Online Telescope

by Tammy Plotner on January 25, 2010

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Online TelescopeHave you ever wondered what it would be like to look through a telescope, but don’t have one? Are you curious if there is such a thing as an online telescope? The answer is yes. If you have a computer, you can use it to virtually look through the eyepiece of a telescope… and even aim it at the objects of your choice!

One of the most exciting concepts to come about in a long time is the SLOOH Space Camera. Here’s an opportunity to look through a variety of online telescopes located around the world and take a look at space from the comfort of your home. It’s not difficult and you don’t need complicated instructions to use it. SLOOH’s patented instant-imaging technology and user-friendly interface let’s astronomers of all ages and skill levels remotely control a real telescope!All you need is a Mac or PC computer and Internet browser to explore the deepest reaches of space. To use the Slooh online telescope you must become a member of the Club, which includes mission cards, activity books, and online gift certificates. Once enrolled, you can articipate in group missions or control the online telescopes yourself. Says PC Magazine: “Would-be astronomers can gaze at live images of the night sky, but in the comfort of their homes. Kids – even big ones will marvel when they see the Andromeda Galaxy and other distant objects slowly materialize on their computer screens.”

If you’re a bit more advanced and would like to try your hand at astrophotograpy with an online telescope, then check out Global Rent-A-Scope. GRAS also has a variety of telescopes positioned in observatories around the world, and you can view live images as they are being created by remote astrophographers. Because taking images of the sky can involve very costly equipment and years of practice, how cool would it be just to tap into an on-line telescope and begin imaging? Now it’s as easy as taking lessons and renting the equipment – and you don’t even need clear skies or a special place to go. It’s as close as your PC!

Another type of opportunity to enjoy an online telescope in a different format is the WorldWide Telescope. While this online telescope doesn’t offer “live” views, the WorldWide Telescope (WWT) will allow your computer to act as a virtual telescope by displaying images from the foremost ground and space-based telescopes. You can even take a tour of all the most incredible places in space narrated by a real astronomer! This online telescope can provide views in multiple wavelength. Imagine seeing an x-ray view of a supernova and fading into visible light! Now you can take a look with H-alpha to view star-forming regions and examine high energy radiation coming from nearby stars in the Milky Way. Are you skies clouded out? No more. With the WorldWide Telescope you can view the Moon and planets anytime, from any location on Earth and any time in the past or future!

Would you like to use an online telescope to look at our nearest star? Then take a look at Eyes On The Skies. This simple and easy to use website offers “live” views of our Sun with an online telescope. This is the home of the internet-accessible robotic solar telescope, built by Tri-Valley Stargazers member Mike Rushford. Of course, you can only control the online solar telescope if the skies are sunny in Livermore California, USA!

About 

Tammy is a professional astronomy author, President Emeritus of Warren Rupp Observatory and retired Astronomical League Executive Secretary. She’s received a vast number of astronomy achievement and observing awards, including the Great Lakes Astronomy Achievement Award, RG Wright Service Award and the first woman astronomer to achieve Comet Hunter's Gold Status.

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