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Internet Controlled Telescopes. Two Choices. Sign up for one of the many remote controlled internet telescopes available now. Slooh – Your live on-line observatory Mytelescope - Take control of an observatory ! Global Rent a Scope – Where the Sun never rises

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two choices
Two Choices
  • Sign up for one of the many remote controlled internet telescopes available now.
    • Slooh – Your live on-line observatory
    • Mytelescope - Take control of an observatory!
    • Global Rent a Scope – Where the Sun never rises
  • Control your own telescope remotely
    • What hardware and software do you need to accomplish this task?
mytelescope com videos Videos

global rent a scope
Global Rent a Scope

On you tube:

This is a good demonstration of using the scopes and image processing with it.

This is the site video tutorials:

global rent a scope2
Global Rent-a-Scope
  • Global Rent-a-Scope already has 24/7 night-sky coverage, thanks to its lineup of remote-controlled telescopes in New Mexico, Israel and Australia. The pictures typically look sharper as well - compare this Slooh, but there is a cost difference: A yearlong subscription to Slooh costs $99, while the pricing for Rent-a-Scope time ranges from $37.20 to $145 an hour.
control your own telescope remotely
Control your own telescope remotely

This will be the subject of this report as I felt this would be the most interesting to our members.

"The optical tube determines what may be seen with a telescope, while the mount determines how the telescope may be employed. In areas where real estatedevelopment leaves the amateur seeing less and less of the night skies, computers can help one find the target and then move a telescope right onto that target."

software bisque
Software Bisque

The information & images that follows was cleaned from Software Bisque. Follow the link below for the full information and check out their great products with the link above.

a little history
A Little History
  • For several decades amateur telescopes have been made incorporating electronic circuits to automate regulation of drive tracking rates, correct periodic error of worm gears, usually in optional external Drive Correctors.
  • So computer control has technically speaking been provided on amateur telescopes since the 1960's.
  • It is only in the 1980's that the first telescopes entered the market with reliable optical encoders and specialized computers that guided the operator to manually move the telescope onto the target.
  • And some years later the first practical telescopes came onto the market that could be set up by an amateur and then be directed to a target with high speed slewing motors under control of a computer.

But to most amateurs today the term "computer controlled telescope" implies either: Computerized (or Digital) Aids to Navigation - a telescope mount with devices attached as options or built-in guiding the operator to move the telescope (usually manually) onto target. Telescopes like this are still sold today, the most successful being the Orion Intelliscope series.

  • Go To - a telescope mount control system with the capability to automatically direct the mount slewing motors to quickly move (slew) the mount to precisely locate and center an object in the sky in the field of view of the telescope optical tube.
    • Amateur telescopes typically slew at rates of up to 3 degrees per second taking about a minute to go from one object to another in the opposite horizon.
    • Advanced telescopes can slew at 6 degrees per second, some up to 12 degrees per second, while some specialized systems are slewing at up to 24 degrees per second!
    • The control systems are programmed to gradually ramp up the motors in acceleration and to decelerate gradually to reduce stresses on the mount components.
  • For a automated observatory a Go To computer controlled mount is required.
what do you want to do
What do you want to do?
  • Sit in the house while the telescope is on the deck or in a backyard observatory.
    • You may be able to do this with one computer and cables.
  • Control a distant remote observatory
    • More equipment and expenses
what is required for backyard
What is required for backyard?
  • A Telescope
  • Computer-controlled mount
  • Computer-controlled electronic focuser
  • CCD camera
  • One maybe two computers
    • One for the observatory
    • One for remote operations
  • Software to control it all
  • Connection system
direct connection always the best case scenario
Direct Connection always the best case scenario!
  • There is simply no substitute for having a hardware connection from the primary computer to all of the hardware devices at the scope whenever/wherever possible.
  • The principle reasons are performance, cost, ease of use, and hardware maintenance.
direct connection always the best case scenario1
Direct Connection always the best case scenario!
  • Wireless connections can be very convenient, but they are slow in performance compared to a direct connection, even with today's best and most expensive wireless hardware. Additionally, the size of the CCD detectors has grown tremendously over the years; downloading 3 to 100 megabyte files over a wireless connection is painfully slow.
  • Even using Remote Desktop/PCAnywhere, VNC, and all other remote control software that is completely bandwidth dependent fails in comparison to a simple direct connection. Yes, remote software has come a long way, but no remote control software over a LAN works as well as being on the same machine that is hard wired to the equipment.
direct connection always the best case scenario2
Direct Connection always the best case scenario!
  • So, if the computer is no more than 30 feet (9 m) or so away from the telescope equipment, running wires directly from the PC to the equipment has numerous advantages. For example the PC is located say inside the house or warm room safe from the cold and not subject to leaky observatories or changing temperatures. In this type of control you simply have the very best most cost effective performance. PERIOD!
  • Note just as soon as you introduce two PC's in a LAN or very long expensive cable runs the price goes up and usually the performance down and while the hassles go up.
serial rs 232 cabling options
Serial RS-232 Cabling Options
  • Almost all "goto" telescopes use RS-232 serial communications as do many focusers, filter wheels, and other devices. Serial RS-232 cables ranging from 1 foot up to 175 feet are inexpensive.
  • In fact, even if the telescope mount boasts a USB interface why bother with the added expense associated with longer cable runs (runs longer than about 15 feet) if RS-232 is an option?
  • Because currently there is no speed advantage using USB for telescope control you can get by with lesser expensive standard phone cable.
  • For longer than about 175 feet consider the RS-232 Extender feature here which uses cheaper Cat 5/5E or 6 cable.
  • You can use a serial cable using standard phone type cable 4 and 6 conductor cable up to 200 feet with the mount and other RS-232 serially controlled devices.
usb 1 0 cable runs up to 80 feet
USB 1.0 Cable Runs - Up to 80 Feet
  • If the device is USB 1.0 compliant NOT 2.0 the cost of cable extensions is slightly cheaper.
  • This is the case with the older SBIG CCD cameras or Paramount ME
  • USB 1.0 active extenders work fine.

