With Live Sessions, you can take control of our 1-m telescope and obtain raw images of planets.
Each session lasts 1-hour and costs 225 credits if you are in Silver, or 180 credits (20% discount) if you are in Gold. No moon discount is applied as the moon doesn't affect planetary imaging.
You will be assisted throughout the entire session by our tutor Damian Peach, who will help you throughout and answer any questions.
Before joining a live session, you should make sure you fully understand the process of obtaining planetary images. Read this page carefully and watch this tutorial series by Damian Peach.
The process is very simple:
- Submit a new Advanced Request, and select "Planetary Imaging"
- Pick a time slot where the planet of choice is observable and when the weather is predicted to be clear. If you are experienced, you can observe up to two planets in the same session if both planets are visible.
- Excellent seeing conditions are required for planetary imaging. You should therefore check the jet stream forecast for the chosen date and time to make sure that the wind is calm. You can check the Jet Stream forecast from here.
- The day before your booked session, you will be contacted by our staff for further instructions on how to connect remotely to the computer controlling the telescope. You will need to download and install TeamViewer on your PC.
- If the weather forecast change or the seeing conditions are below the minimum standard, we might decide to cancel the session. In that case, you will be obviously fully refunded.
- If the weather is clear and the session is confirmed, you will need to connect to the telescope computer remotely using TeamViewer and the credentials communicated earlier via email.
- During the live session, you will capture videos using Firecapture. Watch the first tutorial on Damian Peach's tutorial series on live sessions of planetary imaging.
- A single live session can generate up to 1 Terabyte of data. It is unfeasible to transfer these videos out of the observatory, due to limited bandwidth. Pre-processing of the data will therefore be done on-site.
- Once the session has ended, the videos captured will be transferred to another computer on-site within a few hours. You will be granted access to this computer through TeamViewer. The computer will be equipped with the software needed to pre-process the videos and create image stacks. You can watch the second tutorial on Damian Peach's tutorial series on live sessions of planetary imaging, where he shows how to use AutoStakkert to create image stacks.
- You will then be able to download the image stacks on your computer to proceed with post-processing and the creation of a final color image.