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NGC253 - iTelescope


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Coffee break imaging!   :coffee2:


Logged into iTelescope earlier today whilst at work.

NCG253:  1 x 300s luminance image.  No processing.





Now booked some time to grab more data.



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I should really have included some info on the actual scope and camera  ......  The sort of equipment you tend not to see in the backgarden!   B)



OTA:  PlaneWave 27" (.7m)  Corrected Dall-Kirkham

Camera:  FLI  PLO09000  (3056 x 3056 Array Size / 12 μm Pixel Size)

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Hi Peter,


If you want a look at iTelescope you can sign up for the free demo.  This gives you access to two telescopes, one in New Mexico and one in Australia. Both fitted with SBIG OSC cameras.  From there you could choose to upgrade the the demo (for about £5) this gives access to another 2 scopes fitted with mono cameras and filters (LRGB +NB).


I chose the starter-trial package which costs about £10 per month (or less than I spend on take away coffee per week).  I find this gives me enough 'points' for a few single shots like the one above, if I need more then I can easily add them.   


The good thing is there is no long term tie in ... you can change plans, up/down or cancel membership at any time.  They have a self serve refunds system where if your images are spoiled for any reason you get your points back.  I have used it due to clouds rolling in  (I can't even find clear skies up a mountain in New Mexico!) and there was no issue.


It's all very easy to use and there is nothing to lose with the free trial !



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Great image. Would it be allowable to have several people share one account and pick their targets between them? 



Not really sure.  I suppose it could be done but might get complicated with multiple people logging into a single account.  


Nothing to stop you from booking multiple imaging sessions or automatically running multiple scripts, but  I think the biggest problem would be controlling how the available points get spent! Each scope has a cost in points per hr and it is very easy to get carried away, so keeping an eye on how the points are getting used up would be critical. 


A club or society should be able to organise something if they had specific targets in mind.  All the images are available to download (FITs and/or jpg) and can be freely shared between members of a group to process individually.


There is a full DSO catalogue and entering target details is very easy.



The bad part ...... The cost per hr of the scope varies, no surprise that bigger & better costs more!  

Each point is roughly equivalent to 1 Aus Dollar, with 1 AUD currently being 54p.

Costs vary according to the plan you're on and also there is a 'moon discount' (25% / 50%)  and you only pay for imaging time, that's the time the scope is on target and the shutter is open. So no costs during slewing, focusing etc.   If you're taking a few 5 min subs it's not too bad.  But if you want lots of data and imaging time then it could very easily get costly.


The plan I'm on the most expensive scope is currently 230 points/hr - so around £124/hr !

I've never used that scope and suspect my wife (not to mention bank manager) wouldn't be too happy if I kept getting carried away with that   :rtfm:   


Of course you need to balance the costs against the fact that you are remote logging into some very nice gear!



Rather than fill up this post with images.  Here's links to a couple of iTelescope screens:

Imaging Planner: Showing various options.

Scope Status:    Gives updates on exactly what the scope is doing.

There is also a Maxim DL screen. Viewing only, you can't interact with it .... good job as they don't want me messing with their expensive gear!


Each of the observatories has an all sky camera: Siding Springs  I think this updates with page refresh!




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More iTelescope stuff .....


I decided not to go for more data on NCG253 but to chase a different target. 

Whilst I like those Hubble palette colour images, there is something I love about those mono/luminance images and grabbing extra data will work out quicker (not to mention cheaper) than trying to work through all the colour & NB filters getting enough data to make a big difference.


Especially when even a single 5 min exposures can pull in targets like this one I grabbed earlier today.


NCG6872, over 212 million light years away, along witha a host of other 'fuzzies'  (this is a small jpg preview - the full FITS image is about 18mb)




NGC6872 Wikipedia info


There moon was about 58 degrees away during the shot  




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Ahh yeah the scope - missed that off again  :blink:


Scope T27, same as last time:  PlaneWave 27" (.7m)  Corrected Dall-Kirkham.


I logged in and there was a gap between reserved slots, so I grabbed a quick 5min shot.

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Guest Tweedledum

Cor, there has been some changes of opinion when Tweedledee first posted using a remote setup it was heracy! Great images and for those who cannot afford or justify the kit needed these offer a perfect option.

From memory there are a number of options and sites so if it is cloudy you can change to a different scope. Don't think Pete's account was that expensive, esp by CPA...

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its still cheating though :D


I cheat as well as I image over the net (well LAN)


in this chase the cables are longer :D :D




Yeah it's so easy it can feel like cheating.  No matter how good their equipment is or how easy the make it,  iTelescope (or similar services) will never replace dragging my own rather modest equipment out into the garden ....... but even then I tend to sit indoors and do it all via a 20m usb cable!


I do like being able to get images that I'd normally never get to see and as long as I keep the costs down to 'coffee money' astronomy then I'm happy with it.


I think that if I do want more data on a particular target, then I'd just stick to more luminance data as trying to get enough on all the l,r,g,b etc would start to get silly ££ ......  and as I mentioned earlier, I like the mono images, they just seem to have more of a 'space' feel about them!




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I have the starter trial with iTelescope costing 19.95 Australian dollars per month by direct debit (currently about £10.80). This gives me 20 points per month.


I have let the points mount up for several months and now have 131 points available. This would get me 3.5 hours of imaging time on the cheapest rate scope, a 150mm Tak, or only 42 minutes on the most expensive, a Planewave 24".


There are a total of 19 scopes in New Mexico, Spain and Australia costing different points per hour, so plenty of choice.


So it is about time I had another go.

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That's the same plan I'm on and I tend to do it the same way ... let the points build up and then use them up! (think I've got about 60 points left)

 And the £10.80 per month is still less than my weekly take away coffee bill ..... maybe I need to take a look at my coffee intake  :coffee:


I like to keep a few mins in reserve just in case there is an opportunity to image anything special at short notice (comets etc), but more points could always be added if needed.


As you say ... a good choice of scopes in some great location, although I still manage to find cloudy skies!



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