This month of November the Amateur Astronomers Association is bringing to its members an exciting new opportunity: AAA’s “Gateway Remote Telescope” which is located in the dark skies of Western Texas near the town of Fort Davis (population 1,201). This gives our club members the ability to directly control, download and experience the night sky from a location free of light pollution!
We are offering club members four levels of engagement. The two highest levels are limited to just 10 and 25 members respectively, while the bottom two levels are unlimited. Level 1, Telescope Operator: You can drive the telescope and image whatever you want. Level 2, Target Selector: If you just want to order-up some specific astrophotography targets, then you can enjoy exclusive use of the data for a few weeks and tweak and post your processed images wherever you like with your own attribution. Level 3, Data Subscriber: If all you want is access to the data then we also have this very inexpensive tier. Level 4, Observer (this is free): If you just want to keep up with what are our imaging teams is doing with the telescope, we will let you know when we are posting our images and doing our monthly sky-show where you can tune in for real-time imaging of the night sky. Above is AAA’s first test image, the Pelican Nebula.
The telescope and instruments are state of art with a value of nearly $100,000. The club is paying a very modest annual rental fee, and the paid tiers will be used to cover these modest costs. We have also received some donations from club members to help us get to this point for which we are very grateful.
We all know how challenging it is to observe in New York City and also how cumbersome it can be to deal with driving out to dark sky sites on the weekend. So the Gateway Remote telescope can help fill our yearning for deep sky imaging from a truly dark sky location in another part of the country with many more clear nights! I would like to encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunity and we will be offering a number of additional club classes on image processing to support users who sign up for the data collection from the telescope. We are hoping to capture maybe up to 20 targets a month, ultimately all of which will be available to club members who sign up for the low price data subscriber level, so this should be a great opportunity for members to take a crack at astrophotography with a state of the art telescope. Check out this link to learn more: https://aaa.org/gateway/