Virtual Star Parties, More Astronomers Needed

Article written: 7 Jan , 2012
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For those of you following me on Google+, you know that I’ve been hosting virtual star parties with Phil Plait and Pamela Gay. We’ve teamed up with astronomer Mike Phillips who has been livestreaming his telescopes into a Google+ Hangout and then broadcasting it live so everyone can watch. So, it’s sort of like looking through an amazing telescope, but with color commentary from us at the same time.

It’s been an amazing experience so far, but I know it can be even better. I need to find more astronomers able to livestream the view from their telescopes into a webcam and then into a Google+ Hangout. I’d like to have multiple telescopes going at the same time, with different views of the skies. Some focused on planets, others at deep sky objects.

And it doesn’t have to be big telescopes. There are beautiful objects in the sky, like open clusters, which look better with a wider field of view.

So, if you’re interested in participating, you’ll need to have a way to get the view from your telescope, into a webcam, and then use that webcam to join a Google+ Hangout. If you can do that, drop me an email at [email protected] and we’ll run some tests.

Here are two previous nights of experiments that we’ve done so far.

Virtual Star Party – January 6th, 2012

Virtual Star Party – January 5th, 2012


6 Responses

  1. Don Denesiuk says

    This is the start of something great I think. Thanks to you Phil and Pam for doing these and thanks especially to Mike Phillips who as as ‘Scope operator the last few evenings froze his fingers and toes so we could watch the heavens.

  2. David Parmet says

    This is a great idea – I’ve sent a note to some of the members of my astronomy club who have the technology…

  3. flinkin says

    Fraser, have you checked out Night Skies Network? Folks there have been broadcasting live views of the universe from their telescopes for some time now. It’s really mindblowing, actually, what the backyard astronomer can do now. Maybe you can find some participants there.

    http://www.nightskiesnetwork.com/

  4. David W says

    We’ve actually tried this in the past using Ustream, so shouldn’t be any problem using G+

  5. Tim Patton says

    I am one of the guys who broadcast on nightskiesnetwork.com. We have been doing this for a few years now. Most of us use Mallincam astronomical video cameras. As a rule most of us view deep sky objects such as faint galaxies ect… in color. Me and others also broadcast the sun with our solar scopes. These are not web cams or security cameras. These cameras are made exactly for this purpose by Rock Mallin in Canada.

  6. Brian Allan says

    Check out the Night Skies Network! It’s been doing this for at least a couple of years. Don’t know why people would change over to this system when NSN works very well!?

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