Big Dipper to Southern Cross

Brilliance of the southern Milky Way which can be so bright on a clear moonless night that you can even cast a shadow from its light is something that people living in Northern Hemisphere only heard of. Same way, the never ending beauty of the Northern sky is such a mystery to Southern people.

Big Dipper to Southern Cross” brings these two hemispheres together making “One sky, One people.”

Remote Observing Project
The year 2009 has been a truly astronomical year for earthlings from every corner of the world. It has inspired and given the opportunity to many to discover the beauty of the Universe. Using the momentum given by IYA2009, Astronomers Without Borders has organized a remote observing project – Big Dipper to Southern Cross – giving a kick start to 2010 bringing the celestial experience, living up to AWB’s motto – One People, One Sky.

There will be two telescopes -- one in the northern hemisphere and one in the south -- on two different nights will be going live. No experience is needed. This is a chance to watch as an experienced telescope operator and guide show how they capture the wonders of the night sky.

This event, part of the activities of Astronomers Without Borders’ Remote Observing Project, will be possible thanks to the support of the Virtual Telescope Project and Global Rent-a-Scope

In case of bad weather at the observing stations, the event will be run using backup images or rescheduled.

How to take part:
a) you just need a computer connected to the internet, with loudspeakers or headphones.
b) you also need to install the free Flash plugin. (If you can see and hear videos on YouTube then your system is ready).
c) just enter this page at the dates and times of the "double" event: 8 Jan 2010 (20:00-22:00 UT) for the northern event and 10 Jan 2010 (12:30-14:30 UT) for the southern one!

Northern Hemisphere – Virtual Telescope (Italy)
Virtual Telescope from Italy will broadcast images and narrative live, allowing people around the world to share in viewing and imaging the best northern celestial objects.

Date - Friday 8th of January 2010
Time – 20:00 UT – 22:00 UT

Southern Hemisphere – GRAS (Australia)
The brilliance and special objects of the southern sky will be captured by the GRAS Remote Telescope in Southern Australia.

Date – Sunday 10th of January 2010
Time – 12:30UT – 14:30 UT

Go to the Virtual Telescope's Big Dipper to Southern Cross page at the dates and times of the event.

Northern Hemisphere – Virtual Telescope (Italy)
Telescope: C14-f/8.7
Aperture/focal length (in mm) and f/d - 356/3100; f/8.7
Mount - Paramount ME robotic mount
Scale 0.62"/pixel
Filters – LRGB, H-alpha 6nm, BVRI (Bessel)

Southern Hemisphere – GRAS (Australia)
Telescope: Deep Space - RCOS 12.5" - FL 1950 @ f/6.3
Design: Ritchey-Chr├ętien Cassegrain
Camera: SBIG ST-8 NABG
FOV Arc mins: 24.1 x 16.8
Resolution (Arc secs/pixels): 0.95
Pixel Array: 1530 x 1020
Megapixels: 1.5
Pixel Size: 9um
Filters: L, UBVRI, Ha, SII, OIII, Blue

Background info
I thought of sharing how the project came alive as well. It’s always interesting to see how much work put to get a good project going.

During IYA2009, there were plenty of Remote Observing sessions. One of the biggest advantages remote sessions have is the opportunity of being part of an observing event even if it’s day time for you, or if you are not able to access a good telescope.

Living in an island – Sri Lanka – closer to the equator, we never could see the North Star – Polaris or the beauty of the Magellan Clouds, unless of course you travel out. This gave me the idea to use the remote observatories around the world making it possible to witness the Northern and the Southern celestial beauties, thus giving birth to the Project – Big Dipper to Southern Cross.
First to approach was of course Mike Simmons of AWB, and he was more than happy to make it an AWB remote observing project. I had Gianluca Masi’s Virtual Telescope in mind for the Northern Telescope. Discussion and planning started, Mike brought Terry Bridges (100HA) and Gianluca Masi who confirmed his support by giving telescope time at the Virtual Telescope for the Northern phase. Arnie Rosner of Global Rent-a-Scope (GRAS) was very keen on giving telescope time at one of their telescopes in Australia and Tony Farkas (GRAS) helped through accessing GRAS telescopes.
For the Northern phase there were no problems as Gianluca Masi is very experienced handling remote sessions. We had to find best ways to access and host the GRAS telescope in Australia.
Finally with so much of discussion, testing and efforts from all of us, the project came alive. I should specially thanks Terry and Gianluca for spending time doing testing for the Southern facility.

Big Dipper to Southern Cross (BDSC)
Virtual Telescope – BDSC
BDSC at Facebook
BDSC at IYA2009


totalcontrol said...

Excellent blog Thilina! Looking forward to these events :-)

Anahita said...

I think we live in universe not in our city and country !!!
your blog is very nice and that name is too!!!
take care
Anahita Mostajeran
Anahita means Goddess of water in persian