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FLO

Welcome to the IKI Observatory

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We announced the IKI (Ikarus Imaging) observatory project at the IAS show at the weekend but wanted to share the news here publicly with you all as well.

The IKI Observatory is going to be a remotely hosted astronomy setup in Castilléjar, Spain at https://www.pixelskiesastro.com/. FLO / Ikarus Imaging are sending out a setup in partnership with Optolong Filters and Starlight Xpress. The projects purpose is to provide a community based remote setup that we can collaborate on here on SGL - the data will be made publicly available free of charge and the targets will be chosen here on the forum. Time will be dedicated to scientific projects as well so we will be looking for suggestions for how we can use this and make it available to you all. The project will also be used to test and show case equipment so we anticipate swapping bits and pieces around every so often.

Here is the list of what is going over to Spain shortly:

  • StellaMira 104mm ED2 Triplet Refractor & Dedicated Flattener
  • 10Micron GM1000 Mount
  • Starlight Xpress 694, Lodestar X2, OAG and Filterwheel
  • Optolong LRGB / SHO 31mm Filters
  • Optec Flip-Flat
  • Lynx Astro Dew Controller & AstroZap Dew Heater Tapes
  • Astromi.ch Meteo Station
  • Lakeside Astro Motor Focus Controller
  • Pulsar Observatories Pier
  • Software - we are intending to use Sequence Generator Pro but we may trial other solutions as well.

We are expecting to to send over the equipment in the next few weeks and from there it will need to be setup and configured. We then plan to spend 2-3 weeks testing everything and ensuring all is well before we start making data available and accepting suggestions for targets / projects.

This is a new project, so things may need to be tweaked and changed but we welcome any thoughts / suggestions you all may have and hope this becomes a valuable community resource :)

Cheers,

Grant (on behalf of FLO / IKI)

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The setup was on display at the IAS show:

stellamira_telescope_at_ias.jpg

 

We will take additional photos / videos showing the process of sending the gear to Spain and commissioning the setup over there :)

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Wow! That's a giant leap, and an exciting one too. 

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More than a great idea, kudos to all involved.

Something else that I did not quite realise was the case at the IAS.
How did I get my cub Scout observers badge all those years ago.

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This is a really cool idea, guys especially for those members that want to keep their image processing skills alive when  capturing image data in the UK is halted by spells of poor weather!

The equipment choices look well thought out too.

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Glad you will be joining  my equipment  in Castillejar just don't bring bad weather with you.

Great initiative,  we need ways to sidestep the UK perma-cloud. 

Regards Andrew 

Edited by andrew s
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Whilst I don't generally hold with processing data I did not capture myself, I might well avail myself of this facility, when unable to do imaging myself just for the experience of seeing the difference in quality, but I will be certain to make it clear where the data came from.  Can also reach targets too low in the UK.

I am just wondering how this is going to work financially for you all though. i.e. is there going to be a charge to users, or just used as good advertising for FLO and IKI.

Carole 

 

 

Edited by carastro

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I noticed you are planning some scientific imaging. If you need precise timing I have a gps time server on the local area network in Castillejar which you can use to discipline you PC's clock.

If you are interested PM me and I will send info on how to access it.

Regards Andrew 

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12 minutes ago, carastro said:

Whilst I don't generally hold with processing data I did not capture myself, I might well avail myself of this facility, when unable to do imaging myself but I will be certain to make it clear where the data came from.  Can also reach targets too low in the UK.

I am just wondering how this is going to work financially for you all though. i.e. is there going to be a charge to users, or just used as good advertising for FLO and IKI.

Carole 

 

 

We have no plans now or ever to charges SGL members for access to the data - promise :)

For us, this will be a great test bed for new gear so we can get a lot of data in a much quicker space of time (250+ clear night a year!), it will give us images we can use for promotions / marketing / advertising (we always need nice pictures for banners etc..) and it will be a great way to let people see the results of this equipment so we hope it's a good advertising tool as well but, I think fundamentally we think it's a nice thing to do for the astro community similar to our other projects (Astronomy Tools, Clear Outside and sponsoring SGL).

Grant

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3 minutes ago, andrew s said:

I noticed you are planning some scientific imaging. If you need precise timing I have a gps time server on the local area network in Castillejar which you can use to discipline you PC's clock.

If you are interested PM me and I will send info on how to access it.

Regards Andrew 

Thanks Andrew - we will be in touch :)

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This is a wonderful proposal and FLO/IKI need a great thank you from the astro community (especially  for SGL members) for this brilliant decision.

