It is easy to set up a schedule to take images of objects using our Observation Request Form. This form contains an extensive list of catalogs with hundreds of thousands of objects that you can choose to observe. You can also set a specific RA and DEC coordinate in the sky to have the telescope slew to and track instead of selecting an object from the catalogs. You can set multiple exposure times, series of exposures separated by fixed times, specific dates and times to run, multiple filters, and more.
When planning your imaging sessions you should be aware of the general specifications of our observatory systems to make the best use of your time and to get the results you desire. You can refer to the specifications for each observatory at the following observatory site pages on our web site:
To make the best use of your valuable imaging time you should have a plan for how you want to schedule your images. Before you set a schedule request you should at least be aware of some basic information about your intended object or the coordinates you set to point a telescope such as:
The position of an object in the sky, the local time, and the date together determine which objects you might consider for a specific observing run. Ideally, you want to image objects when they are as high in the sky as possible to look though the least amount of atmosphere and attain the best seeing for that night. The highest point in the sky an object can reach at any location is when it transits (crosses) the meridian. After crossing the meridian, an object gradually gets lower again in the sky. The good news is that the SSON master scheduling program automatically schedules the timing of your images during the optimal time for a selected night. In other words the scheduling program sets your images to be taken as close to transit as possible.
You also should concentrate on objects that transit high enough in the sky at the latitude of the observatory site you choose for imaging. For example, an object that never transits higher than 25 degrees altitude above the southern horizon for an observatory located in the Northern Hemisphere is a good candidate to image with a Southern Hemisphere observatory where the same object would appear high in the sky.
You can easily avoid making basic mistakes with a little planning before submitting your observation requests. Using online or computer planetarium programs you can quickly check whether an object will be OK to image for a given date and observatory location.
Also, check out the SNR and Exposure Times Guide for more information to help you plan your imaging sessions.
The SSON telescopes are powerful scientific astronomical imaging systems designed to provide a relatively wide field of view, excellent quantum efficiency, low noise and excellent photometric capabilities. These characteristics open up many observing possibilities to our users. You should also consider the following points for planning your observing session.
Many of the best high-quality color images you see in Astronomy magazine, Sky and Telescope magazine and web sites online, are created using filtered images and combining them with one of the many available image processing software programs. One of the most popular and effective color image processing techniques is called LRGB for Luminance, Red, Green, and Blue color processing in which clear, red filter, green filter, and blue filter images are combined together to produce a color image. The B, V, and R filters on the SSO telescope approximate well with B, G, and R filters respectively and together with using our Clear (no filter) setting produce excellent LRGB color processing results.
Many SSON users user our remote observatories for scientific projects. Doing science can be very fulfilling and rewarding. You can discover new things, analyze existing systems, and simply experiment and explore using the SSON telescopes. There are many potential projects that come to mind including the following abbreviated list.