About $15.00 U.S.

usb 2 0 cable runs up to 80 feet
USB 2.0 Cable Runs - Up to 80 Feet
  • Until recently finding a USB 2.0 active extension cable was not available. So those with newer and faster USB 2.0 CCD cameras they would have to spend a lot on extenders that supported the faster speeds.
  • However, you can now get USB 2.0 Tripp Lite 16 foot extenders . These can be daisy chained to a distance of 32 feet or more .
  • The best part is they can be purchased for about $15.00 per extender! has these in stock at nearly 1/2 off the list price of $49.00! Need longer runs see below.
longer usb 2 0 cable runs up to 198 feet cat 5 6
Longer USB 2.0 Cable Runs  Up to - 198 Feet Cat 5/6!
  • For USB 2.0 cable runs that are longer a better albeit more expensive option is the Iogear USB 2.0 extender which uses Cat 5E or Cat6 cheap network cables! I recommend these runs for over 50 feet. Having one single Cat 5/5e or 6 cable is more convenient then dealing with extenders daisy chained together and the price is similar.

WARNING! You may also need an additional power supply +5 volts at 2 amps on the receiver end for longer cable runs. This is NOT included or ever mentioned in the documentation. I am still waiting on mine!

The "optional" power supply required for USB devices needing additional power (i.e. my SBIG CCD camera) is Iogear part number 0AD8-0705-261G and sells for $19.00 US.

what about long parallel cables
What About Long Parallel Cables?
  • For those with a CCD camera using a parallel interface longer parallel cable runs (more than about 50 feet) are available and reasonably priced. Up to 200 feet with parallel is possible using more expensive twisted pair shielded cabling. Contact Software Bisque for pricing on custom shielded parallel cables.
iogear ps2 kvm console extender gce250
IOGEAR PS2 KVM Console Extender GCE250
  • Dual console operation lets you control your system from either the CPU or the remote KVM console
  • The PS/2 KVM console extender uses inexpensive CAT5 cabling instead of expensive coax to connect to a remote KVM console up to 450 feet away.
  • Just attach the local unit to your CPU and the remote unit to your monitor and PS/2 peripherals. A single CAT5 cord is all you need to connect the two units to carry signals for the monitor, the keyboard and the mouse.
  • The extender also lets you control your system from either the local or remote consoles.
iogear ps2 kvm console extender gce2501
IOGEAR PS2 KVM Console Extender GCE250
  • The IOGEAR PS/2 KVM Console Extender allows access to a computer system or a KVM switch from a remote console (keyboard, monitor, and mouse), from up to 500 feet away, via a CAT5e cable.
  • Auto signal compensation makes installation easy, with no need to configure dip switches
  • Video resolution up to 1280 x 1024 at 60Hz
  • Supports VGA, SVGA & multisync monitors
  • Plug 'n' Play
iogear ps2 kvm console extender gce2502
IOGEAR PS2 KVM Console Extender GCE250
  • What you have is keyboard/mouse/monitor at one station then a single controlling PC connected to all the telescope hardware and placed very near the telescope. The amount of money you save by not having to buy 500 feet of custom cabling for direct connection to all devices or a LAN easily covers the cost of the remote console device.
  • This system is faster, cheaper and uses less equipment than setting up a LAN. Hardwired being first, this is the second best hook-up.
wireless connections
Wireless Connections
  • Wireless has it’s uses and works well for controlling the mount, focuser, filter wheels etc.
  • The hang up is the CCD image especially with larger mega-pixel CCD detectors!.
  • Wireless still does not have the performance of a hardwired system for transferring the data.
  • Wireless RS232 Serial Device Wi-Fi Aaxeon. Now here is a very handy device. The unit will convert RS-232 serial communications to standard 802.11b Wi-Fi! Great for controlling mounts, focusers and etc.
what is required distant remote observatory
What is required Distant Remote Observatory?
  • Computer at the observatory
  • Internet connection, chances are this would have to be via satellite dish.
  • Computer dome control
  • Weather detection system
  • Appropriate computer connections
    • Cabling at the observatory to the various devices.
      • Weather detection system
      • Dome
      • Mount
      • Focuser
      • CCD camera
  • A Power source
  • Joe Morris will cover this subject at a later meeting.