OWN the Sky!

Centaurus A

Centaurus A

   With the OWN web site you will be able to request images from an automated-telescope located at the Whipple Observatory in Amado Arizona. The telescope that will be used is part of a network of 6-inch reflector telescopes equipped with a CCD camera that are accessible via the web site. The web site, OWN, Observing With NASA, is maintained through a joint venture between NASA and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Whirlpool Galaxy

Whirlpool Galaxy

   From the OWN web site you will be able to request images of a variety of objects including the Sun, our Moon, planets, galaxies, nebula, and even asteroids. Allowing a couple of days for your image(s) to be taken you will then receive an e-mail notification that your images are ready for download. Once downloaded the images, in the FITS image format, are then loaded into the MicroObservatory Image Processing software and processed. The FITS, Flexible Image Transport System, is not the typical GIF or JPEG type of image file as the FITS image contains all of the data collected by the CCD. By having all data within the file allows it to be processed more so than how a graphic editing program would.

    There is no fee for using the OWN system, and the MicroObservatory software is free and is available in PC, Mac, and Linux versions. On a PC the software is extracted from the downloaded file into a folder. Since the software is not actually installed on the computer that means it can run from a Flash Drive or from a CD – which usually makes the IT folks happy!

    If you are close by and would like a workshop for teachers or for a classroom get in touch and we will work out the particulars. No charge but I may ask for lunch!

    Click here to go to the OWN web site.

      Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.

Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Flight Through the Universe

Among the many Astronomy resources on the Internet is the Sloan Digital Sky Survey or SDSS. This project is all about mapping the universe and specifically it involves mapping 1/4 of the universe. Data from the survey is available for research by the public as well as scientists and educators.
As a classroom resource this web site offers the opportunity for students and teachers from middle school through college to ask questions, conduct guided research projects, or design their own research projects. This is one of the options I have given to my students in the past as a place to do an independent project.
To see how to use the SDSS web site click here to go to their Start Here page.

There are many videos from the SDSS available on their YouTube Channel, including Flight Through the Universeusing data and imagery from the SDSS catalog, by Mark Subbarao and Miguel Aragon, from Johns Hopkins University and the Adler Planetarium respectively.

Click here to see the same Flight Through the Universe but with some ‘cruise’ music added.