Robotic Telescope Project Web Page Updates

Forums Imaging Robotic Telescope Project Web Page Updates

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    Posted by Peter Meadows at 20:27 on 2011 Feb 21

    The BAA Robotic Telescope Project can now be easily found under the Sections menu of the main BAA web page (or directly at The main RTP page has been updated to include brief details of current projects so that is easier to see what type of observing programmes the RTP is being used for. There is also a list of BAA news articles and papers that refer to the RTP.If you are interested in the RTP please email or reply to this posting.Best wishes,Peter


    Posted by Mike Harlow at 13:19 on 2011 Mar 03

    Good to see a bit more information on the RTP page about what is actually going on. It would be very useful if each project had a contact name and e-mail associated with it. Then any member keen to get involved could contact the project leader to discuss the work being done and how to get involved.Incidentally some stray html source code has leaked into the table of activities on the RTP page.Another issued I asked to be discussed at the December 2010 BAA council meeting was the availability of the images produced by the robotic telescope projects. Given that the BAA, i.e. all the members, contribute 50% of the cost of the telescope time I would expect all the images produced to be available to all members. I understand that there was considerable resistance to this proposal amongst council members. What do ordinary members (like me) think about this? I for one would like to see what my money is being spent on. But more than that seeing what these telescopes can do would certainly encourage others to get involved.I like the NASA approach where all their raw images are made available on the internet for anyone to look at. That doesnt stop NASA producing copious numbers of research papers and conference proceedings. After all, the clever bit is in the image processing, interpretation and publishing of the results.Any comments???Mike Harlow


    Posted by Gary Poyner at 13:33 on 2011 Mar 03

    I personally don’t see why the images shouldn’t be available for any member to see. Sounds like a good idea to me, and as you say gives a higher profile as to the quality of the remote telesope being used. I’d like to hear more about the objections made to this proposal though.The Bradford Robotic Telescope retain the copyright of all images taken with their instruments, and all images are freely available to anyone with an account. OK, one doesn’t have to cough up any cash to use the BRT, but the system works well enough.If I had paid money towards an image taken under the Robotic Telescope Project, it wouldn’t bother me who saw it, or if it was freely available to members. I would also be OK with that image being used by someone else for a paper perhaps, providing everyone concerned was credited properly.Gary


    Posted by Andrea Tasselli at 16:33 on 2011 Mar 04

    Ahem…Being the "owner" (for lack of better words) of one of the ongoing observational projects (that is the first one) listed there I feel I should spend few words on the subject. The normal approach in astronomical research (as well as in many others scientific endeavours) is to reserve the right of access of the acquired data to the principal investigator and/or team until proper paper(s) is/are published, this for obvious reasons which have to do with priority of discovery as well as other various, often financial, reasons. In the specific case of these baa-founded project the actual "owner" actually has ownership for slightly more than 50% (since he/she funded both the remaining 50% and his/her share as baa member). Therefore I do see an issue in terms of ownerships of the rights of the data until a paper is produced or the data itself is released to the public by the "owner". In addition to that in due course the "owner" may well have increased the personal contribution to the project so that the actual personal pecuniary share is (far) larger than the original 50% plus (as it is in my case).In the hypotetical case of (me) releasing all the raw images what would be preventing anyone else to do the data analysis and publish the results him/herself? On top of this there is the sheer weight of the data, which can be in the order of 100s of MB. Is there enough capacity in the baa server to handle potential GBs of data?This said, if the council decide that the data should be released to other baa members at large I’ll obligingly comply. At present however I’ll only release jpg images to the interested parties, if available.Andrea T.


    Posted by Gary Poyner at 18:04 on 2011 Mar 04

    If your undertaking research with your data (photometry for instance), with the end result being a paper for BAAJ, then you wouldn’t want your data to be freely avaialable until it was finished with and published. Of course! However if your taking pretty pictures to see how a particular variable nebula is behaving (images which are freely available from dozens of places on the web) then I see no problem with the BAA releasing some of these. Are all images obtained in the name of research with the aim for publication? I guess it’s what your intending on doing with it in the end that matters. However I’m hardly the person to argue this point, as I don’t see myself paying for any images in the future (either with the BAA or anyone else). I was simply interested to hear what the objections were.To give you an example of my own remote observing with the AAVSO. I use the 50cm telescope at Sonoita Research Observatory in Arizona for photometry of magnetic CV’s. This is part of a network of telescopes run by the AAVSO called AAVSOnet. Everyone’s images are placed in a folder for retrieval once they have been completed (can be 10mb each with in my case 100+ images available each night). This folder is public! No passwords are required. Even non-members can get in and retrieve any image and analyse the data within it. Other than membership fees there is no cost involved, as this facility is open to any member who can put in a convincing research proposal.Gary


    Posted by Jeremy at 19:05 on 2011 Mar 04

    Of course the images paid for (at least partially) the BAA should be made available for all members to see and use (with appropriate credit). I see no problem with other people making use of the images for their own study/research. Science is all about making the original data for others to use the main challenge is often in the interpretation of the basic data (in this case images).Andrea asks:>>in the hypothetical case of (me) releasing all the raw images what would be preventing anyone else to do the data analysis and publish the results him/herself? <<Absolutely nothing prevents this. And thats a good thing: it should be encouraged. Maybe the final results and conclusions will be different from yours. In such a case, it may lead to further understanding. Thats what science is about. If one pays for the results out of ones own pocket, then one can decide when to release the images/data etc. But if BAA member services have paid, then they should be freely available to all members.This is already common in the field of VS research too. Every day dozens of observers upload their data (including data reduced from CCD images) to the AAVSO web site (and other groups like BAA VSS and Center for Backyard Astrophysics), making them freely available for others to use immediately.Go well!Jeremy


    Posted by Peter Meadows at 17:03 on 2011 Mar 05

    Hi Mike,Can I suggest that you email myself, as the RTP coordinator, if you wish to contact any of the project leaders ( As coordinator it would be useful to know who wishes to become involved in any of the current projects. I’ve added this to the main RTP page.The html problems have been fixed – these only occurred for IE.The question of the availability of images to other BAA members is still be considered. My view is that if the project leaders wish to make their images available to other members then this can only be done on a voluntary basis as there was no requirement to provide these when applying for the 50% BAA subsidy.Peter


    Posted by Grant Privett at 22:36 on 2012 Jul 05

    You would be amazed how few decent images are available of variable nebula. And even then when I have emailed the owners asking for FITS versions I get no reply.

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