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OBSERVATORY COMMAND CENTER

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Welcome to the Observatory Command Center! As a community member, you can command robotic telescopes at world class observing sites like the Canary Islands, off the west coast of Africa.

Make your own reservation now by clicking a GREEN Available Slot in the schedule. If all the slots are booked, move ahead a day in the schedule by clicking the red date flags.
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Now select an object to be viewed using Quick Pick or Choose From List. These lists represent celestial objects that are in the night sky during your selected viewing time.

Members can also point the telescopes by entering a Catalog Number or Coordinates which will provide access to additional features such as processing recipes, auto-snap, and calibrated FITS images.

Once your slot is confirmed, the telescope will point to that object at the designated time. Both PNG and FITS image files are saved in My Pics for easy retrieval. Continue
Advanced users have access to additional features, including adjusting the processing recipes, auto-snap and calibrated FITS images. Click the Advanced button to review further.
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It's that easy! Become a community member today to confirm your reservation.

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Canary Islands Reservations
Image: Mercury from Orbit, NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center
Whats Up This Week

If you'd like to know some of the best objects to image this week, check out the What's Up This Week page in the Clubhouse.

It also includes observatory opening times in worldwide time-zones.

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Canary Islands Observatory
Missions offline during daylight hours
Chile Observatory
Missions offline during daylight hours.
Auto-Snap

Auto-Snap will automatically save all of the images from this mission to your My Pics area. No need to snap, or even enter the Mission Interface. Just check the Auto-Snap box and then view your images after the mission is complete.

Color Mode
THIS FEATURE WILL BECOME AVAILABLE IN A FUTURE RELEASE

Normal color imaging is achieved by taking a long monochrome exposure through a luminance filter, which is essentially clear, but with UV and IR blocking. This is then colorized by adding shorter monochrome exposures taken through red, green, and blue filters. However, it is possible to obtain different results by following the same exposure and processing routines, just substituting a different filter for the Luminance exposure. This is often called a "filtered luminance" process, but that's a bit of a misnomer since a normal luminance exposure uses a filter as well.

RRGB

Using a red filter will intensify emission nebulae and help eliminate Moon glare, which is predominantly blue in color. It is also used frequently for planetary imaging where the planet can be too bright with a normal luminance filter. This mode does not work well with galaxies and reflection nebulae which have significant amounts of blue light.

HαRGB

Using a hydrogen-alpha narrowband filter for luminance further intensifies emission nebulae but results in a fainter overall image since the Hα admits so much less light. Again, does not work well with galaxies and reflection nebulae, although it does highlight the emission nebulae and star-forming regions in distant galaxies.

Monochrome Filter
THIS FEATURE WILL BECOME AVAILABLE IN A FUTURE RELEASE

Monochrome imaging takes just one long exposure (or a stack of several shorter ones) through just a single filter. The resulting image is monochrome (greyscale), even through is it taken through a color filter. Using this technique, images from several missions taken through different filters can be combined offline to achieve the equivalent of a much longer color exposure (up to 30 minutes or more). It is also possible to use narrowband or photometric filters on some scopes to create false color images.

Deliver Calibrated FITS Images

Images are normally delivered in a lossless PNG format, after various image processing recipes have been applied. FITS (Flexible Image Transport System) images on the other hand, are raw files representing the direct output of the CCD camera, with no image processing applied. These images have, however, been calibrated, meaning that dark, flat and bias frame processing has already been applied. Note that specialized astronomical image processing software is required to read FITS images.

If selected, the FITS images will be downloaded generally within 24 hours and will be available from a link next to the PNG image in your My Pics area. You will also be informed via email when the images are ready.

NOTE: Auto-Snap must be enabled to get FITS images.

Processing Recipes

All recipes use a long luminance exposure followed by shorter red, green, and blue exposures. The monochrome luminance is delivered first, followed by a merged LRGB. The exact exposure times and processing vary by system. For instance, on the Canary Islands dome 1 HM system, two luminance exposures, each similar in length to the single exposure on other systems, are taken and stacked for the final luminance image. On photographically slow systems (such as the f/11 Canary Islands dome 2 HM), the color images are taken at a higher binning and a gaussian blur is applied before the merge to reduce color noise.

Note that several bright objects, such as the Orion Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy, and most planets use custom imaging and processing routines tailored specifically for each object. These targets should be imaged using the "Choose from List" option in order to employ the custom processing. None of the recipes available for catalog and coordinate missions will image these targets well.

The general differences between processing recipes are as follows:

Generic Recipe

A low contrast linear stretch is applied to both the delivered luminance image and the merged LRGB image.

Bright Star Recipe

A low contrast stretch with a high gamma is applied to darken the sky background. On some systems, the high-mag scope is disabled due to blooming issues.

Open Cluster Recipe

Similar to the Generic Recipe.

Globular Cluster Recipe

An FFT based DDP algorithm is applied to aid in resolving both the cluster center and edges. After DDP, a high gamma stretch is used with parameters similar to those used for the Moon.

