In typical nightly use, the wide field and planetary telescope and cameras record images of favorably placed objects in the sky, including constellations, bright variable stars, nebulae through narrow-band filters, comets, the Moon, and planets. An archive of best images is maintained on-line.
The Takahashi Mewlon 300 is a 0.3-meter (~12-inch) f/12 Dall-Kirkham and an Allied Video Technology (AVT) Prosilica high speed video color camera record images of planets and other bright objects with sub-arcsecond resolution. Its long focal length yields diffraction-limited lucky imaging when seeing permits. The images are displayed to remote users immediately through a browser in a convenient high quality compressed format. Uncompressed FITS files may be downloaded from our servers.
The Takahashi FSQ-106ED apochromatic f/5 telescope and Apogee U9000 CCD camera provide quantitative science images over a 4° field of stars at least as faint as 18th magnitude, in exposure times up to 100 seconds. Filters for photometry, color imaging, and selecting emission from hydrogen or other gases are available. With the Hα filter, for example, faint nebulae in Milky Way stand out even in our light polluted skies.
A tandem Nikon 85 mm f/1.4 lens on an Nikon D200 camera (not shown) may be attached to record full color images in 10 second exposures of a field 15.7°x10.5°, ideal for seeing colors of stars, following paths of planets, viewing the tails of comets, and spotting asteroids.
The telescopes are mounted on a modified Paramount driven by a Galil Motion Controls motor controller and XmTel software.
All of the images, processed data, software, and instructional materials developed at Shared Skies observatories are offered free for non-commercial use with Creative Commons or GPL licenses after a short proprietary period. Shared Skies telescopes are available for use by students at the University of Louisville and the University of Southern Queensland, and by teachers and students in middle and high schools mentored by faculty at the universities. To arrange to use the telescopes live, or for robotic observations and access to archival data, please contact us by email to kielkopf at louisville dot edu.