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Astronomy with an online telescope
Astronomy with an online telescope

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2.3 Requesting an image from COAST

Using what you have learned about how to use the RA of an object to determine its visibility, you are now in a position to pick a suitable object and plan your first observations with COAST.

In this video Alan will give you an example of how to request an image, which you will be doing for your own image in Activity 4. Jo will then follow the progress of that image request with COAST on Tenerife.

Download this video clip.Video player: boc_aot_1_video_week4_2_requestin-image.mp4
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Activity 4 Requesting an image from COAST

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes
  1. First decide which of the Messier objects you want to observe. Use what you have learned about how the RA determines the visibility of objects at different times of year to choose an object that will be well placed for observing with COAST during the month in which you are doing this activity.
  2. Log in to the website using the login information that you have created.
  3. Select Use telescope from the menu on the left hand side. In the Select Target box, enter the ‘M’ number of the object you wish to observe. For example, in the video, Alan enters ‘M42’ for the Orion nebula.
  4. Confirm that the details match what you expected. As shown in the video, will confirm the visibility of the object. Check that this matches what you worked out in Step 1 of this activity.
  5. Next, you will be asked to select your Filter Options and Exposure Time. You will learn more about these options when you do some more advanced imaging later in the course. For now choose the Colour filter and accept the recommended exposure time. Click Next.
  6. The next screen headed Confirm Request lists the details of the image that you have requested. As shown in the video, if you have requested a colour image the Filter will be shown as BVR, and on this screen the exposure time is given in milliseconds so don’t be alarmed if it appears to have some extra zeros! (In the video, the requested exposure time of 180 seconds (three minutes) is shown as 180 000 ms).
  7. Once you are happy with all of the information, press Submit to complete your request. You will see a confirmation screen stating Request Submitted.

Congratulations! Your request is now in the queue. When it reaches the top of the queue the image you have requested will be taken the next time that COAST has clear skies. Depending on the weather in Tenerife and how many other images are in the queue it may take a few days before your image is taken, so please be patient and check back from time to time to see if your request has completed.