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Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Night with Virtual Telescope along with Gianluca Masi

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 despite the different geographical locations they represented.

Gianluca, Masi
Moreover it's a privilege for me to mention 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.

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.

The elegant cosmic view through the virtual telescope

The audience waiting for the virtual telescope to go live, Gianluca is there in the top webcam screen

Navigation through heavenly bodies with virtual telescope

The curious audience :) Check out the chat window

The Eskimo nebula through the virtual telescope

The McNeil's nebula showing activity, this was the Gianluca's surprise

An H-alpha image as the software has reduced the original for research purposes

The Orion nebula

The virtual telescope, being manipulated in real time

Mars, the red planet, in the end ! What a view !!

The audience bidding farewell to each other and leaving the chat room after witnessing such an extraordinary experience: Thank you Gianluca ! Grazie !! Ciao !!!


THnak you very much for your report,Prasanna!

It is such entisiastic people like you making worth for me to run this project!

Looking forward to see again the stars together!

Thanks for this article. I fell asleep just before the event started, and I had been looking forward to it, since the time before was cloudy. What a great shot of Mars!

Thank you guys for the comments !

@ Gianluca : you're compliments are welcome !
I'm looking froward to the collaboration !!

@ Paulie : I'm sad you missed it. It was a whole new experience and all the way funny as well !!

Let's join in the next live session !!

I hope to see another live event soon, but I fell asleep before the last 3 events. I will need to sleep a little before the next one!

Well, be well informed prior to the event and have a long nap and get ready !

I hope Gianluca will schedule another one in a short period of time.

If you're so keen and can't wait you can purchase an allocated duration for remote controlling the VT, !