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Remote observatory control with EAGLE

Astronomical observatories are often installed in remote and isolated places to avoid light pollution. In this article we will see how EAGLE helps control the remote observatory starting from the example of the Cortina Astronomical Association that has an important astronomical observatory in Col Drusciè, at 1,780 meters above sea level above Cortina d'Ampezzo (Italy). The entire observatory can be remotely controlled via the Internet thanks to a sophisticated and innovative "Sky on the Web" Internet control system, which allows control of remote observatory: from pointing, to imaging, to weather emergency management, up to archiving and downloading images on home computer.

 

Cortina Astronomical Association installed several CCD cameras on the telescopes of their Col Drusciè remote observatory, but connection and power cables were too long to connect to their remote control computers. Let's see how we solved the problem by installing EAGLE directly on the telescope.

 

 

Thanks to advanced technology of their remote observatory, under the program CROSS (Col drusciè Remote Observatory Supernovae Search program) they already discovered 40 supernovae and an asteroid, called "Cortina". In order to allow remote control of the new imaging systems installed on the different telescopes and therefore maintain the high level of research by the association, we have integrated EAGLE in the Col Drusciè remote observatory, visible in the image below.

 

Remote observatory control with EAGLE: Col Drusciè astronomical observatory Remote observatory control with EAGLE: Col Drusciè astronomical observatory

 

EAGLE has been installed on the observatory telescope by connecting in a very simple way to a Losmandy dovetail bar by using a Vixen+Losmandy PLUS dovetail clamp. This way we connected all the cameras (and a SESTO SENSO robotic focusing motor) to the USB ports of the EAGLE (with very short USB cables). The same cameras are now powered through the EAGLE with the appropriate power cables.

 

Remote observatory control with EAGLE: installing the EAGLE on the telescope Remote observatory control with EAGLE: installing the EAGLE on the telescope

 

Then the EAGLE has been connected to the observatory network for simple remote control. This way we solved the problem of connecting all the cameras and other devices that now can also be switched on and off remotely. We ended the night with the capture of several Jupiter videos through a USB 3.0 planetary camera: thanks to the direct connection to EAGLE on the telescope with a short USB cable and the fast EAGLE internal SSD disk, we recorded 2 minutes movies composed by 7200 frames (60 fps)!

 

Remote observatory control with EAGLE: now all the devices are remotely controlled, also via the internet. Remote observatory control with EAGLE: now all the devices are remotely controlled, also via the internet.