Bright Galaxy or Comet Recipe

A kernel low-pass DDP helps to resolve the bright nucleus. A low-contrast stretch with a high gamma is applied to the delivered luminance image. The merged LRGB image receives a low-contrast stretch with a low gamma and localized contrast enhancement.

Faint Galaxy or Comet Recipe

A medium contrast stretch with a low gamma is applied to dig out faint details.

Large Bright Nebula Recipe

A low contrast, low gamma stretch is applied to the luminance images. After color merging, a high gamma stretch is used. This recipe assumes there is little to no dark background sky in the image.

Small Bright Nebula Recipe

A low gamma Moon stretch is applied to the luminance images. After color merging, a linear stretch is used. This recipe is designed mainly for planetary nebulae.

Faint Nebula Recipe

A medium contrast stretch with low gamma is applied.

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Selected Target

Visible Targets:
Catalog:
format:
example:
Designation:

Processing:  
RA:    h    m    s   (J2000.0)
Dec:    °    '    "
RA:       Dec:  
Target Name:  (optional)

Processing:  
 Auto-Snap 
Color Mode 
LRGB
RRGB
HαRGB
Monochrome Filter 
Luminance
Red
Green
Blue

O-III
S-II
Photometric U
Photometric B
Photometric V
Photometric R
Photometric I
Deliver Calibrated FITS Images 
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  Wednesday, October 1st
19:47 UTC
12:47pm PDT / 3:47pm EDT
First Quarter Moon
Scheduled by SLOOH
19:52 UTC
12:52pm PDT / 3:52pm EDT
17h 46m 58s -38° 45' 11"
Reserved by SamuelD
SLOOH member since November 16th, 2004
19:57 UTC
12:57pm PDT / 3:57pm EDT
Ring Nebula (M57)
Reserved by AlexanderS
SLOOH member since March 12th, 2013
20:02 UTC
1:02pm PDT / 4:02pm EDT
Stephan's Quintet (NGC 7318)
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SLOOH member since September 7th, 2014
20:07 UTC
1:07pm PDT / 4:07pm EDT
IC 4553
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SLOOH member since February 28th, 2008
20:12 UTC
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Bow-Tie Nebula (NGC 40)
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20:17 UTC
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20:22 UTC
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20:27 UTC
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23h 10m 50s +45° 30' 46"
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20:32 UTC
1:32pm PDT / 4:32pm EDT
M31
Reserved by SuzieH
SLOOH member since September 1st, 2007
20:37 UTC
1:37pm PDT / 4:37pm EDT
Great Hercules Cluster (M13)
Reserved by StephenS
SLOOH member since April 22nd, 2014
20:42 UTC
1:42pm PDT / 4:42pm EDT
Saturn Nebula (NGC 7009)
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20:47 UTC
1:47pm PDT / 4:47pm EDT
19h 10m 47s +11° 21' 19"
Reserved by StevenH
SLOOH member since October 21st, 2012
20:52 UTC
1:52pm PDT / 4:52pm EDT
23h 22m 30s +41° 46' 03"
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20:57 UTC
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23h 22m 30s +42° 11' 20"
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21:02 UTC
2:02pm PDT / 5:02pm EDT
23h 23m 20s +42° 24' 22"
Reserved by RichardH
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21:07 UTC
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23h 23m 43s +41° 54' 36"
Reserved by RichardH
SLOOH member since May 26th, 2014
21:12 UTC
2:12pm PDT / 5:12pm EDT
Little Dumbbell Nebula (M76)
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21:17 UTC
2:17pm PDT / 5:17pm EDT
0h 28m 29s +39° 58' 47"
Reserved by RussellG
SLOOH member since May 26th, 2014
21:22 UTC
2:22pm PDT / 5:22pm EDT
0h 33m 33s +45° 08' 55"
Reserved by RussellG
SLOOH member since May 26th, 2014
21:27 UTC
2:27pm PDT / 5:27pm EDT
1h 27m 18s +43° 25' 00"
Reserved by RussellG
SLOOH member since May 26th, 2014
21:32 UTC
2:32pm PDT / 5:32pm EDT
1h 27m 03s +37° 43' 07"
Reserved by RussellG
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21:37 UTC
2:37pm PDT / 5:37pm EDT
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21:42 UTC
2:42pm PDT / 5:42pm EDT
Andromeda Galaxy (M31)
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21:47 UTC
2:47pm PDT / 5:47pm EDT
IC 7
Reserved by ScottW
SLOOH member since September 7th, 2014
21:52 UTC
2:52pm PDT / 5:52pm EDT
IC 17
Reserved by ScottW
SLOOH member since September 7th, 2014
21:57 UTC
2:57pm PDT / 5:57pm EDT
IC 57
Reserved by ScottW
SLOOH member since September 7th, 2014
22:02 UTC
3:02pm PDT / 6:02pm EDT
IC 87
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SLOOH member since September 7th, 2014
22:07 UTC
3:07pm PDT / 6:07pm EDT
IC 97
Reserved by ScottW
SLOOH member since September 7th, 2014
22:12 UTC
3:12pm PDT / 6:12pm EDT
Bow-Tie Nebula (NGC 40)
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22:17 UTC
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22:22 UTC
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22:42 UTC
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Cetus Bubble Nebula (NGC 246)
