Yesterday I read a story headline: “MicroObservatory Catches Comet ISON.” This intrigued me to no end as I had not heard about the MicroObservatory.
Naturally, I am well aware of ISON having already imaged it several times.
The MicroObservatory is a project partnership between NASA and Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The purpose of the program is to provide the countries young people and educators the means to investigate the wonders of the deep sky from their classrooms or after-school centers.
The MicroObservatory uses several 3-foot-tall reflecting telescopes, with a 6-inch mirror that can be remotely controlled by the students and teachers (after some training).
Although today’s headline image was about ISON, I think the more interesting story is that the images were taken by retired teacher Bruce Mellin from the comfort of his own home. Although the cameras on the telescopes are small (650 x 500 pixels), the gallery at the MicroObservatory site has some pretty spectacular pictures. The student or teacher also gets to keep a copy of the image for themselves.
This is a great way to spark the imagination, as long as you aren’t grounded from using the Internet (do parents still ground kids? I think most of them would enjoy staying indoors).
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +