100 Hours of Astronomy for Universe Today Readers Begins Now!

Attention Universe Today Readers! “100 Hours of Astronomy” is about to begin and we’ve got a very special gift just for you. How would you like to decide where to aim our IYA remote telescope? While Saturday, April 3, celebrates the global Star Party where many telescopes (both remote and live) will be open to the public, we couldn’t help but wonder about those who might not be able to make it out, didn’t live near an event – or had bad weather. So, we decided to do something about it. Rather than only give you the 100 hours of telescope time over the next few days, we’re going to give you 100 hours of IYA remote telescope targeting choices and only start the clock ticking when the sky is clear and the scope is running! Are you ready to choose your coordinates and save your astrophoto to show to the world? Then grab your star charts and step inside for some instructions…

Beginning at 9:00 UT on April 2, 2009 the IYA “Galactic TV” Remote Telescope located in the southern hemisphere will be yours when it comes to choice of objects for viewing. If you’ve ever wondered what a particular NGC looks like – then now is your chance to find out! However, you’ll need to remember that this is a “real” telescope with real limitations working from a real sky… and that means doing a little astronomical homework on your part. Are you ready to begin? Good!!

For those of us familiar with northern hemisphere skies, this means totally reversing the way we think. The ecliptic plane will now be to the north, positioned approximately 60 degrees above the horizon from our telescope’s point of view and the southern pole will be positioned roughly 40 degrees above the horizon. This means that constellations familiar to us – like Orion – will begin past the meridian to the high west at nightfall. Good constellations to choose objects from (for example) would be Carina, Vela, Crux, Centaurus, Circinus, Pavo, Indus, Tucana, Hydra, Lupus, Pices Austrinus and Scorpius. But, don’t forget that we share common sky, too! Anything rising to the east can also be seen.

The next step in choosing a target is what our telescope is capable of. When it comes to field of view, you’re in luck at a full degree of “eyepiece space”. This means that anything that measures 60 arc minutes or less in size will fit inside the camera screen with ease. You will need to choose your object by magnitude as well. During perfect dark sky conditions our 80mm telescope can achieve around magnitude 8 deep sky (such as galaxies and nebulae), but remember… there will be Moon present for at least part of the evening. This will limit what the telescope can “see” at a particular time. While the Moon is out, choose bright open star clusters and save galaxies or nebula for the hours before dawn. Also remember our telescope is very small, so it has a limited resolution factor – it won’t be able to split very close double stars.

Now… Are you ready for the fun part?! All you have to do is post your object request here. You don’t need to be an astronomer, know how to operate a telescope or how to control astrophotography equipment to enjoy our IYA remote scope! Just post the common name (like Eta Carinae), OR catalog number (such as NGC 2516, Messier, IC or others) of your request, OR type in the coordinates (RA and Dec), add your name and location, and the Southern Galactic Telescope Hosting Facility will take care of the rest. When your object is targeted, here is what your screen will look like:


So what happens if you’re not home or at your computer when your request appears? Not to worry. We thought of that, too. Southern Galactic has kindly agreed to take a photo snap of your screen and save it for you! Because this wonderful project is meant to inspire everyone around the world to use a telescope, we’ll save these images and post the collection every few days for the duration of the 100 hours of the IYA remote telescope event and folks everywhere will have an opportunity to enjoy the target you have chosen and to see who selected it.

We’ll honor as many requests as possible each night – allowing ample viewing time for each object, take your snapshot for the library and select one as the video of the day. Some may appear before others depending on the position or magnitude demands, but we’ll do our very best to give you all you ask for. So what are you waiting for? Get your star charts out and start posting your requests here right now!

Our many thanks to the Southern Galactic Remote Telescope Hosting Facility for the extremely generous donation of your time to make this wonderful project happen!

26 Replies to “100 Hours of Astronomy for Universe Today Readers Begins Now!”

  1. GREAT IDEA!!!

    I’d love to see NGC 6397 in Ara: possbily the closest Globular Cluster to us!

    I love globs!!! =-)

  2. zz? please. i have no control over what ads are shown here.

    jon hanford? we’d love to honor your request, but you’ll need to check your homework again. those galaxies are in the visual magnitude 15.2 range and we aren’t going to manage that with a visual 80mm scope even from the darkest of skies. here’s some information on your first choice and more information on the second for you to look at.

    just remember that your target will need to be brighter than magnitude 8 (and brighter still if you choose to look at it during the time the moon is up) and capable of being seen by an 80mm telescope from the southern hemisphere.

    where’s louis lacaille when you need him? 😉

  3. I would like to propose imaging a southern hemisphere Ring Galaxy. Two large, bright contenders are 1) Cartwheel Galaxy = AM 0035-335 = VV 784 …..or 2)The Lindsay-Shapley Ring = AM 0644-741 = ESO 034 IG 011. Both are relatively large and bright and hopefully available for observation with your IYA telescope project. Programs like this are a definite draw for the novice and experienced observers who follow the UT site. Thanks for all your efforts and some really great images already posted!

  4. I’m a fan of the site, but I was disappointed that you have backed away from promoting honest skepticism and meaningful inquiry by posting a big banner add for “The God who Wasn’t There”. That DVD is not taken seriously by any mainstream scholars and amounts to a frivolous web gimmick. I know you need to pay for bandwith, but try to find a less irritating way to do it.

