Robotic Observatory Operational at TDS
We have been working hard to bring a robotic telescope to fully operational status for the last 5 months. This project originally started as a collaboration with at NASA Ames which we started 9 years ago, but 4 years ago a lighting strike took out the equipment.
Pat and Grady Boyce (both SDAA members) leased the pad last year, refurbished the dome, and I have been working on the equipment setup and testing which is now complete. We are live. We will be starting out with studies of binary stars with the intention of publishing papers (astrometry) of measurements we take with the system.
I will also be leading a Special Interest Group in Asteroid detection, tracking, and MPC submission.
Last night we remotely ran a full set of test images, each running 5 minutes, targeting a dark area of the sky just to see how faint an object we could detect.
The attached photo is labeled with the star and galaxy id’s and the detected magnitudes of some of the fainter objects. I am quite excited by the quality of the faint objects. Now that the system is live our next step will be to run a study of a few dozen binary stars and some of the asteroids that regularly visit our neighborhood.
A hardy congratulations to the Roboscope Team at Boyce Astro for the funding and assistance in bringing this project to operational status. If any of you are interested in learning more about the system or want to get involved with the program please do contact me. To learn more about the Boyce Astro Robotic projects please visit Boyce-astro.org