We are currently developing a web interface which will permit observers to log on, and request images taken with our 30cm telescope. More, larger telescopes will be added later. You will find some preliminary information on this page.
While working in professional observatory, I had a web interface for telescope time request developed in... 1994, so for me the subject is not exactly new. The interface will provide the capacity to make "nice images" , mosaic of color images (filter wheel with L, R, G, B, Halpha, OIII and SII filters), as well as to undertake scientific projects (variable star light curve, asteroid search, SN search, etc...), with calibration of the images and data reduction made on site. We currently have a server with 2.5 terabytes of hard disk space.
General philosophy :
We are developing an interface allowing you to specify a given observation on our telescopes. The problem is that the notion of "observation" is not a simple one. An observation can be a single image taken at a given position in the sky, with a given exposure time, through a given colored filter, and with a given binning. Except it is almost never this case, a given image being generally made of a sum of several images. Instead of doing 20 minutes of exposures, one normally takes 10 2 minutes exposures, added together later, so that if something happens during the 20 minutes of exposure time, the single 20 minutes exposure is ruined, where as if there are 10 shorter images, if one is ruined, the rest is still useable. On the sum of images there is a way of removing cosmic ray hits on the detector, leaving a much cleaner image than a single 20 minutes exposure. Very often though, one wants to make a color image, and such an image is a series of images, made through several filters eventually with different binnings. Then in order to make larger images, one can make a mosaic of images, each made through filters, sum of a number of individual images. Finally, one can choose to study a few variable stars, survey galaxies for supernovae searches, photometry or discovery of asteroids, etc... in this case one can take a sequence of images of different fields in a repetitive manner during the night. In order to minimize the use of internet on our link we can only provide preprocessed images (i.e. final images, sums of preprocessed individual images).
We will provide a technical glossary at the end of this document. The first step for you to apply for exposures is to contact us so as to obtain a username and a password. Then you will be able to enter to the other pages, and specify the type of images you want to do, with the coordinates of the field, exposure time, etc... The next step for you is then to pay online for the requested amount. When this is done, we put your list of observations in line on our telescope. When the images will have been taken, you will be notified and your preprocessed images will be accessible on our ftp site. Documentation will be available for you to specidy and recover the data you want to obtain.