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23:12 UTC
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Little Dumbbell Nebula (M76)
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23:17 UTC
4:17pm PDT / 7:17pm EDT
20h 03m 04s +59° 06' 55"
Reserved by Łukasz_M
SLOOH member since January 19th, 2010
23:22 UTC
4:22pm PDT / 7:22pm EDT
20h 03m 04s +59° 06' 55"
Reserved by Łukasz_M
SLOOH member since January 19th, 2010
23:27 UTC
4:27pm PDT / 7:27pm EDT
20h 03m 04s +59° 06' 55"
Reserved by Łukasz_M
SLOOH member since January 19th, 2010
23:32 UTC
4:32pm PDT / 7:32pm EDT
20h 03m 04s +59° 06' 55"
Reserved by Łukasz_M
SLOOH member since January 19th, 2010
23:37 UTC
4:37pm PDT / 7:37pm EDT
20h 03m 04s +59° 06' 55"
Reserved by Łukasz_M
SLOOH member since January 19th, 2010
23:42 UTC
4:42pm PDT / 7:42pm EDT
Herschel's Garnet Star (Mu Cephei)
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23:47 UTC
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23:57 UTC
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2h 21m 30s +46° 24' 55"
Reserved by RussellG
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00:02 UTC
5:02pm PDT / 8:02pm EDT
IC 10
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00:07 UTC
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00:12 UTC
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Veil Nebula (East) (NGC 6992)
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00:42 UTC
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Veil Nebula (East) (NGC 6992)
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01:12 UTC
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Veil Nebula (East) (NGC 6992)
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01:32 UTC
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2h 44m 15s +20° 05' 54"
Reserved by DonC
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01:37 UTC
6:37pm PDT / 9:37pm EDT
2h 44m 15s +20° 05' 54"
Reserved by DonC
SLOOH member since March 9th, 2013
01:42 UTC
6:42pm PDT / 9:42pm EDT
Veil Nebula (East) (NGC 6992)
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01:47 UTC
6:47pm PDT / 9:47pm EDT
4h 47m 41s +34° 46' 23"
Reserved by JosephC
SLOOH member since March 11th, 2014
01:52 UTC
6:52pm PDT / 9:52pm EDT
5h 11m 49s +36° 30' 29"
Reserved by JosephC
SLOOH member since March 11th, 2014
01:57 UTC
6:57pm PDT / 9:57pm EDT
5h 16m 06s +36° 32' 15"
Reserved by JosephC
SLOOH member since March 11th, 2014
02:02 UTC
7:02pm PDT / 10:02pm EDT
5h 17m 43s +37° 56' 14"
Reserved by JosephC
SLOOH member since March 11th, 2014
02:07 UTC
7:07pm PDT / 10:07pm EDT
5h 17m 55s +37° 23' 36"
Reserved by JosephC
SLOOH member since March 11th, 2014
02:12 UTC
7:12pm PDT / 10:12pm EDT
X Cluster (M34)
Scheduled by SLOOH
02:17 UTC
7:17pm PDT / 10:17pm EDT
2h 44m 15s +20° 05' 54"
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02:22 UTC
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02:42 UTC
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Tulip Nebula (NGC 2174)
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03:12 UTC
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Running Man Nebula (NGC 1977)
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03:17 UTC
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03:42 UTC
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Bow-Tie Nebula (NGC 40)
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03:52 UTC
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03:57 UTC
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2h 44m 18s +20° 07' 19"
Reserved by DonC
SLOOH member since March 9th, 2013
04:02 UTC
9:02pm PDT / 12:02am EDT
2h 44m 18s +20° 07' 19"
Reserved by DonC
SLOOH member since March 9th, 2013
04:07 UTC
9:07pm PDT / 12:07am EDT
TYC 1353 01550 1
Reserved by DonH
SLOOH member since November 2nd, 2008
04:12 UTC
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Gold Dust Cluster (M37)
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04:17 UTC
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04:42 UTC
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Intergalactic Wanderer (NGC 2419)
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05:12 UTC
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Little Dumbbell Nebula (M76)
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05:42 UTC
10:42pm PDT / 1:42am EDT
Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis)
Reserved by AlexanderS
SLOOH member since March 12th, 2013
05:47 UTC
10:47pm PDT / 1:47am EDT
9h 06m 31s +69° 30' 31"
Reserved by AlexanderS
SLOOH member since March 12th, 2013
05:52 UTC
10:52pm PDT / 1:52am EDT
9h 14m 38s +56° 13' 22"
Reserved by AlexanderS
SLOOH member since March 12th, 2013
05:57 UTC
10:57pm PDT / 1:57am EDT
10h 11m 56s +29° 41' 41"
Reserved by AlexanderS
SLOOH member since March 12th, 2013
06:02 UTC
11:02pm PDT / 2:02am EDT
Jupiter
Scheduled by SLOOH
06:07 UTC
11:07pm PDT / 2:07am EDT
Jupiter
Scheduled by SLOOH
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