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Astronomy with an online telescope

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Picture of Michael Morris

Michael Morris Post 1

3 Jan 2021, 01:09

Is there a problem?

Hi, i just started the course tonight and have got as far as going to the website to view the webcams, but i'm just getting a swirly loading bar theres no image. left it for a few hours, its still doing the same and i have tried using chromium and firefox, the service status page says there are issues with the weather station communicating with the telescope but no mention of the webcams being down. 

Is this just me or is any one else having problems?        

Picture of Sarah Toney

Sarah Toney Post 2 (unread) in reply to 1

3 Jan 2021, 12:16

Hi Michael, 

The webcams are doing that to me too, though this is the first time I've tried to use them. 

I am also having problems requesting images as it says my request list is full, despite the fact I deleted 4 requests several days ago so it should let me request again. 

Maybe they're experiencing problems of some kind?

Hope it starts working for you. 

Sarah (fellow student).

Picture of robert hammond

robert hammond Post 3 (unread) in reply to 1

3 Jan 2021, 12:29

Hi Michael, and welcome to the course.

The telescope problem/s started over the xmas holiday, and for the last few days the web cams have also stopped. I guess that its all to do with the original power issue/s .


Picture of Sarah Toney

Sarah Toney Post 4 (unread) in reply to 3

3 Jan 2021, 13:54

Hi Michael,

Yes I've emailed and they very kindly replied quickly & said they hope to start working on the issues tomorrow. 


Picture of Alan Cayless

Alan Cayless Post 5 (unread) in reply to 4

4 Jan 2021, 17:22
Hi everyone;

Firstly, welcome to the course, Michael - and thanks everyone for reporting these problems.  We're working to get everything up and running again.

The site webcam and the dome interior cameras are up and running again, but it looks as though the all-sky cam (which is on the weather station mast) is still not running. We'll get this fixed as soon as we can.

Picture of Ronan Winchester

Ronan Winchester Post 6 (unread) in reply to 5

4 Jan 2021, 23:45

A mention.

Hi Alan,

Really glad to be on the course myself and glad to see the little community we have here. 

Just want to add that for the last few days the webcam issues have been going on it has only been the all sky cam. I was on last week and the other 3 were online as usual.

Picture of Graham Womack

Graham Womack Post 7 (unread) in reply to 5

7 Jan 2021, 12:05 Edited by the author on 7 Jan 2021, 12:05

Actually the telescope itself has also been out of action due to a power cut. I won't be able to continue/complete the course until this is resolved.

Picture of Lia Weir-Webber

Lia Weir-Webber Post 8 (unread) in reply to 7

10 Jan 2021, 19:54

Hi all, Has this issue been updated to anyone at all, please?  I really need this working to proceed with my course.  

Picture of Alan Cayless

Alan Cayless Post 9 (unread) in reply to 7

11 Jan 2021, 10:27

Hi everyone;

Thank you for your patience.  Unfortunately the weather station which includes the all-sky camera is still offline.  

We are working to get this fixed.  As you may have seen from the main webcam feed, the site is currently covered in snow and ice which is making it difficult for repairs.  

We will keep you updated.


Picture of robert hammond

robert hammond Post 10 (unread) in reply to 9

11 Jan 2021, 15:57

It may be inconvenient atm, but what an excellent time to try some of the other excellent OU free courses.

Perhaps something right out of ones comfort zone.  Looking at the weather on top of Teide, the technicians will be out of theirs, whilst trying to fix this.

Picture of Michael Morris

Michael Morris Post 11 (unread) in reply to 10

13 Jan 2021, 23:17

Thanks Everyone, I checked again and it looks like the all sky cam is working again, but I don't know anything about the other issues. Roberts right I haven't been in work since march last year, OU free courses are keeping me sane they're really good.

Picture of Alan Cayless

Alan Cayless Post 12 (unread) in reply to 11

14 Jan 2021, 08:56

Hi Michael;

Yes, the connection to the weather station has been fixed.  All we need now is the snow and ice to clear !   (It does look like a brighter day today but there is still quite a lot of snow on the ground).


Picture of Robert Charlesworth

Robert Charlesworth Post 13 (unread) in reply to 12

14 Jan 2021, 17:16 Edited by the author on 14 Jan 2021, 17:25

Hi Alan,

Have all the necessary fixes been made now? I notice the all sky cam is now working, but I still have 4 requests in my queue from 24th December. I have completed the course now, but I wanted to make some more use of the telescope before my access runs out on Feb 1st to capture a couple of objects I can't see well with binoculars, including M67 (which the telescope has had trouble tracking in the past, even when I gave it the correct celestial coordinates). I also wanted to contribute a few more observations to the light curves of the eclipsing binary stars.

By the way, I think it's a pity we don't still have wider angle cameras on the telescope. I worked very briefly on the original Bradford Robotic Telescope project some years ago (attempting to build an ice sensor for the old dome) and some of the images of the moon and planets, which are still in the gallery, were quite spectacular. It would be really good for people just getting into astronomy to be able to capture solar system objects as well - including the occasional passing comet!

Picture of Alan Cayless

Alan Cayless Post 14 (unread) in reply to 13

15 Jan 2021, 09:12

Hi Robert;

As you may have seen from the webcam, although the weather has brightened up, the site is still covered in snow and ice, so will need to unfreeze a bit before the domes can open.   Your requests will still be in the queue, but it may take a few days to work through them once the queue resumes.

Interesting to hear your experiences on the Bradford.  The field of view of the telescope is fixed by the focal length and the sensor size, so it's not easily changed.  With any design there are choices to be made, and COAST has been set up for deep space rather than solar system imaging, with a field of view that's suitable for most of the Messier objects.



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