read More

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hosting ATEO Images on Astrobin

After carefully seeking out an online gallery solution for their Deep-Sky Image Database of images taken by the Astronomical Telescope for Educational Outreach (ATEO), the crew at Insight Observatory has selected Astrobin.com as the platform.

AstroBin is an image hosting website specifically designed for astrophotography. The service was created out of the desire to end something that had been going on for too long... The wastes of incredible material to the sea of chaos that the Internet can be. For years, fantastic astrophotographs have been uploaded to Internet Forums, often with little or no data, or to general purpose image hosting websites, invariably with no data attached.

Such an image would be seen by some people, then quickly forgotten, and reduced to nothing more than a bunch of pixel in the giant wasteland of the Internet.

Screenshot of IC 5067 - The Pelican Nebula Imaged on the ATEO on Astrobin.com
Screenshot of IC 5067 - The Pelican Nebula Imaged on the ATEO on Astrobin.com

Astrobin is the response to an effort to host, collect, index and categorize the output of the astrophotographers all over the world so that their precious data would serve a purpose, and have a meaning forever.

This online service also allows "groups" to be created that will benefit Insight Observatory in separating and keeping track of data collected by school groups and individuals that utilize the ATEO remote robotic telescope located in New Mexico well as other third-party remote telescope networks they use.

Besides being able to describe the details of the image on their "Technical Card", Astrobin has useful educational features built into the website such as overlapping plates that label stars and other objects over the image as well as a "Sky Plot" chart that displays the deep-sky object's exact location.

Read More