  5. Sorry for my earlier, difficult choices of Southern sky objects. How about IC 2602, IC 2391 or NGC 3352 as brighter, more easily acquired objects usually hidden for us northern observers.

  6. you’re on, jon! if you check the telescope link, you’ll see we’ve already got you set up as next in line!

    smile… if skies are clear when darkness falls on the first night of “100 hours”, jon hanford will be the first on galactic tv!


  7. This is a great idea, and thank you for making the remote viewing possible!

    I’ll try to keep it simple – everything in the Southern Sky is a mystery to us from the North, and taking into the account the Full Moon, I’ll ask for the open star cluster NGC 2516.

    If, for some reason, it can’t be viewed, then maybe NGC 3918, or NGC 2808 as the third candidate.

    The image will be a gift for Jamie in Edinburgh, from Aunty Ren (and UniverseToday :).

    Thanks once again,
    Ana M. Tomsa (Croatia).

  8. Tammy, my apologies, I did not know that. Whatever virtual ‘bot or other entity picks the ads is not doing you the best service by assuming that religious people are not interested in Astronomy

  9. Tammy, I’ve already stated in an earlier feed some of our Astronomy group will be going
    to Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, east of San Jose California this weekend. Clear skies

  10. Hello,

    47 Tucanae, please. The finest globular I’ve never seen with my own eyes.


    J Kade

  11. Too many objects to count! Anyway here are 3 ideas:
    1)Alpha Centauri System — nice double star and our closest neighbors
    2) The Magellanic Clouds — nearby galaxies
    3) NGC 5139 — Omega Centauri bright globular cluster

  12. I think i would like to request the Carina Nebula or NGC 3372.. I wonder how it would look in this tele….

  13. Tammy, hoping now for decent weather (I’m checking that online.) I’m looking forward to some Southern Sky gems, fingers crossed.

  14. Love your IYA telescope, guys!

    My requests:
    – NGC 5866 (aka “Spindle Galaxy”)
    – NGC 4038 (aka “Antennae Galaxies”)
    – Messier 51

    With regards,
    Alejandro Alvarez in North Caldwell, NJ

  15. hi, astrochick!

    the link to our IYA scope is:

    you can always access it by looking to the right hand column where there’s an IYA 2009 logo and clicking on “LIVE Remote Cam”.

    on the telescope site, you’ll now see that bert (that would be “SUPERbert” – the observatory director who never sleeps) has added a list of everyone’s requests and when the sky isn’t cloudy, he’ll begin targeting the telescope and turn on our remote “eyes”.

    we’ll do one object each clear night as the movie film of the day – which will appear on that day as a post with information about the object and be stored in the IYA Live Telescope Library – whose link also appears to the right in words.

    after our scope has done the feature film for the day, the “IYA Live Telescope” will begin filling requests and taking a snapshot of the screen with your name a request on it. depending on how many we have and how many can be done each day, i would say that objects will probably last in the scope for about 2 hours or so before moving on to the next.

    once we have a collection of a few still pictures, i will do another daily post and title it “IYA Live Telescope – UT Reader Requests” and post your images for you there. if you should happen to miss that post the day it happens, you can always find it later by referring to the IYA Live Telescope Library section listed under “Categories” to your right.

    did this help?

  16. I have never been able to see the Small Magellanic Cloud in real.
    So maybe this will be my opportunity to watch at least the central region (60arcminutes) on this cool telecope.

    Would be great!

    Thanks and clear skies and open minds.


  17. excellent suggestions!!

    we’re clouded out in central victoria right at the moment, but don’t stop doing your homework, because our 100 hours of scope time only counts when the scope is operational. those clouds will pass sooner or later!

    just remember when you visit the remote scope that “off line” means it is either daylight or cloudy there and “data limit” means we have to wait our turn (100 viewers at a time).

    also, don’t worry if your scope time comes up over the weekend and i don’t get your picture or video of the day posted until monday. i’m right here with you, but i will be doing public service where there is no internet acess for a couple of days.

    but hopefully clear skies!

  18. hey, rapideye! i just saw your response got put in a weird place and i moved it over. (i don’t know why, but it sometimes happens to mine, too.) i’m going to add it to my response here, too… so bert will notice it and add it to the list that’s now posted on the remote scope site that shows viewer requests so you’ll know your suggestion will be honored!

    RapidEye Says:
    April 1st, 2009 at 7:07 am e


    I’d love to see NGC 6397 in Ara: possbily the closest Globular Cluster to us!

    I love globs!!! =-)

  19. Can someone help me? What’s the link to the telescope again, so that we can go view everyone’s images. I looked at the article but it wasn’t clear to me. Every hotlinked word that I clicked took me to other Universe Today articles.

  20. Thanks Tammy,

    You explanation seems clear; it has lots of great detail. Now I just need to get my browser and internet connection to load it.

  21. The other globular NGC 4372 (Dunlop 67) in Musca could be another interesting target, because it is slightly more elusive and contrasts well with NGC 4833.
    It is one of my own best favourites of the many globulars visible in the south!
    Pity the “little comet ferreter”, Charles Messier wasn’t a southern observer, because he would have bagged both of them!

    Positions are;
    NGC 4833 12h 59.6m -70deg 53? (2000)
    NGC 4372 12h 25.8m -72deg 40? (2000)

  22. After reading through the article, I just feel that I need more information on the topic. Can you suggest some more resources ?

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