Last Thursday evening (04th February) was so much anxious, for I was waiting for a great astronomy event to start. Not only me, a lot of my facebook friends and many others kept on sitting till the very time, for the Live event with Virtual Telescope flocking together to a unique webpage http://virtualtelescope.bellatrixobservatory.org/ despite the different geographical locations they represented.
Dr. Gianluca Masi the prominent Italian astronomer and astrophysicist, who brought all of us this superb virtual experience from his personal observatory in Ceccano, Italy.
The virtual telescope is a robotic telescope that anyone can access remotely and conduct observations. So far it has yielded an incredible service to all who use it. This Live event was a journey that Gianluca took all of us starting from the great hunter Orion and ending from Mars.
As I was joining from Sri Lanka, it was around 1.00 am on 5th, the program got started. Here is the facebook event that had been created to invite guests to the show.
Soon the event commenced and we got started with the show, We had a separate chat room, to share thoughts and interact with others joining the event online, in addition to the virtual screen which was reflecting what is being focused by the Virtual Telescope in real time. Gianluca was giving commentary all the way from the start to the end, and he answered the questions asked through the general chat.
This Live event with Virtual Telescope brought a surprise to all, which was the activity of McNeil's nebula, which has been extensively studied by Gianluca and he, himself was amazed at this new discovery accidentally made. He also explained on how to manipulate the system software and even conduct scientific studies with it, such as usage of image reduction and analysis.
Throughout the show we witnessed the Eskimo nebula, Orion nebula, McNeil's nebula, Mars and a whole lot of celestial bodies. All of us were fortunate that the weather was very good providing us with ideal condition needed for observation, although the winter temperature was pretty freezing in Italy.
Well, this is now beyond IYA and I believe that the boost we all got from IYA2009 is driving us through the correct path, which will of course result in a wide range of astronomical discoveries, taking place in the near times to come. As per what I reckon, this is quite equivalent to the Big Bang ==> Inflation ==> Expansion
In the end I'd thank Dr. Gianluca Masi for his initiative with virtual telescope. I'm looking forward to more events like this, allowing the collective observation to happen, which has a sense of both interesting and funny side as well, when you are with a group of people rather than you're just being on your own.
Here are some screen shots that were really unforgettable and noteworthy.