I enjoyed the detail information that Grant gave me on Saturday about this scope. I am looking forward to seeing objects taken at a lower latitude than the UK.

 

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It won't surprise you to hear my colleagues Grant and Ian are the driving force behind this project 🙂 

In addition to the reasons already posted by Grant, we also want the knowledge and experience that comes from running a remote observatory. We owe it to ourselves, our suppliers and our customers to have a real-world understanding. 

Steve 

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On the science front again  you might want to consider at least a V band photometric filter if there is room. A number of people on SGL have done photometry.

Timing extrasolar planet transits requires long runs which are difficult to get in the UK.

Finally you could add a SA200 grating to allow people to try spectroscopy.

Regards Andrew

 

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All the best to FLO, IKI and all involved with this project. Looking forward to following it.

I have had experience using remote telescopes with @Helen primarily through Faulkes and SALSA. They are a great resource for everyone involved.

As for science imaging. Would you consider opening the observatory up to 'Targets of Opportunity' (i.e. GRB, SN, X-ray systems in outburst etc) to contribute to the data collection of those systems?

Edited by SimonS
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Andrew and Simon - lots of good ideas there - we will start some separate discussions on the science side, initially we will focus on imaging but definitely want to dedicate a % of time to other projects and hopefully @Helen can also weigh in on good projects to participate in 🙂

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Another good reason to be a member of this community, I don’t think I am alone in saying my experience in astronomy is nearly all thanks to SGL and FLO.

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4 hours ago, andrew s said:

On the science front again  you might want to consider at least a V band photometric filter if there is room. A number of people on SGL have done photometry.

Timing extrasolar planet transits requires long runs which are difficult to get in the UK.

Finally you could add a SA200 grating to allow people to try spectroscopy.

Regards Andrew

 

You don't really need a V filter for exoplanet work as most science is done in flux rather than magnitudes these days.  Photometric filters are more important for binary eclipse work because the varying depths of the eclipses (or variation) can be an indication of the temperatures of the different components.  For exoplanets you can just go with a luminosity filter as there is no emission from planet; the transit depth is the same regardless of the wavelength (except maybe far IR if it is a jovian sized object but then you'd need to be observing from Hawaii to get above most of the atmosphere.  Depths of exoplanets are quite small so you want to maximise flux to increase the S/N. 

Having GPS corrected signal is highly important though if it is for true science work so the time can be converted to heliocentric julian date (HJD).  With accurate times people look for transit time variations (TTVs); basically the start of the eclipse changes, which can indicate the presence of other planets in the system.   There are plenty of WASP objects to start with though (and these were found using camera lenses).  

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1 hour ago, Grant said:

Andrew and Simon - lots of good ideas there - we will start some separate discussions on the science side, initially we will focus on imaging but definitely want to dedicate a % of time to other projects and hopefully @Helen can also weigh in on good projects to participate in 🙂

Fantastic stuff Grant and FLO 🤗

It will be great to discuss what science might be done 👍 (I think Andrew's filter and SA suggestions are great  - and I'd like to add a photometric R for comets 😉).  But lots of opportunity for variable stars, GAIA supernova follow ups, comets, asteroids, spectroscopy - so much universe to explore 😁😁

Helen

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56 minutes ago, Helen said:

It will be great to discuss what science might be done 👍 (I think Andrew's filter and SA suggestions are great  - and I'd like to add a photometric R for comets 😉).  But lots of opportunity for variable stars, GAIA supernova follow ups, comets, asteroids, spectroscopy - so much universe to explore

Gonna need two of everything at that rate :D

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I am not an imager myself, but this is a great project. I hope all goes well for you and I look forward to seeing the results of your hard work.

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Great project, and much appreciated. The only trouble is it will show up my mediocre processing skills, and I won’t be able to blame the data....

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19 hours ago, banjaxed said:

Another good reason to be a member of this community, I don’t think I am alone in saying my experience in astronomy is nearly all thanks to SGL and FLO.

Second that!!! What a wonderful idea. Can't wait to see what gets imaged first :D

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Fantastic news :thumbright:

I presently subscribe to some online scope time renting service at the moment due to the inclement weather here in the UK. I would be very interested in seeing this project up and working ASAP, even if the acquired image data is made public. :) Its all fun stuff....and some scientific too, makes it even more interesting.

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We are really looking forward to your set up arriving in Castillejar and getting it ready for the SGL community to start enjoying the wonderful dark skies here at Pixelskies.  This is a great project and hope you all enjoy it.  It's a fantastic opportunity to see how new and innovative equipment works and performs and we are looking forward to working alongside FLO and IKI.

Dave 

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