GETTING STARTED

The Basics

Teachers can use this telescope to show their students live views of the Moon, Jupiter, or Saturn during school hours! The telescope is located on the island of Maui, and uses a video-camera to show the live views. It can easily be controlled by any personal computer. All you have to do is find an open time slot in the Calendar, click on it, and go through the few registration steps. We have many user-friendly aids on this website to help you have a great experience. [Future feature] You can use Schoology to contact other teachers who have already used the telescope. Additionally, you may also email the lead astronomer on the project if you have a science question. Enjoy the view!

 

This is a joint effort between Georgia Tech (Physics) and the US Air Force Research Lab (in Maui).

 

Browse the Calendar

The Calendar link gives you the complete list of dates and times that The Aloha Telescope is functioning and available for reserving.  The celestial object has been pre-determined, so if, for example, the Moon is the desired target, then make certain it is listed for that date-time.  For the Moon, the lunar phase is provided as a function of the 30-day cycle, where Day 00 is New Moon, Day 15 is Full Moon, and Day 22 is Third Quarter Moon.  The best range of phase-days to observe the Moon is from about Day 17 to Day 27.

 

When you see a date-time you want to reserve, click on it.  If you have not already registered (i.e., created an account), then you will be redirected to that step before the reservation is completed. 

 

Register an Account

Registering is an important step in the process.  You may register from any computer, and when the reserved time approaches, The Aloha Telescope controls are transferred to whichever computer you are currently logged on, probably the one in your classroom.  The registration process asks only a few questions, such as your name, school, location, and email address, which is extremely important for this is the only way we can communicate directly with you if an issue arises.  You only have to register once, but if you change schools or grades, you can edit your profile.

 

Reserve the Telescope

Having clicked on your desired date-time and registered an account, you will then be prompted for a couple more questions.  These include the grade(s) and the estimated number of children that will be participating.  Once you have submitted the answers, the reservation is complete.  You can go back to the Calendar link, and it should show your reservation.  If the Calendar does not show your reservation or you need to cancel it, please send an email to jim.sowell@physics.gatech.edu.

 

Using the Telescope

Prior to your reservation date-time you can examine the observing aids on our website so you will be better prepared.  For example, there are descriptions of the prominent visible surface features for each of the 30 lunar phase days.  [Future feature] The features are hyper-linked to an image of it.  Observing exercises for a variety of grade levels are provided, too.  You may wish to have your students prepare ahead of time by looking at a lunar map.

 

Shortly before your observing session begins, log into your account.  At the start of your session, the telescope will already be pointing at the chosen celestial object.  You will have (a) slow motion controls to move the telescope left, right, up, and down, (b) focus control of the video-camera, and (c) brightness controls of the video-camera. [Anticipated features]  There will be a button to take a snap shot of the view, and the image will be stored on your computer.  The entire session will be taped and can be downloaded.

 

When observing the Moon, you will see only a small region.  The telescope’s angular field of view is about 4 to 5 arcminutes, but the angular diameter of the Full Moon is 30 arcminutes.  Enjoy exploring and seeing what is just beyond the edge of the field of view!  The purpose of The Aloha Telescope is to give young students the joy of discovery.

 

Although the reservation appears to be for 30 minutes, it will end a couple of minutes early so that the telescope can be reset for the next observer.  (It may have to move to a different celestial object.)  There is nothing you have to do to end the session – we handle the transfer of the controls to the next teacher.