An autonomous telescope implementation at the USQ Mount Kent Observatory

Masters Thesis

Sinclair, Scott. 2010. An autonomous telescope implementation at the USQ Mount Kent Observatory. Masters Thesis Master of Science. University of Southern Queensland.

An autonomous telescope implementation at the USQ Mount Kent Observatory

TypeMasters Thesis
AuthorSinclair, Scott
SupervisorCarter, Brad
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameMaster of Science
Number of Pages63

Over the past decade, the quality and sophistication of optical telescopes commercially available has dramatically increased, with instruments in a class previously only within the reach of professional facilities now commonly possessed by advanced amateurs. A corresponding reduction in cost not only for these optical assemblies, but also for
ancillary equipment such as high quality mounts, CCD cameras and computer hardware and software has meant that many areas of research, and in particular those appropriate
for high school and university students, are now far more accessible than before, vastly increasing interest in the study of astronomy and astrophysics. At the same time, there
has occurred a rapid expansion of the Internet, measurable in terms of its pervasiveness, richness of end-user experience and quality of infrastructure. The combination of these phenomena has meant that most of the issues that have stymied the development of remote and robotic observation have now been largely overcome.

Since early 2004, the author and co-contributors from the University of Southern Queensland’s Faculty of Sciences have been developing a system for remote and robotic
observation at the Mt Kent Observatory site near Toowoomba in South East Queensland, Australia. Reliable, online access to an observatory is provided, with students being able to conduct scientific-grade photometric and astrometric research using a system built primarily of commercial, off-the-shelf components. Further, fully
automated observation is possible, meaning the user is no longer required to interact with the observatory directly, instead being only required to submit imaging requests
and wait for their electronic delivery.

The various observatory components are described, example results presented and future
directions and possible applications discussed.

Keywordstelescope; University of Southern Queensland; Mount Kent Observatory
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020519999. Other physical sciences not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Sciences
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