Robotic telescope astronomy – what’s it all about?

The age of the internet has brought about many changes over the last twenty years or so, and astronomy has been no exception. The concept many have of an amateur astronomer is someone outside in their garden, with telescope pointed skyward in eager anticipation of the wonders that await them through the eyepiece.

While only twenty years ago this was almost exclusively true, modern technology (specifically the age of high speed internet access) has brought amateurs closer than ever before to their professional counterparts. Even owning a telescope of your own is no longer a necessity to do worthwhile astronomy and astrophotography.

Logging onto remote telescopes via the internet has become an increasingly popular way for both novice and serious astronomers, amateur and professional to conduct observations. Observations of almost any kind can be undertaken.

The CHILESCOPE site in the southern hemisphere

A big advantage in using these systems to observe is they are situated at high altitude professional observatory class locations typically giving sky conditions well beyond what most amateur astronomers experience at home. Remote observatories are changing the way serious astronomy is done in the 21st century.

Jupiter with Io and Ganymede, imaged by Damian Peach with the 1m CHILESCOPE

While they can never replace the thrill of being out under the night sky with your own telescope they do serve as a powerful resource to make observations of almost any kind on demand.

Damian Peach

To find out more about this go to the BAA’s Robotic Telescope Section Page, or go to the section’s external website.

The British Astronomical Association supports amateur astronomers around the UK and the rest of the world. Find out more about the BAA or join us.