An extensive listing of professional robotic telescopes
The RCT Consortium (RCT)
The RCT Consortium is the group of universities
and research organizations who have assumed control of the 1.3-m telescope
on Kitt Peak, in Arizona. The consortium consists of Western Kentucky
University, the Planetary Science Institute, South Carolina State University
and Francis Marion University. The telescope, originally called the
Remotely Controlled Telescope, has been renamed the Robotically Controlled
Telescope to reflect the change in operational control as well as the
mode of use. Engineering testing is scheduled to begin Fall 2001 and
science opperations are scheduled to begin Fall 2002.
Undergraduate Research Studies in Astronomy (URSA)
This is the University of Arkansas Robotic Telescope
System developed by Claud Lacy. The system uses an LX200 mount and an
SBIG camera, but all control functions are handled by custom software
developed by the URSA staff. The system will accept observing requests
from a web page and then schedule and obtain the observations and inform
the user by email when the observations may be retrieved from the web.
The URSA system is optimized for variable star observations. This system
began "dumb" mode opperations in winter 2000. It is expected that remote
observations may begin during winter 2001.
The web interface being developed for the URSA
system is available in preliminary form.
URSA Web Interface: http://physics.uark.edu/ursa/
The Hanna City Robotic Observatory
This is an example of a small robotic telescope
system built by Jerry Gunn of the Peoria Astronomical Society. The system
is designed to opperate completely unattended. Observing requests are
submitted by modem over phone lines. The system uses an LX200 mount
and an SBIG camera. Jerry includes complete instructions and technical
specifications on his web site for anyone interested in building a similar
system. The Hanna City system is optimized for variable star observations.
This complete system has been moved to Yerkes Observatory
and now contributes to the Hands On Universe program (HOU).
This is one of the pages available at the Astrometry
at 701 page maintained by Jeff Medkeff. The Automated Observing
page is committed to maintaining an exhaustive list of scripting software
for robotic telescope control, plus analysis software for data obtained
from robotic systems. Jeff wrote a recent article in Sky and Telescope
about Automatic Asteroid Hunting. Available scripting systems include
Astronomer's Control Panel with PinPoint (DC-3 Dreams), MPO Connections
(BDW Publishing), and Orchestrate (Software Bisque). The Software Bisque
system is available with an internet server.