AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

A Robotic Observatory System that Anyone Can Use for Education, Astro-Imaging, Research, or Fun! (Abstract)

Volume 47 number 2 (2019)

David Lane
FRASC Halifax Centre, Director, Burke-Gaffney Observatory, Saint Mary's University


(Abstract only) A Robotic Observatory System developed for the Burke-Gaffney and Abbey Ridge Observatories will be described. Since its announcement at the 2015 RASC General Assembly, over 8,000 observation requests have been completed! Its goal is to make the acquisition and processing of astronomical images easy and fun, whether used for research, education, astro-imaging, or just for fun. Communication is via a “chat bot” style interface (with a companion website) that responds to a comprehensive set of commands—simple enough for beginners or children but flexible enough to handle the needs of research projects (e.g. variable stars, exoplanets, etc.). Observers communicate by Twitter, email, an Android/MacOS/Windows app, or even by SMS text from any cell phone! Observation requests are queued and observations completed using a responsive queue engine. Some recent usage examples and future plans will also be presented.